AAAYA picked up in 2010 right where it left off in 2009: expanding our reach to more alumni and students through diverse programming. Hundreds of alumni and students have participated in events hosted by local chapters in Northern California, Southern California, Chicago, and New York City. Here are some highlights from the last four months:

On January 21, the Northern California chapter helped bring Marvin Chun, Yale Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Yale’s first Asian American Residential College Master, to lecture for the Yale and Commonwealth Clubs of Silicon Valley. Professor Chun, one of Yale’s most popular lecturers, covered an eclectic range of topics on the human mind, from mind-reading to memory erasure.

Professor Chun and AAAYA NorCal members


On February 20, a large group of Northern California members took a trip back in time to revisit David Henry Hwang’s (’83 MFA) ground-breaking first play, F.O.B. Tickets sold out in 24 hours! The play was followed by a panel discussion including David Henry Hwang and three of the four original cast members.

David Henry Hwang and the next generation of AAAYA

In February and March, AAAYA members in New York City, Chicago, and Northern and Southern California held Lunar New Year events to ring in the Year of the Tiger. On February 13, Southern California members met for dim sum at the Empress Pavilion in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. On February 27, Northern California members met for dim sum brunch and went to San Francisco’ Lunar New Year Parade. On March 18, Chicago members hosted a “Blind Tiger” social at the historic Green Door Tavern in Chicago in collaboration with the Yale Club of Chicago’s Young Professionals Committee and the Dartmouth Asian Pacific American Alumni Association.

"Blind Tiger" social at the Green Door Tavern

And finally, on March 20, New York City rang in the Year of the Tiger with about 80 alumni and guests at Midtown’s S Dynasty restaurant, raising nearly $6000 to fund the AAAYA Summer Internship Program. The celebration included a rousing performance by Yale’s Lion Dance Troupe, a poetry reading by Ken Chen (LAW ’05), and music by pianist Frank Owens.

Yale Lion Dancers

Don Nakanishi (SY ’71) and My Luu (SM ’96) were honored for their leadership in the Asian-American communities at Yale and in the broader community.

AAAYA NYC members with honorees Don Nakanishi and My Luu (center, above the blue "y")

The money raised will go to support summer internships at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the Museum of Chinese in America.

This year saw tremendous growth in the popular Spring Break Externship program. Each year, AAAYA alumni host Yale undergraduates at their workplace to provide them with “real world” work experience. During the week of March 15-19, 2010, AAAYA members offered 46 externship opportunities in 7 cities, a tremendous increase over the 8 externships in 3 cities offered in 2009.

AAAYA hosted externships in the following cities: New York City, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., New Haven

…and in the following fields: Medicine, Law, Finance, Consulting, Marketing, Engineering, IT, Voice, Nonprofit, Social Activism, Film, Media

Northern California held a special reception for externs and their sponsors on March 16. Special thanks to those alumni sponsors who helped make both the reception and the externship opportunities possible: Michael Chai of LeapFrog; Andrew Chen of D-Pop Labs; Wei Tai Kwok of Suntech Power; Robert Lee of Silicon Valley Accelerator; Alex Liu of A.T. Kearney; Helen Mancebo of Multispan; and Thuy Thi Nguyen of Peralta Community College, the Office of the
General Counsel.

NorCal Spring Break externs and sponsors

A huge thank you goes out to all of the alumni who offered to host students and provide them with this valuable experience.

One new initiative for AAAYA in 2010 is outreach to prospective Asian American Yale undergrads. In early April, AAAYA members in New York City and Northern & Southern California participated in receptions for the newly admitted Yale College class of 2014.  New York City members also conducted a phone-a-thon to call and congratulate admitted students.

Los Angeles Admit Party at the home of Don Nakanishi

On April 14, the New York City chapter organized a Memorial Concert & Fundraiser in honor of Annie Le. Special thanks to Patricia Takemoto, Akiko Kobayashi, Julie Huang, Kameka Dempsey, along with AYA, YAMNY, Yale Life Sciences Alumni Association, and Saint Peter’s Church for making this concert possible, with support from several dozen other Yale groups. Distinguished Yale musicians (Robert Blocker, Dean of the Yale School of Music; Ransom Wilson, Professor of the Yale School of Music; Jessica Chang, ’08, Akiko Kobayashi, ’07, and Idil Alpsoy) generously donated their time and talent to this important cause. Special thanks to Akiko Kobayashi for organizing this moving tribute to Annie Le.

Violinist and event organizer Akiko Kobayashi

Performers at the Annie Le Memorial Concert

If you would like to donate to this cause, please send a check payable to “Yale University” (indicate “For Annie Le Memorial Fellowship Fund“) to: Wesley H. Poling, Ph.D., Director, Graduate School Capital Giving, Yale University, Office of Development, P.O. Box 2038, New Haven, CT, 06521-2038.