Vote For The AAJA-NY Board Today!

Emily Tan October 28, 2013 0
Vote For The AAJA-NY Board Today!

From the AAJA Convention to Triva Bowl and every other event in between, 2013 has been a busy year for AAJA-NY. But it’s that time again where we welcome members in the New York chapter to take the opportunity to serve in next year’s board.

Thanks to the 2013 AAJA-NY chapter board members for their time and service: Cat Sandoval (President), Bea Hundal (Vice President), Bao Ong (Vice President), Chris Chiang (Treasurer), Philip Yam (Secretary), Sital Patel (National Governing Board Member), Brooke Camp (National Governing Board Member), Michelle Udem (Membership Committee Chair), Joy Abella (Social Media Committee Chair) and Emily Tan (Webmaster).

Here is this year’s candidates.


National Board Representative:Bao Ong

It would be an honor to represent the New York chapter on the national board. During the past two years as the vice president of print, I’ve taken on a variety of responsibilities, from recruiting new members to helping organize our successful Trivia Bowl fundraiser. My commitment to AAJA, however, goes back nearly a decade ago when I was a student reporter on the Voices project. Every year I continue to understand and embrace AAJA’s mission even more. If elected, I will be sure to represent our chapter to the best of my ability. Thank you for your consideration.


President:Philip Yam

This year has been amazing for me as chapter secretary and mentorship coordinator. I helped with Trivia Bowl and our National Convention, worked on sponsorships, paired up mentors and protégés, and represented and promoted AAJA at events. Along the way, I learned much about the local and national boards and am gratified to have met so many of our impressive members and dedicated volunteers.

Broadly speaking, I want AAJA-NY to have a strong foundation with an engaged membership that can support AAJA’s mission. To achieve these goals, I plan to maintain our solid track record of reaching out to students and new journalists to drive membership. Beyond that, I want to direct efforts at events for those thinking of switching beats or transitioning to management. A couple of large events per year can enhance AAJA-NY’s profile and bolster our ability to offer new and larger scholarships and stipends for members to build new job skills through programs such as AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program (which I completed last year) and Poynter and ASME workshops. Events co-hosted with other organizations can also raise our profile with other groups and offer members a chance to expand their circles. I also want to know what you all want out of AAJA-NY!

I’ve been a member since the late 1990s with varying levels of activity but really dived in during the past couple of years. A lifelong New Yorker (except for four years of college), I earn a living as the online managing editor for Scientific American.


Vice President: Sona Patel

I’ve been an active AAJA member since 2006, and I’m ready to give back to an organization that has helped me in so many ways. I was president of the Seattle chapter from 2011 to 2012 before moving to New York to join The New York Times as a staff editor for social media in October 2012. As president of the Seattle chapter, I spearheaded efforts for the chapter’s annual Lunar New Year Banquet and Silent Auction and our Northwest Journalists of Color Scholarship program. The chapter raised more than $5,000 in scholarship money from those two events combined.

As vice president of AAJA-NY, I’m eager to strengthen the chapter’s presence and brand by bringing in new members and sponsors for our events. I’m also hoping to use my background as a social media editor to help our members strengthen their digital skills.


Treasurer: Carolyn Sun

I’m currently a reporter stationed at the United Nations for a publication called MediaGlobal and UNEarth News. Before, I was a freelance editor at the AAWW, an Associate Media Director at a New York-based transportation think tank, a freelancer for Newsweek, the Boston Globe and Westchester magazine and I am a graduate of the NYU Journalism Masters Program. I’m very much invested in the Asian American journalist community—in my experience we’re still such a small group in the larger picture, and I feel it’s the natural next step for me to join the leadership to aid newly struggling journalists and connect with the already established Asian-American journalists to provide the means and tools for the community whom I am sure went through (or are going through) similar struggles.

The person who should be treasurer is someone who has to be extremely organized, comfortable with fiscal responsibility and have a very realistic and clear idea of cost. While I do not have an accounting background, I have good Excel experience. I’d say I am realistic personality, but I definitely like to envision beyond what is possible. The skilled journalist has to envision beyond his or her immediate skillset.


Secretary: Sachi Fujimori

My first AAJA convention was in San Diego 2003. At that point in my life, I wouldn’t even call myself a journalist. I had a few freelance clips to my name and dreams of being a staff writer at a newspaper. That first convention made a big impact on me. I returned home motivated by getting to talk to and just be in the company of so many passionate Asian American journalists in various stages of their careers.

A decade later, I’m a features writer with The (Bergen) Record newspaper in New Jersey. I’ve been with their parent company North Jersey Media Group since 2006, when I first joined as a religion reporter. As one of only a handful of Asian Americans in my newsroom, I make a point to try and get more stories in the paper that include northern New Jersey’s ethnic diversity.

AAJA has been that constant rock throughout my journalism career, like an old friend that pops up in whichever city/metro area I’m living in. I’d like to give back to the organization by giving my time as secretary.


Secretary: Nichole Kwok

I’m currently a morning news producer for News 12 Network where I oversee one of the highest rated shows from the Bronx/Brooklyn station. On a daily basis I collaborate and coordinate with reporters, assignment desk editors, and directors. I also determine the visual direction and camera angles of the newscast. I have much experience working under pressure, meeting deadlines, and handling breaking news.

I am passionate about being apart of AAJA so I can give back to the community. I had an amazing experience serving on the sponsorship team in preparation for our very successful 2013 convention. This year the sponsorship team reached the goal to raise $50,000, which enabled the NY Chapter to receive 10% profit from the convention. I hope to continue to bring success through my time and energy as AAJA-NY’s Secretary.

In related experience, I served as the Executive Secretary for the student body while in college. I graduated from University of California, Davis. As secretary I maintained agendas, attendance, and weekly meeting minutes. One of the most important roles I held as secretary was being the liaison between students and administrative faculty on campus.

Feel free to reach out to me at, I would love to hear from you!


Membership Chair: Yin Mei

I believe that the integrity of quality relationships between individuals defines the value of a member-based community. Having a knack for developing powerful communities in major international cities spanning from San Francisco, Paris and Beijing, I would be honored to share my experiences to increase new memberships and improve the ways we engage with existing members of AAJA.

In a recent role, I served as the membership chair for the Alumni Clubs of Beijing of which I was also an original founder. I served as a liaison to over 200 alumni leaders from 80 different networks reaching to a combined listserv touching 20,000+ members. With our membership spanning across a range of backgrounds, I worked with my team to improve the quality of relationships in meaningful ways to cultivate a culture of mentorship and a sense of community. In particular we produced a successful series of speaker events and mentorship walks inviting newspaper bureau chiefs and famous celebrities to mingle with young professional members. We also liaised with leaders from different embassies, chambers of commerce and the human resources department of the local Beijing government to open access for opportunities and resources unique to our members.

I am currently a freelance writer and part of the communications team of the New American Leaders Project, a non-profit organization that recognizes and trains community leaders to prepare them for elected positions. I am also a professional event producer on the side, working on concept events with corporate clients. Prior to New York, I lived for three years in Beijing, China where I worked with APAC international media to write about China’s social media trends and cutting-edge technology stories. One of my more successful articles about China Social Networks was published on Mashable in 2012.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or check out my personal website.


Social Media Chair: Traci G. Lee

Statement: I’m currently the digital producer for MSNBC’s Martin Bashir and a reporter for As a digital producer at MSNBC, most of my day consists of sharing my show’s
content on our social media platforms–from Twitter and Facebook to Tumblr and Google+ — and finding new strategies to increase our show’s visibility online in order to reach a new audience every day. But social media is not a one-way street: it’s about engaging the public, interacting with a community, and continuing the conversation in an unlimited space. The best part of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is the ability to share information and seek others who share in the spirit of the AAJA community.

Prior to working with Martin Bashir, I managed video production for the web for MSNBC’s prime time lineup, and was part of the core team that shaped our social media outreach leading up to the relaunch of the new I’ve worked in print, public radio, and now digital news and television, as a writer, editor, and producer, and am constantly seeking new ways to share information and connect with others.

With my experience in the digital space–both professionally and personally–along with a passion for promoting diversity in the media, I feel I can positively contribute to the growth and continuing success of our AAJA chapter.

Find me on Twitter: @traciglee, and feel free to reach out!

Chapter President, Vice President, National Board Rep, Treasurer and Secretary all serve a two-year term while Social Media Chair, Membership Chair and Webmaster serve one year.

Click here to vote for your AAJA-NY 2014 Board members.

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