Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Asian/ Pacific Islander Heritage Month Reception

Giveaway chopsticks!

The Common hour offered delicious food, music, Chinese traditional and modern dance, and the inspirational words of Dr. Jin. Y. Shin: yes, the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs hosted the Asian / Pacific Islander Heritage Month Reception!  Sonia Fernandes, Assistant Director, welcomed the students, staff, and faculty that gathered to enjoy the reception’s programs.  She then introduced one of Hofstra’s Chinese students and first-year graduate student in Finance, Jia Lan, who performed a Chinese classical dance.  In her traditional costume of various shades of pink, Lan graciously flowed and smiled at all times, entrancing the audience with her carefully choreographed movements. 

Jia Lan, Finance Graduate student performing
Dr. Jin. Y. Shin, the keynote speaker, followed.  Dr. Shin is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology at Hofstra University and she is originally from Pusan, Korea.  She moved to Peoria, Illinois, to study English at Bradley University in 1988 and completed her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999. Her dissertation was a cross-cultural study of the social support available to mothers in Korea and the U.S. as they coped with the demands of rearing children with intellectual disabilities. Dr. Shin was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Health Services Research and Policy Studies of Northwestern University and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she conducted pediatric outcome research for children with disabilities.  Dr. Shin continues to evaluate the effectiveness of home-visit early intervention programs for children with intellectual disabilities in Vietnam, to promote research and clinical work and advancing the field of disability and rehabilitation in Asia, and to focus on bullying issues of Korean-American children in greater New York Areas.
Dr. Jin Y. Shin, sharing with our students

As a professor and former international student, Dr. Shin had a lot to offer to the international and local students of Hofstra University.  After getting a feel for who her student audience was, Dr. Shin used two images –a insect and a frog –to explain to the students her initial desire to blend in and her failure to do so because of her cultural background.  Hidden in these words was her lesson to accept one’s identity without trying to “blend in” into the mainstream culture.  She also shared that she grew up in a Korean family where she was permitted to always have a voice and how, in spite of her personality, she could not express herself well when she arrived in Peoria, Illinois.  The latter is a common challenge that international students experience: in spite of being very vocal in their cultural contexts, difficulties with the English language can hinder the students’ ability to communicate and socialize.  Not to mention the homesickness and the lack of food (Dr. Shin greatly missed her spicy Korean food at Peoria)! Because of small number of Asian students, Dr. Shin felt both special and challenged, sometimes driven to the point of tears.  She was happy to improve her English and when she transitioned to Chicago, she experienced another common shock to college students: being in a larger institution can often set the stage for feeling anonymous and invisible.  So what mattered in the end?  Not only did Dr. Shin offer advice on learning, adapting to change, transitions in college, and one’s identity, but she also underlined the relevance of mentors and advisors, of programs and services (e.g., the Writing Center; the Counseling Center), having hobbies, and creating a safety zone for one’s cultural identity. 

Cong Ma, Jia Lan, and Yuxi Ouyang dance to the beat!

Three talented first-year graduate students from the programs in Journalism, Finance, and Human Resource Management –Cong Ma, Jia Lan, and Yuxi Ouyang, respectively –entertained the audience with a well coordinated, modern dance to a contagious and fast beat. Well done! J

Finally, many of the audience members took to learning to use their chopsticks (giveaway for the event) and enjoyed some California rolls, samosas, dumplings, and mini egg rolls.  Thank you everyone! J 


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