On May 23, UT Southwestern held a hybrid event on South Campus celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with the theme “Eye of the Tiger: Rise to the Challenge,” honoring many in the Asian-Pacific Islander community who have risen above challenges throughout history. The second annual event was hosted by the Asian-Pacific Islander Business Resource Group (API-BRG) and the Office of Institutional Equity and Access.
The celebration, the first in-person signature event for the API-BRG, was also available to watch via Zoom. It featured opening remarks by EVP for Academic Affairs, Provost, and UT Southwestern Medical School Dean W. P. Andrew Lee, M.D., and Archana Cronjaeger, Executive Sponsor of the API-BRG and Assistant Vice President of Hospital Facilities, a live audience Q&A, and a cultural segment. A light reception followed.
Keynote speaker Thomas Rajan, Vice President, Global Talent, Benefits, and Retirement for American Airlines, spoke about the abilities within all of us to make a difference to help others along their life journeys and to never underestimate the struggles some may be secretly working through. He was introduced by Nancy Nelson, API-BRG member and Talent Sourcing Partner with the Office of Human Resources. The event was preceded by a video montage compiled by Palak Ahuja, API-BRG member and a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Kraus lab, of the 48 countries that make up Asia, many of which are represented by UT Southwestern faculty, staff, and students. After the keynote speech, Maria Cipriano, API-BRG member and Senior Administrative Assistant in Nephrology, performed a traditional hula Hawaiian dance.
API-BRG Chair Sunil Verma, Clinical Research Coordinator in Laboratory Services Administration, offered closing remarks, saying “We all have risen up to the challenge, together with the pandemic and its ensuing stressors and workplace disruptions. I am proud to say that despite the unique challenges that faced us all, we have definitely risen above and beyond to continue to provide a platform for our community at UT Southwestern through our initiatives and programs.”
The Asian-Pacific Islander Business Resource Group (BRG) – one of six BRGs at UT Southwestern – aims to promote an understanding of API issues and identity while advancing the needs and professional development of the API community at UTSW.