The Museum of Chinese in America in Chinatown, NYC was the site of the annual meeting of the New York Chapter of AAAYA on 10 December 2009.

We are proud to announce that three new board members, Jeffrey F. Chen, Madhu Mukerji-Miller, and Kathy May Tran, were elected at the meeting. Statements from the new board members are at the end of this announcement.

Kameka Demsey, the AYA special interest group liaison to the AAAYA, joined us, as well as Nancy Mossbach, Yale-China’s Director. Special thanks to MoCA and Director of Education Beatrice Chen (BA ’98 | TD) for hosting our meeting this year.

The meeting was followed by our annual Holiday Party: which was held this year at Red Egg Restaurant directly across the street from the museum.

A good time was had by all! New York City area Yale alumni can look forward to AAAYA’s 2nd Annual Lunar New Year Banquet and fundraiser on 20 March 2010 in Manhattan. Please SAVE THE DATE and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Biographies of new board members are below:

New Board Members:

Jeffrey F. Chen (BA ’96 | SM) – Though I had heard of AAAYA from my Yale days as a student activist with the Asian American Students Association (serving as President during my junior year), I have always thought of it as being strictly a West Coast-based network until I started, fairly recently, receiving emails from the New York chapter.  Having committed myself to working at the grass-roots level during what I like to refer to as my second career (all of which has been spent with the Chinese-American Planning Council), following stints in the banking and consulting industries, there is a compelling enough overlap of fundamental interests between AAAYA’s mission and my own life trajectory that becoming a board member would in a way feel like coming back to a home that I really never left.

Life after Yale started innocuously enough, as I made the decision to join legions of my classmates in the banking and consulting industries.  The seeds planted during those formative years at Yale as a student activist who fought for greater Asian American representation among the Yale faculty and greater number of courses teaching the Asian American experience progressively took hold in me however, when finally I decided to take the plunge into social services, joining CPC in the fall of 1999.

After 10 years, I am glad to say that my work still consists of contributing to a better life for many of the underprivileged within our community (consistent with AAAYA’s mission): from my start as a Program Coordinator with the Workforce Development department, which included responsibilities for developing and coordinating essential economic recovery services in the aftermath of the September 11th tragedy; from my role, as the Director of the Asian American Housing Management Company (an affiliate of CPC), in helping to turn around the financial health of two affordable housing buildings with a combined total of close to 300 apartment units; to my position today as the Director of Workforce Development, with direct responsibility over an operation with an annual budget of $1.4 million, which allows, among other services, the offering of 800 ESOL slots and the placement of 400 clients with barriers to employment into meaningful jobs.  I currently serve on advisory boards of the Queensborough Community College Continuing Education and Workforce Development, as well as JobsFirst, an advocacy concern for the disconnected youth population.

I feel it a privilege to be able to serve on, and commit my energy to, the board of the NY chapter of AAAYA.

Madhu Mukerji-Miller (MPPM ’95) – Asia is a very diverse, varied and unique community, it straps not only a vast continent, but also Asians who come from other parts of the world including the US.  I believe that I can genuinely represent the profile and mission of the AAAYA.  I am of Asian orgin, Indian to be exact and have a deep interest in Asia overall.  I am Australian by citizenship, have resided in several countries including Australia, New Zealand, UK and the US. Currently I call New York home.  I have over 20+ years of varied work experience where I have worked in a variety of roles across the financial services industry and management consulting. In true Yale tradition, I have a continuing and deep interest in the non profits world.  From my days in SOM where we worked as a team to serve the homeless shelter in New Haven, to my current position as Chair of Aanchal, a Charity in London that helps women and children survive and be empowered past domestic violence, I believe in serving the community where I see opportunities to be useful.

I look forward to bringing my passion, focus and genuine belief in harmony and community to the AAAYA.

Kathy May Tran (BA ’09 | TD) – For the past four years, many of the activities I pursued revolved around the Asian American Cultural Center. Now as a Class of 2009 graduate, I am thrilled that my new home – New York City – is also filled with Yalies who share my interest of continuing to celebrate and serve the Asian-American community. My motivation for serving on the board of the NYC Area Chapter of the AAAYA stems from my desire to serve underprivileged Asian-American communities, to connect Yalies with the Asian-American community at large, and to provide mentorship opportunities for Yale alumni to current Yale students.

My dedication to civic service was a key factor to my role as Director of Yale’s Freshman Day of Service, and I hope to contribute this passion to the AAAYA as we pursue volunteer events throughout the years. My leadership ability and organizational skills are also evident in A Learning & Interactive Vietnamese Experience (ALIVE), a community organization that I founded for adoptive and biological Vietnamese families to connect with Vietnamese Yalies and with each other. Like the AAAYA, ALIVE celebrates the diversity of our Asian-American heritage and is committed to strengthening constructive relationships between Yalies and the community at large. Additionally, as a recent graduate, I understand the value of Yale’s student internship and scholarship programs and hope to further those through my service to the AAAYA.

I hope to help organize and lead programs and events that are appreciated by Yale alumni, current Yale students, and the Asian-American communities of New York. As a young member, I hope to bring enthusiasm and motivation to our organization. I look forward to bringing novel ideas to the AAAYA as we grow – both in our membership and in the impact of our events.