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National Association of Asian American Professionals forms chapter at USF

USF’s National Association of Asian American Professionals chapter was created with the goal to support Asian American and Pacific Islander students with career ambitions.

The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) USF chapter is set to bring its services, including career mentoring, to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students to promote their success in the workplace.

NAAAP USF intends to follow in the footsteps of NAAAP Tampa by promoting professional development in students. Resources provided by the group include aid with internship opportunities, constructive resume sessions with oversight by human resources professionals and free headshots.

Members from the university’s coalition will continue to work with its parent organization, from which it will receive budgetary support and resources. Students are able to register for the USF chapter free of charge on BullsConnect.

 Participants in NAAAP gain tactile guidance on how to succeed in occupational settings while also discussing prevalent issues of the AAPI community as a whole, such as exclusion and cultural normatives that discourage outspokenness. 

Aggie Park, senior information technology student and president of the NAAAP USF chapter, said that many of the issues AAPI individuals face in the workplace stem from cultural practices.

“Generationally, we don’t speak out or advocate for ourselves, whether it’s in the workplace or at school,” Park said. “NAAAP wanted to break those barriers and overcome those overlooking AAPI individuals, because of the nature that they grew up with characteristically.” 

With these resources, NAAAP seeks to support USF students in obtaining equal chances during application processes and overcoming obstacles from inexperience, insufficient resources and discrimination.

The concept for a USF chapter was originally conceived in April 2021 after Tampa Mayor Jane Castor held a meeting following the series of Atlanta spa shootings in March 2021. Eight people, six of which were women of Asian descent, died in the shooting.

With the meeting, Castor hoped to highlight the acts of violence and xenophobic rhetoric that increased in response to the spread of COVID-19. At the event, Park was introduced to former President of NAAAP Tampa Man Le.

Together, Le and Park brought NAAAP to USF in the fall semester, but the group has yet to host any events due to struggles with organizing, Park said. 

Communications with a student liaison officer from NAAAP Tampa took longer than expected, according to Park, and her advisor from NAAAP Tampa was switched halfway through the process of establishing the group at USF.

A survey was later sent out in the fall semester to student members to research student interest in different events and activities, but received little attention. Park was left with little insight on how to progress with the group in a way that would attract students. 

To combat this, Park said the USF chapter is currently seeking student input for events that should be held. She also hopes to kickstart events in the coming months, regardless of the number of attendees, in an effort to attract students.

Potential events include a social that would allow students that are currently members and those interested to learn more about the group. Student discussions would also foster conversation surrounding topics such as tips for public speaking and interviews.

Park also hopes to bring in AAPI experts to discuss their professional journeys in the context of their ethnic backgrounds. Jason Bang, the founder of Future Cardia, is one possible candidate, Park said.

“We want to continue making sure that all Asians alike have a network of people – that they have opportunities, and if they face any discrimination, [NAAAP] can give support,” Park said.