By Diana Tran, DC MS Program Coordinator
Photos & Media courtesy of Diana
Hello everyone! Xin chào các bạn! こんにちは、 皆さん。よろしくお願いします！My name is Diana Tran and I am so excited to be joining the AALEAD team as the DC Middle School Program Coordinator. I was born in Montgomery County, Maryland but haved lived more than half of my life in Arizona and a couple of years in Japan. I am a first-generation Vietnamese-American and university graduate. I attended Arizona State University and got my Bachelors of Science in Non-Profit Leadership & Management. Go Sun Devils! It is a dream come true to be back in the DMV area and to be living out the passions of my younger self. I currently live in Georgetown with one of my best friends. Washington D.C. is one of my favorite cities in the world and I love that I will get to do such amazing work with an organization alongside incredibly hard-working, intelligent, sincere, and dedicated individuals.
Growing up in MoCo, I recall being surrounded by a lot of diverse groups of people and having a healthy concept of my identity because I was able to connect with other students who looked like me and shared similar narratives of being Asian-American. After moving to Arizona where I lived in communities with a high density of white people, I started to lose a sense of belonging and started to feel very isolated. Where are you from? No, no. Where are you really from? Your language sounds funny. What are you eating? Why does it look like that? Why does it smell like that? I spent most of my childhood navigating my identity while trying to balance the traditions/values of my immigrant family and fitting in with the other kids at school.
It was through my education that I felt uplifted and affirmed that I could do anything I wanted and be anybody that I wanted to be. The messages of encouragement that I received from my teachers, coaches, and counselors made me feel unstoppable. Their support gave me the confidence to try new things, take on new challenges, and soar to new heights. I consider myself an advocate for youth and believe in the endless potential of every individual. As a young adult, I learned to embrace my heritage and show more compassion to myself for how I showed up as an Asian-American at home, at school, in my circles, and in the community at large. During my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to serve on several leadership councils and join an Asian-American interest sorority, where I eventually became President and led the organization to being recognized as Chapter of the Year in 2018, administered a membership development program, and created a mentoring program between sisters and local high school students to foster more pathways for AAPI youth to university.
After my time at Arizona State, I moved to Japan where I taught English to junior high (middle school) students and led a youth leadership development program to teach students about topics ranging from diversity, cross-cultural communication and racism to public speaking, mental health, and wellness. Working with youth, service learning, and leadership development are causes that are near and dear to my heart. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the organization and I look forward to showing up as the best version of myself for all of you to uplift the AAPI community, our students, and each other.
With love and gratitude always,
Diana Tran (Trần Tâm Đan // トラン ダイアナ)