Meet the Board
Jiawen Tang • President
Jiawen is a junior at Columbia College majoring in Economics-Political Science. Born and raised in China before moving to Rhode Island, Jiawen became passionate about Asian American issues in high school and joined AAA to find her voice in the broader APIA movement. She has risen from the humble ranks of OCM and Co-Political Chair and is very excited to lead AAA to greater heights this year!
Outside of AAA, Jiawen is fascinated with international relations and is a self-professed Model UN nerd. She is on the board of Columbia International Relations Council and Association (CIRCA), serving as Director General of Columbia’s high school model UN conference, CMUNCE. Jiawen also works as a Peer Adviser for Columbia’s Center for Student Advising where she gives her (sometimes unsolicited) advice in the hopes that it will better her fellow students’ experiences at Columbia. As any of her friends can tell you, the way to get on Jiawen’s good side is food. She particularly enjoys snacking in St. Mark’s Place and Hells Kitchen, and is always up for exploring the city for delicious treats.
David is the boldest and most forward-thinking of Vice Chairs that AAA might have seen in the past many (couple) days. He is also a full-time resident of the Intercultural Resource Center (IRC), and a sometimes senior in Columbia College. He is full of incoherent and wishy-washy thoughts, and majoring in the major with possibly the most words and covering the greatest geographical area possible: Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. As a senior, David likes to entertain himself with the idea that he knows a lot of big words and big thoughts, but in fact only knows a couple big words and has very little thought at all. However, he uses those big words very rarely, and the little thoughts far too much.
David likes to push boundaries but often ends up just falling over them. He is interested in becoming a second-rate diplomat in some forgotten embassy somewhere in a land that he may or may not know. Meanwhile, he is busy swindling Columbia’s coffers, off and on working as an ‘intern’ for the Bronx Defenders, doing ‘research’ in India and Mexico, being a ‘peer educator’ at Men’s Peer Education (MPE), and half-assing his study of languages. Although he says this to sound as cool and nonchalant as Bill, the most nonchalant Service Chair of AAA, David is actually none of the things he says he is and is seldom nonchalant or cool, but goofy and distracted.
Michelle Loo • Vice President for Barnard
In west Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground was where she spent most of her days. Sure Michelle hails from Northeast Philly, nobody keeps it real like the Barnard Vice President. Bouncing between The City of Brotherly Love and The Big Apple, she has a passion for cities and is majoring in Urban Studies. What that means, no one really knows. All she knows is that she loves the intricacies and histories of large metropolitan areas and has a passion for helping out the inner city.
Raised in a Malaysian American household, her free time and happy times entail trying good food with good company. If you’re looking for a savory bowl of curry noodles or a milkshake to melt over, hit her up! “You are who you want to be” and some days she’ll feel classy like Emma Watson and other times edgy like Iggy. Michelle spends most of her money funding her travels far and wide for delicious food and beautiful clothes. She’s going to retire on the road, hitting up all of the restaurants Guy Fieri slobbers over in Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
Albert Pan • Treasurer
Albert is a sophomore in Columbia College and he thinks he is majoring in math and economics. He is from New Jersey, but he loves introducing himself to people from all over the world. Albert will be serving as AAA’s treasurer in the 2013-14 academic year.
Some of Albert’s favorite things include ice cream, ice skating, Disney movies, the news, sunshine, friends, watermelon, working out, YouTube videos, math, Taylor Swift, laughing a lot, Broadway shows, very small dogs, colorful flowers, basketball, EDM, pretty beaches, New York City, comedy, Instagram, protein shakes, tech stuff, and new startups. He loves meeting new people.
Sophie Qian • Secretary
Sophie Qian is AAA’s crazily detail-oriented, logistics-obsessed Secretary. She was originally born in Glasgow, Scotland, grew up in Toronto, Canada (proud Canadian!!), but attended high school in Short Hills, New Jersey. Currently, she is majoring in Operations Research and minoring in Economics. She joined AAA simply because she saw how hardworking, welcoming, and inspiring all the people were and wanted to be in their ranks. Each member of AAA teaches her more about Asian American issues and encourages her to keep raising awareness about them.
In addition to being AAA’s intrepid secretary, Sophie is a tour guide for the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee and a Student Peer Advisor. When not furiously studying or writing down agenda minutes, Sophie can be found reading Young Adult fiction novels, scrawling madly in her agenda, and rocking out to 90s hits.
Kristen Lu • Political Chair
Kristen Lu is AAA’s Political Chair and she occasionally forgets that she is and will micromanage some other aspect of the club that doesn’t really fall under her purview. Obviously, she welcomes the maternal role her fourth year in AAA has afforded her, and relishes opportunities to be the most embarrassing mother figure Columbia has ever seen. She is Chinese American and hails from Brooklyn, New York, which she is proud of to an alarming degree. As a Columbia College senior majoring in Biochemistry and Ethnicity & Race Studies, she is excited for her future in….okay, she’s excited for her future and has no idea what that future will be.
When she is not sleeping, Kristen is usually kwerking (her personal brand of krumping and twerking), meticulously organizing her Gmail inbox and Google Calendar, and looking up panda-themed accessories on Amazon. Also, she tweets like a maniac, so if you really want to read tweets usually describing situations highly out of context, visit @kristothelu and be forever puzzled.
Bill is AAA’s nonchalant service chair. As a Vietnamese American from San Jose, CA, home to a 20% Vietnamese population, he was pleasantly surprised by the diversity afforded him at Columbia. He might be a CC sophomore, but don’t let that fool you. His prospects for the future seem about as grim and murky as Miley Cyrus’s (post–”We Can’t Stop,” of course). Possibly he’ll be double-majoring in math and human rights; no one can say for sure. Yet although he has no clue what he’d like to do with his life, Bill has a very clear picture of who he wants to become. It’s a picture that he’s proud to say AAA nurtures and embraces.
When he’s not studying—basically, when he’s breathing, since he still doesn’t realize that studying is a thing—Bill likes to obsess over singing shows, pretend he can write creatively, and wither away in bed after Google has told him he’s dying. He also enjoys posting offensively useless Facebook statuses mourning his first-world burdens. If you really wanna get on Bill’s good side, buy him fried anything from Ollie’s. Says the homeboy, “I know I shouldn’t be eating there, but sometimes I just want bad food and bad service.” Actually, that quote just about sums up Bill.
Bou Lee • Social Chair
Bou is AAA’s lovable and cuddly social chair. When she isn’t planning awesome shindigs and such she’s usually busy with other AAA work and work as Vice President of KSA and an Intern at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. That is why it might not come as a surprise that she is majoring in East Asian Studies.
She likes keeping herself busy and loves to take on any project. In terms of AAA, her past work has included co-directing Crossroads, a conference dedicated to teaching high school students about APIA issues. She also loves to travel, especially to Asia. Her goal in life is to travel to every single Asian country before she graduates….although that’s probably not going to happen. SHE LOVES CHOCOLATE!
Ivy Pan • Publicity Chair
Ivy Pan is a sophomore at SEAS studying Operations Research. She joined AAA in order to further her involvement in the APIA community and encourage youth activism. She was born and raised in NYC and can’t herself to ever leave NYC because she thinks its the greatest city in the world. She currently serves as Organization of Chinese America’s (OCA-NY) Hate Crimes intern.
She loves to dance and walk the Brooklyn Bridge. For years, her favorite show was Hannah Montana. She’s still an avid Disney Channel fan, although she found place in her heart for Nickelodeon as well. When she’s not lazing around in Queens, you can often find her hanging out in downtown Manhattan at St.Marks, Chinatown, or Soho. Ivy likes to laugh too much and smile too hard, and if you want to make her happy, please buy her lots of Spicy Cheetos!
Lily Liu-Krason • Communication Chair | Historian
Lily Liu-krason, CCC’16, is AAA’s communications chair. Originally from Minnesota, she now resides in Boston, sort of…but not really since she’s always at Columbia! A math and creative writing major, Lily is also enthusiastic about Asian American issues and social justice discussions.
Melanie Gao • Alumni Chair
Melanie is a senior at Columbia College (Class of 2014 woohoo!) double-majoring in East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALAC) and Biology. She’s been involved in AAA since she was a freshmen (so some people on the board had to deal with her quirks for four years–sorry not sorry Kristen and Susan). She is now Alumni Advisor, having previously served as Vice President for CC/SEAS/GS. She joined AAA because AAA is not simply a student group that aims to promote cultural awareness, but instead, a student group that emphasizes social responsibility and social consciousness on campus, and aims to help the underprivileged and underserved in the greater NYC area. She’d like to think that joining the fAAAm has made her a better, more thoughtful person.
In her free time, she enjoying teaching, exploring museums, and Krav Maga. She works as an academic tutor for Columbia’s Double Discovery Center (DDC) and Columbia’s Tutoring and Translating Agency. She works with hospitalized children through NYPresbyterian’s Child Life program and is a Mandarin-English interpreter at St. Luke’s Hospital. She also directed the ECAASU 2013 Conference at Columbia University, drawing around 1300-1600 people.
James Wen • Webmaster
James is a junior from New Jerz. He comes from a public school that was 75% Asian and never suffered from Asian American identity crisis until he came to Columbia. However, he’s ultimately glad that he found a fAAAmily to help support in the figurehead movement to craft a solid Asian American identity. James is currently the webmaster for AAA and has ambitious plans to revamp the website and add some revolutionary features. Outside of AAA, he played an integral part in the planning of ECAASU 2013 (at Columbia University) and NYCASSC 2013 (at NYU).
In his free time, James passionately loves skiing and considers it his preferred method of death in the future. Women may come and go, but a set of twin tips skis on the top of a powdered double set above the clouds is eternal. James is currently seeking to major in Computer Science with a minor in Business Management but only because of the absence of a “Physics of Alpine Descent” major. He is trying to strike into the Tech Startup scene by interning at MeeGenius and writing code for EDMTunes.com. James likes to box, code, and rave.
Sahng-Ah Yoo • Event Adviser
Sahng-Ah is a junior in the Honors Program of Psychology and the Pre-law Program. Her interests in Asian Americans is much attributed to her four years with many Asian and Asian American students at Phillips Exeter Academy. Her interests have developed into her current research that explores a relatively untouched field in cultural psychology that studies how Asian Americans think compared to those strictly within the “western” or “eastern” school of thought and behavior. She is also co-authoring a paper with an immigration lawyer on undocumented immigrants in higher education that urges colleges and universities to take on a bigger role in accepting these immigrants using social justice and legal analyses.
She joined AAA because of its focus on political and social concerns of the Asian American population, which not only strengthens her understanding of who she is but also expands her view of the Asian American population, as a whole and how it fits into our history. As Event Adviser of AAA, Sahng-Ah looks forward to meeting the new OCMs to help them explore, plan, and execute events and projects about topics they’re interested in through AAA!
Susan Li • Event Adviser
Susan is a senior majoring in Economics. She believes she has no diminishing marginal utility. She’s been involved in AAA since freshman year as an OCM and eventually became cultureSHOCK Director in 2012. However, her most notable roles in AAA involved “Bad Romance” and talking to Phil from Wong Fu Productions while coated in hard rock style makeup and holding a meat cleaver.
Tenaya Izu, CC ’14
Tenaya Izu is a senior at Columbia College. She was born and raised in Oakland, California to a second generation Chinese American mom and third generation Japanese American dad, both from the Bay Area. She attended a small, very white Catholic school during her childhood. It was there that nascent seeds of angst and rage were sowed. These seeds blossomed into an interest in race and ethnic studies in college, which is one of her majors. She is also majoring in visual arts. She is lucky to have encountered so many fantastic role models, including her boss, past teachers, her family, and her peers, among many many others.
Tenaya spends her days thinking of ways to destroy the white patriarchy as well as how to be a good person in this very complex world, and wishes she had more free time to read and make art. She hopes to some day be a good artist, perhaps to be the very best, the best there ever was. Just kidding. Recently she took up Muay Thai and has been thinking about the impact that Pokémon has had on her generation. She also wonders how she is going to make money after college.
Samantha Zeller, CC ’14
Samantha is a senior in Columbia College majoring in Economics-Mathematics. She was previously an OCM in the 2011-2012 term and served as Service Chair in the 2012-2013 term. In addition to serving as a senior advisor in AAA, she is also involved in the Columbia Economics Review as a senior editor. Her interests include reading, watching Doctor Who, and eating sweets!
Victor Chen, CC ’15
Victor is a junior in the School of Engineering and Applied Science majoring in Operations Research and Computer Science. He was previously an OCM in the 2011-2012 term and served as co-Secretary in the 2012-2013 term. Outside of AAA, Victor is involved with Centsable, a nonprofit financial literacy organization, and is a co-founder of Columbia Undergraduate Research Connect, an organization dedicated to improving the visibility of undergraduate research on campus. Victor hails from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and loves Sichuan hotpots.
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