By Yonsoo Kang, VA Middle School Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of Yonsoo Kang
My name is Yonsoo Kang and I am the new Virginia Middle School Coordinator based in Annandale! I’m excited to be part of AALEAD again and to be spreading the wonderful programs this organization has to offer into the VA middle schools.
Annandale has a special place in my heart because my father’s side of the family lived in that area for decades. Even though I lived in New Jersey until I was ten, I visited Annandale every summer and made fond memories as the town evolved. I eventually moved down to VA around 2001. My connection with Annandale strengthened through the numerous hours and academic frustrations at George Mason Library. I can’t wait to contribute to that area and the youths living in it!
So a bit about me…
In 2014, I graduated from The College of William & Mary with a B.A. in history. I wrote a senior honors thesis on US air power during the Korean War and why technological superiority could not prevent the Chinese intervention. During my research, I also learned about how racism and stereotypes influenced US military commanders as they developed strategy during the war.
If anyone is interested in reading my work, please feel free to click on this link.
During my time in college, I was part of the Korean American Student Association (KASA), which allowed me to reconnect with my Korean-American identity. W&M’s Asian American Student Initiative (AASI) helped plant the seeds that would encourage me to explore, question, and analyze my cultural identity and values. These seeds began to take root and bloom when I moved to Boston this past year to do a one-year educational fellowship at an elementary charter school focused on English Language Learners. There I saw the effects of gentrification and racial and gender biases play out day after day. Through a lot of soul searching and meeting some incredible people, I realized eventually I want to become a history teacher and be a positive Asian-male role model for kids at school.
AALEAD seems to be the perfect place to channel my passions and personal experiences to help other Asian Americans break stereotypes, build their confidence, and support their dreams. One of my personal goals is to make US history more relatable to the Asian American experience by highlighting APA roles in various historical events and actions that are often overlooked by the Western narrative. I would also like to shed some light on APAs and different minority groups worked together in the past to achieve civil rights. That way they can form their individual identities while embracing their culture without any fear or shame.
This is such a wonderful learning opportunity for me. I really hope to develop my managing and planning ability as a program coordinator. I can’t wait to work with everyone in AALEAD and connect with the future AALEADers. It’s gonna be great! #igbg