Meet the Facilitators

Robert King
The Ingredients of Leadership- From Identity to Audacity
Robert King serves as the Senior Assistant Director of Family and Graduate Housing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he has lived in Champaign since 2011. Robert is currently pursuing his doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is active in the Association of College and University Housing Officers International-former chair of the Multicultural Committee and current member of the policy group and the Global Initiatives Network.
Robert is also currently campaigning for the local Champaign County Board, currently serving as a board member for the Urbana Independent Media Center, President of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Urbana High School, soccer coach for the Brookens Peewee and Striker teams, a mentor in the Champaign Urbana One-to-One Mentor Program, a husband, and father of three.
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Noel Kunz
Unorthodox Profession: From The Perspective of a Yoyo Player
Noel Kunz is a professional yoyo player and musician. Originally from Vallejo, California, Noel found his roots in performing while going to school in Indiana. While attending a nationally ranked music program throughout high school, he first picked up a yoyo in the summer of 2004 in order to take a break from constantly playing drums. It wasn't until attending Ball State University that Noel truly found his passion in yoyos. Having already competed in many competitions, it was a trip to FACT that would change his life forever.
During the FACT V-Show in 2008, he did something that many people would never have expected: he made the crowd get on their feet while performing a yoyo freestyle to Ne-Yo's Closer. From there, the video went viral after being noticed by Pepsi's online news source, and his career as a professional yoyo player began. Being a veteran of variety shows all throughout the country, it was through his yoyoing that he has been able to meet and perform with YouTube musicians such as Alfa, Melissa Polinar, AJ Rafael, David Choi, Jason Chen, and Manny Garcia, the latter of which he recorded drums for on his latest EP. Noel is a 3-time FACT V-Show Veteran, the first 2-time Kollaboration Champion (Tulsa 2010, Los Angeles 2011), and is the reigning Florida State Yoyo Champion. If for any reason you think something is impossible, just remember there is a guy out there who actually gets paid to play with yoyos. You just can't make this stuff up!
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Jeffrey Alton
Am I Filipino Enough?
Jeffrey oversees the Asian American Mentor Program, creates, implements, and assesses programming and workshops that focus on the Asian American experience, and advises student organizations. He comes to UIC from his alma mater, the University of Connecticut, where he worked at the Asian American Cultural Center focusing on alumni development and grant writing. Prior to working at UConn, he was the Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Services and Programs at the University of Georgia. Jeffrey is a second-generation multiracial Filipino American, who grew up in Connecticut.
John Ballesteros
Seek the Thrill - It's All About the Journey
Since graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2013, John Ballesteros has been on an eye-opening personal journey. Along the way he experienced different cultures in cities around the world,
transformed his career by transitioning into a completely different role, and moved across the country to Bushwick, Brooklyn. He also focused more on his passion for hosting, including facilitating ideation sessions for clients at his current job with the Accelerated Solutions Environment. Throughout his adventures, 1 key theme started to emerge - seek the thrill. John hopes to spread this message by sharing his own journey and learning from others.
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Christina Carpio
For the Next Generation of Leaders: Emotional Grit
Christina is one of the Assistant Directors at the Asian American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She earned a M.S.Ed. in adult and higher education and a BS in public health from Northern Illinois University.
While pursuing her master’s degree, Christina served as a graduate assistant at the NIU Asian American Center for two years. She interned at the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Student Involvement, and worked as an Americorp volunteer coordinator for Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE). She also has served on the national board of Alpha Phi Gamma, an Asian American-interest sorority, including a term as president. Her passion lies working with students in helping them through their college journey. She values leadership development, mentorship, social justice and cultural education. She is a second generation Filipina American, born in Chicago and raised in Skokie, Illinois.
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Midwest Association of Filipino Americans
Conference Within a Conference (CWAC)
Established at FACT in 2008, the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans works towards promoting Filipino/-American and Asian/-American issues, providing professional networking opportunities for its members as well as to cultivate and forward the Midwest Filipino-American identity in order to unify 24 schools and counting in the greater Midwest Region.
Natasha Mamaril
Knowing Your Interests and Abilities: A Path to a STEM Career
Natasha has a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of the Philippines. She worked for nine years in industry as an application development engineer at 3M. She is a recipient of the International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) which provided support for her research on women’s self-beliefs in engineering. Her dissertation on engineering self-efficacy was funded by the National  Science Foundation Research Initiation Grant in Engineering Education (RIGEE). Natasha’s research interests include motivation in the context of engineering. Currently, she is the coordinator of undergraduate research in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Gretchen Carvajal
Gretchen Bello Carvajal is a First Generation Filipina Immigrant raised in the wondrous place that is the Bay Area. She is a poet, printmaker, emcee, performer, and scholar at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she is currently studying Art and Asian American Studies under the First Wave Hip-Hop and Urban Arts Learning community. She specializes in Screen printing, Neon Signage, Spoken word and 3D digital fabrication. Her work revolves around unpacking the layers of Filipino Americanism and re-approrpiating imagery and stories of Philippine History to fit the intersections of Filipino Americans today. Her visual work has been featured in galleries throughout Madison WI, as well as the Bay Area California while her performances are on Button Poetry as well as various online poetry hubs. You can find her work on instagram under @BRWNGRLPRINTS or #BRWNGRLPRINTS
Royce Tolledo
Art+Design I Passion+Purpose
Royce Tolledo officially started his art career at the tender age of 4 when he sabotaged his Uncles architecture final by adding some extra color with his crayons and from then on it was history. Throughout his childhood he continued to draw and paint on anything that would allow him to. He continued to be a Fine Arts major at Lane Technical High School where he won multiple awards for pieces throughout his four years including; silver and bronze at the All-City Art Competition where it was displayed in Art Institute of Chicago. He initially went to UIC to try and pursue a career in the medical career but shortly realized his real passion was in the arts. He then transferred to Triton College where he studied and graduated with a degree in Visual Communications and Design. After graduating he scored an internship with a multi-cultural
advertising agency in the West loop of Chicago where he became a Jr. Art Director and worked with multiple projects in branding, digital marketing and print. He currently works as a Project Design Manager in Evanston, IL and continues to produce print and digital advertisements for the company clients. Featured art work: Beyond the Barrelman Tone Art & Music Festival -2014 Futures Raw Artist- CHICAGO - 2016 Fun Fact: Another passion of his is dance, he performs and trains in and out the Chicagoland area. He travels to Los Angeles to train and gain further knowledge in the craft. Recently he was a member of Immabeast Inc. in Los Angeles. and can be seen on Chicago’s very own Chance the Rappers “Angels” music video. Instagram: rtolledo2 facebook: Royce Tolledo Behance portfolio: Royce Tolledo
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Maya Arcilla
Kami Here, Kami Queer
Maya Arcilla is the Secretary General of Anakbayan Chicago, a progressive Filipino youth and student organization fighting for National Democracy in the Philippines. She also serves on the Women’s Desk of the Fellowship for Filipino Migrants, and the Women’s and LGBTQIA Desk of Anakbayan Chicago. In her spare time, she conducts workshops to uplift the stories, struggles, and experiences of Filipino/x youth in Chicago through Kabataan Ay Pag-Asa (Youth of Hope). She also loves to dance, sing karaoke, and write poetry.
Acie Roxas
Kami Here, Kami Queer
Acie Roxas is one of the newest members of AnakBayan Chicago. Only joining a little over a month ago, they quit their full-time job at a for-profit company to dedicate their life to serving the people. Seeing the power of the people through the #ByeAnita campaign in Chicago and Donald Trump's Chicago rally cancelled this March was what brought Acie to this work. From volunteering as a civic engagement leader with Asian Americans Advancing Justice, to standing in solidarity by taking action to the streets, they spend most of their time fighting for justice. On their free time, they write, watch sports, and paint.
Renae Encinas
The Miseducation of the Filipino People
Renae Encinas is a member of Anakbayan Chicago and serves on its Women’s and LGBTQ+ desk. On campus, she is a founding member of a multi-racial student organization that uplifts the voices and experiences of folx from historically underrepresented, marginalized, and oppressed groups. She is a passionate advocate for Ethnic Studies and Critical Pedagogy and has helped develop and implement courses on Filipino literature and Asian-American activism.
Edmund Buni
The Miseducation of the Filipino People
Edmund Buni is the Education Officer of Anakbayan Chicago, a progressive and comprehensive National Democratic mass organization with 11 chapters in the U.S. He is an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Chicago and participated in the Dump Trump Rally at UIC. He has gone to the annual International Solidarity Mission to the Philippines. He also speaks tagalog and bisaya.
Lorena Buni
Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle from Dakota to Mindanao for Land and Justice
Lorena Buni is the the National Solidarity Officer of Anakbayan-USA, a progressive and comprehensive national democratic mass organization with 11 chapters in the U.S. She is also the Chairperson of Anakbayan Chicago, where they have been active in supporting the Filipino community
in Chicagoland area, connecting our struggles here to the struggles back in the motherland and building solidarity with other people’s movements, like supporting Black Lives Matter, Free Palestine and the First Nations’ struggle for self determination. She had just returned from a 2 month integration in the Philippines where she integrated with urban poor communities, workers, farmers and indigenous communities in the Philippines. She has also gone to Standing Rock, North Dakota in solidarity with the Sioux Nation’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
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Love Jordan
Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle from Dakota to Mindanao for Land and Justice
Love Jordan serves on the Women’s and LGBTQIA Desk of Anakbayan Chicago. Her interest and track-record in social justice has taken her from student organizing at Loyola University Chicago, where she graduated with a degree in political science, to the southern Philippines to integrate and
learn from indigenous communities experiencing militarization and human rights violations. She recently returned from a solidarity trip to Standing Rock, North Dakota to hear from Native Water Protectors and the intentional community built to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline. She is a feminist, a poet, and a woman-loving woman. She is currently searching for a few quiet hours to write.
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Everett Icao
Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle from Dakota to Mindanao for Land and Justice
Everett Icao is a proud member of Anakbayan Chicago. A recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago and an active volunteer in the Filipino-American community. Everett strongly believes and advocates for real change in issues of social and economic injustice, community
oppression, and political engagement. He has served in several leadership capacities through organizations such as Kapwa Loyola, the Philippine-American Cultural Foundation, and others. Everett continually strives to build positive relationships through his work in community organizing by involving people from different groups, ages, and backgrounds to take the time to educate, engage, and empower so that change can be met with true action.
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Diana Balitaan
Kami Here, Kami Queer
Personal Biography (Around a Paragraph): Diana Balitaan (they/them) is a member of Anakbayan Chicago’s Women’s and LGBTQIA desk. Since graduating from college in 2014, they spend their days supporting high school youth and running a youth leadership program on community development. When they are not organizing, catch them starting a revolution on the dance floor.
Anthony Baccay
Our Migration Story
Anthony Baccay is the Vice-Chairperson of Anakbayan Chicago.
Monique Buni
Our Migration Story
Monique Buni is a member of Anakbayan Chicago and a youth volunteer of the Fellowship for Filipino Migrants.
Julian Ignacio
The Miseducation of the Filipino People
Julian Ignacio is an alumnus the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
and graduated in 2013 with a Master’s in Accountancy. During college, he was involved in the Pilipino American community and served as Awareness, VP-External, and President of PSA UIUC and Co-President Internal of MAFA. Aside from his involvement in the Pilipino community, Julian also worked with the Midwest Asian American Students Union (MAASU) as the Community Liaison for the 2012 Spring Conference and the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) as Co-Director. Currently, he is a CPA and works as a ​Professional Services Manager with ​Workiva while volunteering ​for​ Anakbayan Chicago,​ Asian American Advancing Justice – Chicago​ and the University of Illinois Asian American Alumni Network.
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Jon Salvani
Making Relationships Count! - The Importance of Relationship Building and Networking
Jon Salvani is a higher education Advancement professional, currently working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with over eleven years of experience in alumni relations and fundraising. In his current role, Jon is Director of Advancement, responsible for the University's advancement efforts in the Chicagoland area, along with leading the
Chicago Regional Advancement team. Prior to working in higher education, Jon spent over nine years working in the public sector, with most of those years working at Allstate Insurance Company. Jon is a graduate from Northern Illinois University, with a degree in Corporate Communication. He is also the National President of Pi Sigma Epsilon, a national professional sales and marketing fraternity, a trustee for the Pi Sigma Epsilon National Educational Foundation, and member of the President's Council with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
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INsight Crew
INdividualism: Writing Your Own Story / INdulge, INteract, INsync
INsight was founded in 2008 when four friends came together to dance for fun, but since then, it has grown to be a close-knit group of 18 members. Performing for World of Dance, Prelude Midwest, Kollaboration, and more. During those years, each member explored and experienced the different aspects of the Chicago dance community. Having grown individually as dancers, they hope to use FACT 2016 to come together and collaborate in order to share their experiences as a collective.
Louis De Guzman
Chicago-based artist, Louis De Guzman, creates artwork that merges his past with his present. Using mixed media (black pens, pencils, a tablet and adobe illustrator), De Guzman blends together images and stories that evoke his family’s immigrant struggle, and his own experience as a second generation Filipino American. He is inspired by the art of the Baroque and Renaissance periods, and also takes inspiration from silk scarves from high end
fashion brands like Chanel and Versace. He describes his work as “intricate conceptualization,” intertwining modern (sometimes iconic) symbols with those that embody the heart and resiliency of the Filipino people and his experiences as a child. De Guzman’s work has been showcased throughout the Chicagoland area. His pieces have been auctioned off for charity by nonprofits such as Rashied Davis’ Saturday Place, and the Brandon Marshall Foundation. His work has also been featured in the Art and Design section of, as well as Los Angeles based magazine, Suspend Magazine. He has also had a hand in assisting in creating fashion apparel pieces for such companies and brands such as Just Don, RSVP Gallery, Jordan Brand and the NBA. De Guzman continues to engage and give back to the community of Chicago by participating in local art events like Tone Art Gallery and Music Festival.
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Xavier Hernandez
2 Families, 1 State of Mind: Filipino American Student Organizations from West Coast to No Coast
Xavier Hernandez is the Director of the Asian American & Asian Resource and Cultural Center at Purdue University, and a PhD Candidate in the Department of Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Along with Drs. Yoon Pak and Dina Maramba, he is the co-author of Asian Americans in Higher Education: Charting New Realities, and has also published multiple book chapters, journal articles, and national academic conference presentations on Asian American and Asian international student issues in higher education. At Purdue, he serves as the advisor for multiple student organizations, including Purdue Filipino Association, Lambda Phi Epsilon, and Hui Na Opio O Hawaii Club. This is his 3rd consecutive year as a FACT workshop facilitator and he is always happy to interact with delegates in any setting!
Desi Bote
Spark–Woke–Lit: The Everyday Social Aktibista
Desi Bote currently works as Development Associate at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. Her work with Advancing Justice | Chicago has spanned over two years, previously serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Asian American Empowerment Project, contractor, and as a dedicated volunteer. Desi graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Rhetoric & Composition in Creative Writing. Her dedication to social justice and Asian American community issues stemmed from her involvement with the following organizations and departments: Office of Diversity and Social Justice Education, Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, YMCA UIUC, UIUC Asian American Cultural Center, Asian Pacific American Coalition, and Philippine Student Association.
Kenny Importante
Am I Filipino Enough?
A self-proclaimed 1.5 generation Filipino American, Kenny Importante was born in the Philippines and grew up in Oxnard, California. He pursued history and global studies with an emphasis in Latin America
for his bachelor’s degree at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). During his undergrad career, he was involved in residential life and student activism when he realized he wanted to continue working with college students. Kenny was thrilled to pursue his graduate work at UConn’s HESA program and serve as grad assistant at their Asian American Cultural Center. As the Assistant Director of University of Illinois’ Asian American Cultural Center, he is responsible for advising student organizations, lead weekly programs, art exhibits, book club, and the overall development of the AACC Internship program. He looks forward to this year’s FACT as a presenter, encouraging students to connect their identity with student leadership and become more aware of social justice issues.
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Unseen Unheard
[FRESH] If You're Reading This It's Too Commodified: What Can We Learn from Hip Hop?
Unseen Unheard Conference is hosted by the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. While APAC serves as a platform for students to voice their opinions in advocating for social justice and cultural awareness, Unseen Unheard seeks to help conference attendees to utilize knowledge, to be inspired to take action, and to network with other leaders in the community. The conference centers on the evolution of Asian American students as they progress through student activism.
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Sharmeen Khan
The Changing Role of Asian American Women in Media
Sharmeen Khan is currently a Senior studying Political Science, MCB and minoring in Computer Science. Along with Tina Kim, she serves as the Co-Director of the Asian Pacific American Coalition.
Lakhi Siap
EntrePinoyship: How your passion leads to business and having Pun while doing so.
Lakhi lives in a world where travel hacking, epic eats, and giving back the community are his passion. ​ Lakhi Mangharam Siap was born and raised in Cebu City Philippines to an Indian mother and a Filipino-Chinese father. Being raised with both cultures in his home was never a boring moment in his upbringing. He graduated from Philippine High School for the Arts on a 4-year theater scholarship. He immigrated to Chicago in 2006 and immediately became involved with the
Asian American community and began volunteering for various non-for-profit organizations. He saw there was so much disconnect and miscommunication within the Asian American community that in 2010 he co-founded Ascene Chicago, a nonprofit creative media outlet and events company that promotes unity within the Asian American scene. Ascene has been able to work and collaborate with various corporations and government entities such as Pepsico, AT&T and the Central Intelligence Agency. He was recently selected by the Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. as a delegate for 2015 Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FYLPRO) to represent Filipinos and Filipino American issues. He regularly travels back to the Philippines to help Filipino Americans and other entrepreneurs navigate and set up their businesses. "
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Tina Kim
The Changing Role of Asian American Women in Media
Tina Kim is a junior studying Communication with a minor in Asian American Studies. She is currently serving as Co-Director along with Sharmeen Khan for the Asian Pacific American Coalition, an umbrella organization for Asian and Asian American organizations on campus. She also works as an Office Specialist and Programming intern for the Asian American Cultural Center. This is her first time attending the FACT Conference and also the first time facilitating a workshop, so she is excited to serve the FACT community.
Zila Renfro
Being Multiracial: Fusing Identities
Zila Renfro is a Black-Filipina American who is the co-founder of Mixed Student Union at UIUC and a co-lead organizer for the student group Black Students for Revolution. She is a senior studying broadcast journalism and loves organizing around issues of social justice, learning new things about Filipino and Black history and watching movies.
Annie Kim
Freshman Workshop
Annie Kim is a soon to be graduate in Communication and the current President of the Asian American Association at UIUC. She has been involved in the APA community at UIUC since her Freshman year, and is really excited to facilitate her first FACT workshop. In her free time Annie enjoys good food, music, and dancing.
Sarahlynn Pablo
Not Enough
Sarahlynn Pablo is the co-founder and writer for Filipino Kitchen. I grew up between two worlds: too Filipino for suburban America, yet too American for Quezon City. But ""home"" is now several places: Chicago, and the Philippines, too. You second generation folks feel me out there.
For Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (ABC-CLIO, 2013) I ate balut in dark alleys, dirty ice cream. It was the best first assignment I could have asked for. I've written and edited many of the blog entries you see on Filipino Kitchen, contributed the Chicago chapter for 101 Places You Need to Get F*cked Up Before You Die (St. Martin's Press, 2014) and the Filipino food chapter for the forthcoming book, Food City, The History of Chicago's Food (University of Illinois Press, 2017). I have contributed to Hyphen Magazine, the country's longest-running Asian American magazine, and to Plate Magazine's Filipino Forward issue, March-April 2016. When I'm not writing about Filipino food and culture, I am the assistant editor for, by far the world's most popular barbecue and grilling website. Filipino Kitchen uses Philippine cuisine to connect Filipinos everywhere with our cultural heritage and the possibilities of our shared future. Based in Chicago, we cook and share our delicious cuisine at pop­up meals and food events. On our website, Filipino Kitchen documents with photography, interviews, stories and recipes from the makers and appreciators of Filipino cuisine and its continuing evolution. We hope to lead a long-­coming renaissance of Filipinos by connecting across the diaspora with our shared love and pride of our food. The masterminds and masterhearts behind Filipino Kitchen are two Filipino Americans and an honorary Filipino: writer Sarahlynn Pablo, photographer Natalia Roxas-­Alvarez and project manager Caitlin Preminger. Filipino Kitchen is online at and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat."
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Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro)
Taking a Knee for Solidarity
Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with chapters in New York, San Diego, Chicago, and Seattle that envision a unified and engaged Pilipino America. Founded in 2009, UniPro’s mission is to engage Pilipino Americans through collaboration, advocacy and education. It seeks to transform Pilipino students & young professionals into community leaders through its various programs, which incorporate professional development, history, and policy through the lens of the Pilipino experience. The organization allows Pilipino Americans the opportunity to explore their place in the community in the hope of owning their niche. Ultimately, UniPro asks Pilipino Americans to critically answer, “How do you define Progress?”
Danny Mathews
What's the T(et)? LGBT Inclusion in "Little Saigon"
“If I love you, I must make you conscious of the things you cannot see,” said James Baldwin, and Danny Mathews subscribes to the same empathetic approach to his work in the field of social justice. Currently, Mathews is the Assistant Director at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign’s LGBT Resource Center. Prior, he also served as the LGBTQ Coordinator at Virginia Tech and as Specialist for Advising & Leadership Development in Diversity Advocacy at Illinois State University. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in English and Women’s & Gender Studies and Master’s of Education in College Student Personnel Administration from Illinois State University, but his journey as an activist and community educator began in 2003 when he worked with the American Red Cross as an HIV/AIDS Outreach/Prevention Educator. Mathews strives to help his students along in their own journey of consciousness, inspiring them to invoke their own agency and create change.
Maribeth Gomez
Bakit, Why?!: Insights into Filipino Attitudes
Maribeth Gomez was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States to pursue a degree in Psychology and Social Welfare and Justice at Marquette University. She wanted to stay in touch with her heritage so became involved with Bayanihan Student Organization (BSO) throughout her undergraduate career. Her passion for the Filipino culture landed her as one of BSO's Cultural Events Coordinators for A.Y 2015-2016. She's currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Community Counseling at Loyola University - Chicago and is a member of Kapwa. She speaks tagalog, likes listening to OPM (Original Pilipino Music), and (attempts) to cook filipino food.
Christine Joy Antonio
Teach Us How to Treat: AAPIs in Healthcare
Christine Joy recently completed her Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. She has worked with Spanish bilingual little humans, students with dyslexia, and adults with dysphagia (swallowing disorders). However, she is most passionate about neurogenic communication disorders, such as aphasia (an acquired language disorder following a stroke or brain injury). As a young Filipinx American, Christine believes that cultural humility is essential to providing the best client-/patient-centered care, especially to diverse and/or marginalized populations. She aims to continually learn and grow as she applies this lens to her practice as a speech language pathologist. Christine is an alumna of UIUC (Freaky '14) and previously served on the Philippine Student Association officer board as Co-Cultural, VP-Internal, and TeamFACT Manager. She also helped to establish the MAFAmily Program while serving on the exec board as Co-Outreach. (p.s. She loves tacos. Find her at Maize on Green and 1st)
Kathlyn Oco
Teach Us How to Treat: AAPIs in Healthcare
Kathlyn is a second year doctor of occupational therapy (OT) student at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. As a Filipinx American and womxn of color in higher education, she believes in uplifting and centering the narratives of communities of color that are often overlooked within the traditional medical model paradigm. She has several years of experience working with older adults in outpatient settings and children with special needs in the school system. She is currently working on her doctorate research focusing on the impact of occupational justice on the mental health of undocumented students, immigrants, and refugees in the U.S. Kathlyn is an alumna of UIUC ‘11 and previously served on the Philippine Student Association officer board as Co-Publicity and Secretary. (p.s. Her love for Drake is so real)
Katrina Monreal
The Racial Middle: AAPIs and the Black Lives Matter Movement
Katrina is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she majors in Industrial Design. A second generation Filipino American, her social justice work has often manifested itself in issues of immigration and immigration reform. This work has taken her to actions across the US, including in Springfield, Illinois; Washington DC; Ferguson, Missouri; as well as back at home in Chicago. On campus, Katrina serves as a board member for the Philippine Student Association as well as the Asian Pacific American Coalition. She is bad at cooking but good at watching cartoons.
Jonathan Roberts
From Liberty into Manhood
My name is Jonathan Roberts. I was adopted from the Philippines at a young age, and raised in Minnesota. I have strived to understand the different sides and multiple layers of my identity from queerness to my Filipino background.
I am a junior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with an Applied Emphasis in music (cello as my primary and viola as my secondary), and plan to get a management minor. I am the Cultural Performance Chair of PSA Minnesota, which gives me one of the responsibilities of choreographing our traditional dances for Kaisahan. I push to educate myself and others about important topics related from queerness, race, mental health, and so many more. And I plan to not stop until the day I die.
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Tiger Litam
Coming Out: A Universal Experience
Tiger is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Biology and a minor in Sexuality Studies. He dreams of living in a united society untethered by racial injustice. Whenever he's not playing video games or catching up on Criminal Minds, he's probably cruising for a joint to eat some wings. If you spot someone walking around with a seemingly needless backpack, you probably just saw Tiger.
Ilene Lungay
The Introvert's Guide to Leadership
Ilene is a former member of PSA Minnesota, which she served as a Public Relations Officer in 2010-11, and as their Vice President the following year. This will be her 7th time attending FACT and 1st time hosting a workshop.
Lamar Roberts
The Introvert's Guide to Leadership
Lamar is also a former board member of of PSA Minnesota where he served as the Public Relations External Officer in 2014-2015. He also worked as the Workshop Coordinator for the Midwest Fil-Am Summit in 2015. This will be his 4th time attending FACT and 1st time hosting a workshop.
J.R. Ellasos
"Mayroon Ka Ba Snapchat?" | Social Media vs. Society
Born in the land of Chicago, IL, J.R. Ellasos came into the world unaware of the impact that he would seek to make in the Asian-American community. Having grown up in a neighborhood and environment that clouded his perception of his roots, he sought to reunite himself with who he truly is and where he came from through
his years in high school/college and post-grad in his young professional career . Since then, he has been heavily involved in organizations such as Filipinos in Alliance (FIA), the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans (MAFA), Kappa Pi Beta Fraternity, Inc, and UniPro Chicago Midwest. J.R. currently works as a Brand Ambassador for Lyft and other marketing companies/brands. He is also working on a freelancing career and immerses his hobbies in the creative arts (dance, music, mixed media, art, etc.). In his spare time, J.R. likes to master his ability of impressions / accents, watch videos, movies, and shows that give him the feels, eat anything that does not contain eggs, nuts, or seafood, and bring the hype wherever it is needed. He is a firm believer in the 5 F's: Food, Family, Fun, Friendship, and Fantabulous-ness. SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: J.R. Ellasos Twitter: @jrellasos Instagram: Jrtistic SnapChat: Jrtistic Lyft Code: JRE26
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Nerissa Allegretti
Our Migration Story
Nerissa Allegretti is the program coordinator of the Fellowship for Filipino Migrants (FFM) and the Midwest coordinator National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON).
Jamie Singson
Indigenous Values, A Common Past
Jamie Singson is the Director of the Native American House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jamie has worked with students for over 20 years, assisting in their development as leaders on college campuses. Jamie is multiracial with Filipino and Native American ancestry. He has used his personal and professional experiences to guide how he advocates for campus environments to become more inclusive for all students.
Betsy Jane Basch
Intersectionality and Disability
Betsy Jane Basch received her doctorate in school psychology from Argosy University/Phoenix in 2012 after receiving her master’s in counseling from the same institution in 2008. She provides services at DRES in the areas of: individual and group therapy, academic coaching, neuropsychological testing, clinical academic screenings, graduate student clinical training, supervision, relevant
research, coordinating with invested parties on campus and a class offered through DRES called, "Transitions." She also serves on the LGBT Resource Center advisory committee at the University of Illinois, the I-UNITE committee, is an I-Promise mentor, and represents District #5 as an academic professional at the university on the Council of Academic Professionals. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, an independently licensed counselor, a Nationally Credentialed Counselor, and a credentialed school psychologist. Dr. Basch has worked in a number of different environments in North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona and Illinois such as rural school districts, community mental health, residential treatment and juvenile prison. Her research involved looking at culturally competent social emotional intervention programs like Anytown Arizona, and is also interested in disability diagnoses, cultural competence and the relationship of stereotype threat in assessment with college students, including athletes and international students. Dr. Basch has overall interests in delivering and developing culturally competent, culturally aware and inclusive social emotional environments, training, therapeutic interventions and assessment and has presented on topics such as neuroflexibility, culture and mental illness, disability and sexuality, disability and identity, cultural components of community health and inclusive culturally competent programming and measurement. She has also helped developed campus-wide programming called the, "Disability Ally Program," which helps educate faculty, staff and students how to be an ally to persons with disabilities.
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Charmaine Balisalisa
The 3 C's: Creativity Meets Culture Meets
Charmaine's definition of happiness is a life full of love, sustainable living, and advocating for it. All these passions were made possible by her rollercoaster of an experience at U of I. She is a senior in Industrial Design whose appreciation for different cultures and identities inspired her to serve the Asian American community as VP-Internal of the Philippine Student Association, award-winning APATITE Conference Coordinator of the Asian Pacific American Coalition, and Co-Director of the Paradox Platform (#MyBananaStory). She now looks forward to implementing what she has learned in her field of work, especially in a world where the tensions between creativity and social equality have only begun to be recognized.
David Chih
Challenging the Model Minority Myth
David came to UI in 1998 as Assistant Dean of Students for Asian Pacific American Affairs, and has been the Asian American Cultural Center director since its founding in 2005. For the past 25 years, David has focused on cultural diversity issues in higher education, with particular interest in Asian American and international students. He received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and a B.A. in East Asian studies and psychology from Indiana University,