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Meet Young BPW Member - Sabrina Chu

1 May 2022 9:59 AM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

Sabrina Chu lives in San Gabriel, CA and is a member of East Los Angeles-Montebelllo. She is the current Development and Grants Manager at the Asian Youth Center, a community-based nonprofit organization that provides employment, educational, and social services to low-income, immigrant youth and families in the San Gabriel Valley. 

A member of East Los Angeles-Montebello, Sabrina lives in San Gabriel. She is the current Development and Grants Manager at the Asian Youth Center, a community-based nonprofit organization that provides employment, educational, and social services to low-income, immigrant youth and families in the San Gabriel Valley.

Sabrina ChuWith four years of nonprofit experience, she had her start at AYC in direct services as a bilingual tutor at their various K-8 After School programs on local campuses in Alhambra Unified School District and San Gabriel Unified School District. She became the Development Coordinator in 2019 and the Development Manager in 2020.

Q&A with Sabrina --

Where did you go to school?

I graduated in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. I was a research assistant during my time at Cal Poly Pomona under the Asian American Transnational Research Initiative and was part of the 2018 Cohort of the iSchool Inclusion Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh.

What are your career aspirations?

I am currently the Development and Grants Manager at the Asian Youth Center. As someone who started in direct services, I appreciate working directly with the people and getting to know their stories and their needs. When I was working as a bilingual tutor with immigrant students and their families, I related deeply to their struggles, such as language barriers and lack of access to basic needs.

In 2019, I had the opportunity to move into Development and I have appreciated working from a macro level perspective in the organization. I have learned many skills through event planning, fundraising, campaign implementation, and grant writing. I recognize that I will always have something new to learn so I do not necessarily have an end goal for my career, but I would like to continue to work in a space where I can empower and be in solidarity with historically marginalized and disenfranchised communities. My next professional or career goal currently is to go to grad school for Social Work.

What brought you to this career path?

I started working at the Asian Youth Center in 2017 as a tutor. Although I had worked other jobs as well, working at AYC appealed to me at the time because it was a community-based non-profit. I wanted to be involved with the community that I live in and build power through creating relationships and solidarity. I was also working as a research assistant at my college at the time under the Asian American Transnational Research Initiative (AATRI), where I spend many hours developing research projects to better understand communities of color, as well as transcribed many interviews documenting the legislative movement through the 80's revolving the passing of the federal designation Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI).

This had been a piece of legislation that allowed colleges that had a certain percentage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to be designated as an AANAPISI (similar to other Minority Serving Institutions, like Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities), which would then be eligible for capacity-building funds that allowed the college to create programs that would better serve its student population.

It was through this project that I learned more about the Model Minority Myth and about how important it is to disaggregate data on AAPI's in order to dispel that myth, instead of considering AAPI's as a monolithic population. Many Asian immigrant stories do not align with the idea that one "can pull up their bootstraps" because they are facing systematic struggles such as racism, xenophobia, lack of language access, and fleeing from imperialist wars as refugees.

It also deepened my understanding about the Asian American experience and how many stories have been untold and simultaneously helped contextualize my work at AYC. With a broader understanding of this, I've been able to integrate that into grant writing and working with immigrant communities.

Can you tell us about an important lesson you've learned in your career so far?

I think the most important lesson I've learned in my career is maintaining a work/life balance. I am consistently working on asking for help, learning to trust others and letting things go, as well as being patient and kind to myself.

Is there a particular person who helped get you to where you are today?

I would like to give a fair attribution of where I am today to Dr. Mary Danico at Cal Poly Pomona, who was my research professor, for giving me all the opportunities to learn and travel to broaden my horizons, to Dr. Kayla Booth and Dr. Elizabeth Eikey for all their work and dedication to the iSchool Inclusion Institute, and to Michelle Freridge, my Executive Director at AYC.

I try to practice as much gratitude as I can and honor those who have put all their labor and care into empowering folks like myself. I once gifted Michelle a really spicy ramen package for Christmas and she ate the whole packet without knowing how spicy it was! But she told me with such grace and humor. I appreciate and respect her openness to my ideas and decisions, on a professional and personal level.

How did you find BPW? 

I was fortunate to have been nominated by my Executive Director and direct supervisor at the Asian Youth Center, Michelle Freridge, who is a member at East Los Angeles-Montebello BPW. The most memorable experience I've had, is that I delivered an emotional speech at the last Sierra Mar conference and all the members were so supportive of me.

How can the BPW club and its members help you on your career path? 

I am open to collectively learning and struggle with others, so I would appreciate a space to be able to hear about other people's stories and connect with them on a human level. In my professional life, I would like to improve on my public speaking skills and also learn more about Public Policy or law. Currently, I am working on getting into grad school, so I would love any advice on good MSW or MPP programs out there.


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