Broaden My Support Community through ACPA 2022 convention

Broaden My Support Community through ACPA 2022 convention



Convention, conference, international, presented, session, support, presentation, colleagues, Korean, presenter, share, grateful, experience, mentors, thrive, international students, learned


Hanna Lee, Lixing Li

Lixing Li  00:01

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the podcast of Global Connections CGDSD. I am your host Lixing. We’re very excited to have Hanna Lee joining us today to chat about her experience with the 2022 ACPA Convention experience in March. Welcome, Hanna. Before we dive right into our topic, do you want to introduce yourself a little bit about your involvement with our commission?


Hanna  00:25

Hi, everyone. I’m Hanna Lee, thank you for clicking the title. I was born and raised in South Korea and I came to the US in 2014. As an exchange student in my senior year in college, I went to UB for my master’s. And now I work as an international services coordinator. And it has been three years since I started advising international students immigration-wise. Thank you for having me Lixing.


Lixing Li  00:53

And I and I are both serving in the DB team in the ACPA Commission of Global Dimension and Student Development. So Hanna, we are curious, could you share more about why you were joining ACPA?


Hanna  01:04

So it goes back to the pandemic era when everything was online. Back in 2021, I had my colleague and mentor Kyoungah, I call her Kyoungah Un-nie (older sister in Korean). But she’s Anyway, she’s one of my co-presenters at 2022 ACPA. And before that one year, before, we wanted to present how we utilize social media and software programs to communicate with international students during the pandemic, and that proposal was accepted by the ACPA. So we were attending the conference, and I was at the session, where it turns out to be CGDSD, sponsored or endorsed the programs. So I attended there, and Katie Koo professor. Professor Koo, reached out to me to start my name, my last name, Lee. So she assumed that I’m Korean, which was correct. So she reached out to me, and that’s how we got connected to CGDSD. And after a brief communication with her, we attended the business meeting, and we signed up to be a DB member. And now my current position is a website manager.


Lixing Li  02:24

Right, right. Great. Wow. That’s wonderful. I didn’t know that you have participated in the ACPA convention last year, that was a virtual convention, right?


Hanna  02:34

Yes, so we got to present two years in a row. Woohoo!


Lixing Li  02:41

Nice. Nice. Yeah, you’re experienced experience was very encouraging. You presented and shared, you attended many sessions and learned a lot. And you learn about our condition and join us. And that more new friends, I guess, a great experience last year, was one of the reasons why you continue attending ACPA 2022 this year?


Hanna  03:04

Right. Right. Yeah, so the commission is having a regular online meeting. So that’s where I got to see you and other DB members through online. So it was kind of convincing to me to attend this of 2022 convention in person.


Lixing Li  03:21

That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. And I learned that you also presented this year,


Hanna  03:28

Lixing attended. She was one of the 10 attendees for my session. So thank you for being there. As I said, Katie, who reached out to me during the 2021 virtual convention, and Kyoungah, who has been my friend and my mentor. And so we had worked together on the proposal to share the experience as international staff here, and it was approved by the ACPA. So like I didn’t want to miss this great opportunity. So we got to share our own experiences. And I learned from my colleagues too, by presenting at the session.


Lixing Li  04:09

Congratulations, congratulations on your success of your presenter presentation with Katie and Kyoungah. Yes, I attended your session and it was wonderful. This sharing is very inspiring, touching and powerful. This presentation is also played in our last podcast episode if our audience has not checked out yet, we’ve checked our last episode, the title is Thriving or Surviving?: Experience of Korean international staff in U.S., and I’m pretty sure all of our audience will love it. As Hannah mentioned, ACPA 2022 was the person after the pandemic and it was also my first time participating in the convention. Generally, what do you think of the ACP 2022 conference?


Hanna  04:58

It was very worth coming. Have fun, informative and inspirational. Yet I wished for warmer weather because I was traveling from like Upstate/ Central New York. But anyway, I felt weird that it feels like I have known all the commission members for years, although it was my first time like you to attend the convention and meet in person for the first time. And there wasn’t an awkward first-time handshake, instead, I could see through the big smiles behind the mask. And we gave a big warm hug to each other. And I love that. And additionally, attending the conference convention helped me to broaden my support network, or community or group, whatever you call it. And I believe one of the contributing factors to thriving, going back to our session title, not to surviving for internationals in the US is to have a support group. And I feel very lucky in that sense, because I have met many good mentors throughout my life in the US, and so far as are the ones who are who believe in me that I can do things, and I would have not been able to be where I am without them. So it was definitely a great opportunity for me to broaden my like support group. Now Lixing, you’re in my support group, too.


Lixing Li  06:18

Yes, yeah. (Laugh)


Hanna  06:20

So I just wanted to like, share how I become a believer in this support group, especially for internationals in the US. Let me begin with my very first mentor who I met, my professor, whom I call Dr. Kim took a great time teaching me to be a grad student who can write, research and present. A higher education major is something that the US has, but it’s something that Korean universities don’t have. So I majored in communication and journalism backing in Korea. So I changed my major. And I got my bachelor’s degree from Korea. So like, it was the first time that I studied in the US. So everything was totally new. My writing level was not close anywhere close to the grad level. So I was under a lot of stress. And Dr. Kim was the one who kind of taught me how, like how to do things, right from A to Z. And as I introduced myself, at the beginning of this podcast, I immigrated to this country when I turned 21. Studying at the graduate level wasn’t easy at all. However, I was able to present at the GSE Graduate School of Education symposium for two years in a row, and I graduated with a 4.0 GPA. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this to brag about my achievements, but to share that like how great my mentors are.

So one day, I went into Dr. Kim’s office to talk about the presentation at the symposium at around 4 pm. And by the time that we got back home, it was around like, 2 am. I know, it’s crazy. And it’s my favorite memory. It’s one of my favorite memories. When I think back on my life, I slept maybe a couple of hours, and I presented the next day. It has been more than seven years, but I still feel so grateful for her time and effort. And I still like to keep in touch with her. As a matter of fact, I will visit her in two weeks.

So another person that I want to mention is Kyoungah. She’s the one who introduced this higher education administration major to me when I was an exchange student at UB. And whatever I do, she says, like, “Hanna, like you will do great things. If you can do it, no one can do it” type of things. So it makes me wonder what are the things that she sees in me that I don’t see in myself like she’s the kind of like big supporter who always has a big faith in me. So they Yeah, so they are the ones who have supported me. And I also like, I felt grateful when others attended the session, along with like, Lixing, and our CGDSD DB member. All the good things that you guys shared, it’s all it’s in my heart and they will encourage me to take another step in my career.

Other than Dr. Kim and Kyoungah, I also met Katie. She has been a big supporter for me and Kyoungah, too. So I think attending the conference and getting to know other internationals in the same field. It really helps me to thrive not just to survive, not just do my daily job as an educator and as a practitioner in the US. 


Lixing Li  10:00

Great, great- such a touching story. Thank you, Hannah. It was fantastic to see how this connection broaden your community and support. I cannot agree with you more about how important we should support each other. For me, the conference was a great opportunity to reconnect my passion for higher education. We all know that there are so many challenges, and struggles in higher education, especially since COVID hit, it is so critical to have mentors to give you good advice and get you enlightened when you want to quit. At the conference experienced professionals and new professions interact, learn and share and mentor each other, which is wonderful. Meeting and talking with these people, I could recall my passion for this field and got further inspired by them. As audience, I learned a lot from your presentation. And once again, thank you for your sharings. So Hanna, as a presenter, how do you feel about this experience?


Hanna  11:00

Okay, before I get to my presentation, if there’s anyone who hadn’t read Lixing’s blog post about her experience at the convention, go to our web page and click the maybe it might be the last blog post, or by the time that it gets uploaded to the website. I am one of the website managers, along with my beautiful colleague, Katie G. So check the blog out by Lixing.


Lixing Li  11:27

Thank you, Hanna!


Hanna  11:28

See, like we are supporting each other. Let me get into my experience as a presenter at ACPA 2022 conference. I don’t know about others, but giving a presentation can be stressful and nervous. But because this session was about sharing our own stories: how we survived through and how those past experiences made us thrive. Now, I was very excited and grateful for the opportunity. Like after I gave a presentation, there were some audiences who reached out to me and said, I didn’t memorize all the things that you just said. And I my answer was no. But it was always other things that I shared at the session that were always there, like in my brain in the back of the corner. Like I always wanted to share my experience, because it’s not just my own experience. It’s other international staff or students’ experience. And I wanted to share and increase or inspire others. So I was very grateful for this opportunity. So like, what should I say when the time when the opportunity is given. So that’s why my presentation, when I said something, it was like, Okay, now, I’m gonna talk about this, and that I was very excited to kind of like, “give a presentation”, rather than, “okay, so it’s so stressful, like, I don’t want to give a public speech” type of thing. And I wasn’t, honestly, I wasn’t expecting to see a good number of faces at the session. Maybe for some people, seasoned presenters, 10 might not be the number that you will say it’s a good number. But for us, I wasn’t really expecting that much maybe. So seeing more than 10 people showed up at the session made me excited as well. For those who came to my session, I want to say thank you again for being there. Another thing that I learned from my session is that I presented along with Katie and Kyoungah. So although I knew how amazing Katie and Kyoungah are, their presentation made me so proud to be with them at the podium, how eloquent they are, and how thoughtful they’re and how inspiration is there. It was just like another time that I could be so proud of to say that, like I’m one of their, you know, like co-presenters at this session and convention. So I’m, I’m pretty sure especially the attendees would have learned something from my colleagues and from me.


Lixing Li  14:17

Yeah, of course. Absolutely. Yeah. I might have said million times, but I really appreciate all your shares. And you know what, when listening to the stories you’re sharing I just think of the sentence “sharing is caring”. Yeah, as we can see, Hanna is such a caring person. She cares about audience and international education, international students. History also reminds me of the memories I got great support from my mentors and friends in graduate school. So Hanna, how did you think the conference helped with your professional development?


Hanna  14:53

As I said, I believe networking, being connected to people who share the same vision and learning from others are a big part of professional development. I have had students, international students who come to me, and it seems like they’re just focusing on getting great GPAs. And they’re not really interested in engaging in on-campus activities. It seems like they have these two different concepts. So like doing great in college means like high GPA, it doesn’t mean that they will learn from others, it doesn’t mean that they can play, they can participate in the leader’s role, which could teach them more things than getting a high GPA. So I always felt that I really wish that my students know this. And I think it’s the same for international staff, too. So like being successful doesn’t mean that like you give good advice to your students, it doesn’t mean that like, you get to be, you get to be promoted in your institution, I feel like it’s really about being connected and being a supporter for someone who’s going through the similar experience as you and inspire them to thrive. And that has been my goal, as a person who has an international background.

I felt this convention attending the conference convention helped me to be a supporter of my colleagues, and to serve them in a way that I can do, I can utilize my knowledge and skill. So it was another learning experience and giving experience at the same time. So the ACPA 22, motivated and inspired me to be a better practitioner and, and better human being. And going back again, going back to my so-called support group theory, before I attended the ACPA 22 convention, Kyoungah and I used to say that we’re in a private yet casual support group called the “Pro Club”. So well, where we call each other a pro-Kiki, her name is Kiki, because her name starts with K. And she would call me pro-Haene, and it comes from my English name, Hanna. But when you say that in the Korean way, you would pronounce it like Haene, and in Korean, it means, I can make it work. So she will call me Pro Haene. And then I will call her Pro Kiki. That’s how we started on the 2021 presentation and the 2022 presentation. It wasn’t something like we gave a big speech. But that’s how we started as a just you know, individual, we were supporting each other by just calling pro something. And whenever I had some concerns and worries, she’ll say, oh my god, like who, How dare they did this to you, like you’re pro Haene. Like they don’t know about you. Like it’s so shame is that shame is on them. She also said, I have never seen notes like yours and your good and many things, etc. So that’s how it all started. 

So if you asked me what was the what would be the key for giving a presentation, or just you know, thriving as a professional. I will say it really started as a small support group, there were like two people. But when we did what we can do at the moment, it got bigger and bigger and bigger. So it’s like a snowball. Like we started, we just want to share what we know, and how we utilize social media. It’s really a small thing. And I don’t know if there were many people who, you know, like, saw our poster presentation, but it made the opportunity for us to meet another great and bigger support group, which is CGDSD. And we were able to make a bigger group. Katie, Kyoungah, and I now get to have more Korean staff in the field and more international staff in the higher ed in the US. So I think it was definitely a good way to grow as a professional. Now after the ACPA 2022 convention, I feel like now let’s move on to not only talk about a Korean international staff in the US but in a bigger way, what we can do as some as a professional and practitioners who have international backgrounds. So I’m truly grateful for this opportunity to get to know everyone and work with them. Like I had never seen, like, colleagues who are who’s really very good at what they’re doing. Like, Lixing, you know how to run the podcast and my colleague, Kate G, she knows how to do things with the website and just, you know, like everyone in the CGDSD they know what they’re doing social media team, you know, DB members, so I really feel grateful that I could just meet them and then be their supporter too.


Lixing Li  20:37

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I cannot agree with you more. Yeah, the support group is so important. The encouragement, even just a simple praise or recognition means a lot to all of us. Yeah. And I learned a lot from our Commission members too. Hanna, you have presented so many times in the AICPA conference. So any advice for people who might be interested in submitting a conference proposal?


Hanna  21:06

I’ll be consistent, I would say find colleagues or supporters who can work together. And that makes it easier not only to write a proposer but also to make the session more attractive. Because as you are working with your colleagues and your other professionals or practitioners, you get to offer more than you can as an individual. So I think that’s also better for audiences to learn and to be inspired. So that will be my advice.


Lixing Li  21:40

That’s great advice. Thank you, Hanna. What are your upcoming plans after this conference? And how can ACPA and our Commission support you?


Hanna  21:50

So after this conference, I will do what I have been doing, I will support my CGDSD members by uploading things, posting things on our website. And if there’s anything that other international staff would also like to present at the next convention, I’m willing to be a part of it. I do have this website, it is called SEVIS SAVVY. And that’s where I share immigration regulations in different languages. And because the top three sending countries are China, India and Korea, and because I can speak Korean and English, I’ve been writing, I’ve been breaking down the immigration regulations into little, small topics for international students, so that they can digest or understand better. And I would write those things in Korean and English. And I’m looking for volunteers who have passion. And who knows, Chinese who knows how to write in Chinese. Because that’s something that has been unstable. So there are many blog posts, which need to be translated into Chinese. But um, it’s something that, like, I’m a full-time work employee, it’s really hard for me to kind of like, look after what other large white Chinese volunteer if I have one is doing so it will be great if I can be connected to native Chinese who can who’s who also has a passion for helping international students to understand the immigration regulations better.


Lixing Li  23:42

That sounds great! Thank you, Hanna. Hanna always has great ideas and is always willing to share. I’m sure our students are thankful for all the wonderful work and information you share on the website. I want to say thank you, Hanna, again, for joining us today. I appreciate all your sharings and I feel empowered again. Like Hanna mentioned, we need to have mentors, we need to have support groups that we can support and learn from each other. I would love to hear more wonderful and inspiring stories from Hanna. And thank you again, Hanna, for joining us today.


Hanna  24:16

Thank you for having me, Lixing!  Thank you, my great mentors! It feels like I’m giving a speech as an awardee. But thank you, Dr. Kim and David, who I met in Buffalo,  and my colleagues at SUNY Oswego. I know it’s weird, right? Like, it’s just, uh, what was it, like, attend the conference, but I feel really grateful for the great network that I have. If there’s anyone who I missed to kind of like give credit right now, I still thank you. Thank you for having me Lixing!


Lixing Li  24:51

Thank you, Hanna!


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