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Click on each picture to learn more about them!
Chris is working toward his PhD in social welfare where his research focuses on how tax credits and other public policies affect families and individuals. Chris previously worked at The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI), where he led TCI’s tax policy research.
Chris attended college and graduate school in the great state of Indiana. He was born in South Korea and identifies as a transracial and transnational Korean adoptee.
Deokhee Ryu is an immigration attorney in private practice, primarily focusing on employment-based immigration. She has volunteered for Hamkae Center’s naturalization program since 2018. She was born and raised in South Korea and lives in Northern Virginia.
Prior to attending law school, she interned at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Korea and found her passion for immigrants’ rights. During law school, she assisted in providing representation to low-income populations in humanitarian-based immigration matters and participated in community outreach programs at the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. Deokhee speaks Korean, Hindi and French.
She enjoys cooking, swimming, and spending time with family and friends.
Ha Nguyen (Nguyễn Phạm Thái Hà) currently works at the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), where she takes a deeper dive into public policies and resources aimed at improving the lives of those living in low and moderate-income places on a national level. Prior to NACEDA, Ha worked at NAKASEC VA (now Hamkae Center) as the Field and Membership Coordinator to get out the Asian American vote for the 2020 General and 2021 Primary Election with the Civic Engagement Team. This year, Ha is elated to return to Hamkae Center in a new capacity as Nominations Chair.
Ha is fluent in Vietnamese and attempts to learn Spanish and Korean in her free time.
Jan is excited to join Hamkae Center’s Board as the inaugural Board Chair. Prior to serving the board, Jan was a member of the Community Advisory Council at Hamkae Center, then known as NAKASEC VA.
A proud first-generation college student, Jan currently works at DC Public Schools, supporting the college retention and persistence of students like her. Jan previously worked with first-generation and undocumented students at George Mason University, where she was a part of the Mason Dreamers Advisory Board and the First Gen Working Group. Prior to working with college students, Jan was a high school U.S. History teacher in California.
Originally from the Philippines, she is fluent in Visayan, Tagalog and English. When not advocating for education equity and immigration reform, Jan enjoys spending her time at either a national park, an amusement park, or an anime convention.
Jessica joins Hamkae Center as a board member and serves as the board’s secretary. She has been a volunteer with Hamkae Center since early 2016 and has engaged in various community building efforts and campaigns.
Jessica was raised in California, but has adopted Virginia as home. She has previous experience working in the nonprofit and advocacy space working on anti-hunger and criminal justice issues, and is currently working in the tech sector.
In her free time, Jessica likes to make homemade tofu and plans to open a small tofu shop one day.
Katie Zhang (张艾妮）is a second generation Chinese American born and raised in Henrico, Virginia. Katie joins the Board after interning for Hamkae Center in the New Leaders Collective program (2020) and for the Policy & Communications Team for the 2021 General Assembly. During Katie’s internships, she organized to expand Medicaid access and lobbied for translation support for immigrants in Virginia.
In her free time, Katie crochets cat hats and tries to make compost on her balcony.
Kylie is a proud first-generation college student who has worked towards education equity throughout her career. Focused on college access and persistence for historically underrepresented students, she came from a background in diversity, equity, and inclusion within higher education administration before transitioning into the nonprofit sector. She currently serves as Director of Development for APIA Scholars, a national non-profit providing resources to Asian and Pacific Islander American college students. Having partnered with Hamkae Center previously through youth leadership programs, she is eager to serve Hamkae Center in her role as a board member.
Kylie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from James Madison University and a Masters of Arts in Student Affairs Administration from Appalachian State University. In her free time, she enjoys DC nature walks, perfecting Filipino food recipes, or exploring the local pizza scene with Pizza Club DC.
Sara is a young and aspiring activist who, at 20 years old, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to joining the Hamkae Center as a board member, she worked at various nonprofit organizations and political campaigns, such as The Hub Project, For Our Future, Supermajority, and Need To Impeach to name a few. She recently canvassed for Asian Americans for Change Action Fund during the 2022 midterm elections.
Sara currently works in Washington, D.C. for an advertising agency. Outside of the office, Sara can be found at the gym, socializing with her peers, playing video games, or reading a good (comic) book.