Influenced by Identity: Hotchkiss AAPI and International Alumni Discuss Their Experiences

On June 15, in a year that was marked by triumphs and tribulations for Asian voices in America, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Governors hosted a panel of AAPI and international Asian alumni to discuss how their paths have been influenced by their identity. The concept for the event was spearheaded by Board of Governors member, Daniel Pai ’19, who also moderated the event.

“When I heard that Youn Yuh-jung had won the Oscar I was thrilled,” said Daniel. “Growing up, I had watched her in every Korean drama I could imagine and she had finally been recognized for her decades of superb acting. Her film Minari struck a chord with me, particularly the scene of the family in church. Korean churches in America act as places of social bonding for many immigrant Koreans; I grew up in a very similar setting, and it's also where I learned to love and serve others. I wanted to share this unique experience of Asian Americans with the alumni body.  As a member of the Board of Governors, I try my best to serve young alumni and make a positive contribution to the alumni body. So, earlier this spring, as Asian Americans were grappling with Asian hate crimes, I felt that I had to contribute.”

The alumni panelists, Yujin Lee ’05, Kylene Ramos ’08, and Zubin Sharma ’09, spoke of their experience at Hotchkiss, mentors who helped them along the way, the power of being able to be your authentic self, and how their identities have shaped their paths and values. For Daniel, who identified strongly with the experiences of these alumni, it was a reminder of the value of celebrating diversity.

“As Yassine Talhaoui, director of diversity and inclusion at Hotchkiss has said, ‘effect positive change for negative situations.’” said Daniel. “I am grateful to the quick work of the co-chairs of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Governors, Nathalie Pierrepont Danilovich ’03 and Danielle S. Ferguson ’97, for their encouragement and quick planning in support of this event.”

To view the event, click the arrow below.

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