ASU APACE Academy: A week of confidence building, a day in court

Phoenix attorneys Amanda Chua, Thomas Chiang, Alanna Duong, and Briana Chua – all members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association – spent a two-day portion of giving students insight into some of the attorneys’ career paths and discussed helped prepare APACE Academy participants for trial, explaining the objectives and rules of examination-in-chief and cross-examination, opening and closing arguments, and what constitutes evidence. They counseled the students as they developed their strategies and taught them etiquette in the courtroom.

Earlier in the week, faculty from the School of Social Transformation facilitated sessions on the history of Asian and Pacific Island Americans, community advocacy, challenging media stereotypes, and how to conduct oral history interviews.

University College held sessions to increase students’ confidence and readiness for college, with an emphasis on topics such as uncovering their own hero’s journey, developing courage and resilience, the differences between high school and college and the resources to pay for college.

The teens also enjoyed the challenges of team building, the time for cultural sharing – bringing items or performing a song that reflects their own culture – and the discussions and journaling led by the ASU students who served. mentors: Misaki Fuentes-Maruyama, major in marketing, and Anthony Sablan, graduate in nutrition.

At the end of the activities on Friday, the peer mentors sent the students on their way with certificates, hugs and heartfelt words on the unique contributions each made to the dynamics of the group and tips for clearing their doubts.

There is a good chance that some of this year’s cohort will pursue careers influenced by their experience at the APACE Academy, judging by the stories of past participants.

In 1994, Tom Chiang was actually a student of ASU’s first Asian LEAD cohort (the old name of the APACE Academy).

“I was 15 and my parents told me, ‘You are going to go to ASU with a group of kids and do this program,’” Chiang recalled in his remarks to APACE students on Wednesday.

“I met some really cool people; I made the mock trial. I have grown as a person and have acquired leadership skills… and have been practicing criminal defense law since 2007. I love what I do, ”he said. “And I am the only lawyer in my family.”

Chiang’s story reflects the overall goals of the program well, said Kathy Nakagawa, director of the APACE Academy, associate professor of Asian-Pacific American studies at ASU.

“Our hope is to provide a space where high school students of Asian, American and Pacific Island heritage can expand their voices and confidence while learning skills that will support them in their college dreams and beyond.” , observed Nakagawa. “We greatly appreciate the incredible volunteer efforts of teachers, staff, parents and other members of the community who come together to make this experience possible. ”

At ASU, the APACE Academy is sponsored by American Asia-Pacific Studies at the School of Social Transformation, a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; through University college; and with the support of community partners, in particular Island connection and the Arizona Asian American Bar Association.

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