Monday, April 27, 2015

A Race to Fix

By Alysha Mancha

We are a species that is constantly evolving and growing, but it’s at the cost of our planet. We have accelerated the rate of global warming, destroyed a good junk of our natural resources, and killed a lot of animals to extinction. To top it off, we still continue to add more sustainable problems to the pile. The trigger is none other than capitalism and greed (in my opinion of course)!

Like all broken things, we attempt to fix it. The solutions range from recycling to raw veganism. In fact, sustainability is now a new field of the job market for the Millennial Generation. My mind is blown away by this fact. It’s another worldwide race. In fact, most East Asian and European countries are on their way to becoming number one.

So where does that put the US?

This semester I got to learn more of these issues and energy efficiency at my internship with the UIC Energy Initiative. I was intrigued by how aware students may be about ANY sustainable practices. I narrowed it down to anyone in a wet lab classroom in SEL in a voluntary survey. Just the entire process astounded me. Most UIC students are not aware of basic “green” practices here in the campus (besides recycling), let alone a wet lab.

If you were to look at our Asian counterparts (my case international students), most are aware of these pressing issues because their country (most said China or Japan) places value on these issues. The US does have it’s push, but I feel that with the overpopulation, overcrowding urban spaces, and limited resources, other countries are forced to come up with more plausible and innovated ideas. They are trying to find ways to save our resources for future generations of their respective generations.

I could go on and on about how important we should emphasize these issues. However, the field of sustainability is very broad and novel. These new changes affect technology, the environment, economies, and geopolitics. This landscape affords unprecedented opportunities for collaborative scientific research and education to answer global challenges with innovative and competitive solutions.

Students should get involved, but first they should learn what they want to impact.

For me, I’m still learning, but I think STEM majors can change the world with fields in green chemistry, innovations towards energy-saving ideas, and much more within the realm of different uses of energy. For example, The UIC Energy Initiative strives towards innovation in the cross-disciplinary fields of energy and sustainability through programs like SISE (an extensive yearly summer program), the iThink lecture series, as well as several UIC courses focused around the important issues of energy.

UIC students can go far, and who knows? We might beat, if not catch up to, our European and Asian counterparts.

Source: UIC students' perspectives; SEL survey; Google Images

Some interesting links:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Sassy Review of My Sassy Korea!

My Sassy Korea (MSK) is Korean American Students Association’s (KASA) annual mini spring Korean festival. MSK starts with educational booths that inform people about different facets of Korean culture such as popular media, language, history, technology, and fashion. Along with learning about the many faces of Korean culture, MSK participants are also encouraged to try some Korean cuisine which includes japchae, kimbap, ddeok, and the beverage known as “Milkis.” While the audience enjoys the food, they can enjoy performances lined up by the MSK planning committee. This year, our main headliner was Jun Sung Ahn AKA JunCurryAhn.

MSK aims to educate the public about the Korean culture in many modes possible. Student volunteers stood by each informational board and explained the importance of each board that represented a specific angle of Korean culture. My favorite was the informational board concerning Liberty in North Korea. A lot of people are not aware about the reality of the everyday lives of North Korean people and the reality of the leadership that they are under in. LiNK aims to raise money to help North Korean refugees escape and seek safety. From what I’ve learned, when North Korean refugees seek safety in China, there is a possibility of China sending the refugees back to North Korea potentially due to much economic and political concerns. It is a vital issue especially in the ever-more aware world dude to technology and that it is our responsibility to know more about world affairs especially since communication is much easier with the evolving technology.

Photographed: Alzen Santos, Michelle Aggacid
Photo by: Nathan Lee

Interview with Alice Zhao!

In celebration of our upcoming graduation (and even if you aren’t, your opinion is still precious to me) I would like to ask you a series of questions. They’re not difficult or pressing but they do require a bit of time travelling and recollection. Hope you have fun answering these and I can’t wait to share it with AARCCorner and the rest of UIC

Okay, let’s do some basic questions. And not so basic questions!

Alice Zhao
Computer Science

What’s your ethnicity?

Do you enjoy what you study? Be honest!
Of course! I love coding and I’m heavily interested in coding programs and such

What is your chosen career track? It’s alright if you don’t know yet. Choosing a career path can be stressful!
I’d love to become a programmer and code programs for space research programs

What do your parents think about your career track/chosen major?
Initially they wanted me to become a medical doctor but I explained to them the relevancy of my field to today’s work force. Then I convinced them. It took some time, though.
Do you feel like you have to please your parents when it comes to your chosen career track/major?
Not anymore!

What message would you share with people who might need help picking out their career track/major?
Follow your passion and actively learn and listen to ideas.

Now, let’s bring it back home. As in AARCC.What does AARCC mean to you? (asides from what the acronym stands for obviously)
I go to University of Chicago but I have visited before thanks to Alzen. AARCC was a very welcoming space and I enjoyed everyone’s company.


The Kamal Kishore Kapur Memorial Prize honors undergraduate students’ voices that engage with social and political issues of Asian American experience and that seek to transform the worlds around us.
Kamal Kishore Kapur was born in a small town in North India and was the sixth of his parents’ nine children. He joined the Indian Railways at the age of twenty-one, two years before the Indian independence from the British and the Partition of the country. Although he was able to work his way up the ranks in railway service to retire as station-master, throughout his life he just made enough money to make ends meet. He led an ordinary life, but he had unflinching belief in education and its power to transform people’s lives and render them extraordinary. He could only afford to send his children to make-shift schools with thatched roofs, but because of his faith in education, his children achieved great academic and professional success and have gone on to occupy important positions. He instilled in his children and grandchildren the idea that finding one's voice is transformative and that academic reading and writing play an important role in finding that voice. He consumed politics with a passion and recognized that ultimately finding one’s voice is a political act. He passed away in February 2006. In his memory, The Kamal Kishore Kapur Memorial Prize honors undergraduate students’ voices that engage with social and political issues of Asian American experience and that seek to transform the worlds around us.

Mary Chaudhry is currently a sophomore in the Honors College pursuing a degree in biological sciences as a pre-medicine student. She is interested in public health and hopes to practice in third world countries like Pakistan while introducing campaigns to lower the rate of preventable diseases. She believes education is the key to creating any change and is specifically interested in educating women and children about sanitation and family planning.

Nikab Isn't the Real Mask by Mary Chaudhry

I do not have a Muslim name. I also do not wear hijab. In fact, I could pass for a Hindu Indian girl. I tend to confuse a lot of people. But at least I do not have to live in fear of being discriminated against right? Although I may not be wearing a nikab (the traditional Arab dress that reveals only the eyes), I feel as if I am always wearing a mask. Being Muslim is a huge part of my identity. Due to the fear of what the public might say, I wear this mask instead of hijab. This is what 9/11 means to many Muslim women. The 9/11 incident was the start of an era of islamaphobia.

A child that is born to parents that believe in Islam is labeled as a Muslim. The label is nothing more than a lineage that is passed down. A Believer is someone who actually believes in Allah and practices Islam. People can be Muslims without being believers. The Qur'an says, “You may fight in the cause of God against those who attack you, but do not aggress. God does not love the aggressors.” [2:190] This verse dismisses any form of terrorism. How could the 9/11 attackers be a representation of Islam if they do not even follow the religion? This misconception has created discrimination against innocent believers for over fourteen years now. Adolf Hitler claimed to be a Christian, yet anyone who says they are Christian are not deemed as the mass murderer that he was. Why then, is anyone who wears a hijab, a nikab, or a thick beard, considered a terrorist? There are good Christians and bad Christians. There are good Muslims and bad Muslims. In general, there are good people and bad people. An entirety of a religion and its people cannot be written off because of the acts of a few bad people fourteen years ago.

There will always be bad people. For example, on December 15, 2014, a sheikh held hostages in Sydney, Australia. This man was an aggressor, not a believer. The hostages were temporary victims in the crisis. In the aftermath of the incidence, the real victims have been Muslim believers. Luckily, there will always be good people as well. An Australian woman named Rachel Jacobs saw a Muslim woman on the train take her hijab off in fear of being attacked by the Australian crowd out of revenge for the sheikh's actions. Jacobs told her to put it back on and that she would walk with her. The woman cried and hugged Jacobs, but ended up walking off alone. This inspired Jacobs to create the

#illridewithyou campaign where people arrange to meet Muslims on their commute so they do not have to live in the shadows of islamaphobia. The 9/11 attack created islamaphobia, but if people join together like in this campaign, Muslims could wear their hijabs or thick beards proudly instead of the mask that I too hide behind.

Shoma Webster
I am a senior at UIC majoring in Psychology. My research interests include Asian American Studies, focusing on war and memory. I aim to make positive and impactful changes in life that will also benefit others.

We Will Never Forget: Activism Essentialism by Shoma Webster

On September 11, 2001, disaster struck as terrorists bombed The World Trade Center. Onlookers watched as the buildings engulfed in flames, instantly succumbed by black and gray smoke. Hundreds of souls parted from their bodies while the statue of liberty wept in the distance. This is the clip that plays over and over in my mind when I think back to that tragic day. Three months earlier, my family and I had first stepped foot on American soil in New York City like many immigrants before us. My aunt was eager to take us to different places. The image that remains vivid in my mind to this day was view from the observation deck of The World Trade Center. I never felt more invincible than in that moment. So when I saw the news of the attack on the buildings that I visited three months ago, panic ensued. My mind raced as I thought about the family I had just met and I wondered if the terrorists would strike Chicago next. I was seven at the time of the 9/11 bombings and I am twenty-one today. I will admit that during the time in between I did not think too much about post 9/11 activism and what that meant. I knew people blamed and attacked Muslims. I even saw films that depicted males with turbans appearing suspect whenever they boarded a plane. Maybe the strength of the memory and the numbing pain were too great that it was repressed in the minds of many. Maybe they wanted us children to maintain our innocence because the adults did not talk about that day in depth.

Today, I find myself conducting research to find a way to turn on the headlights that will enable me to see through my foggy memory. After 9/11, there were an increased number of hate crimes toward Muslims. Instead of being referred to as a person, they were referred to as the enemy. It should be apparent that one group of people cannot adequately represent an entire population, but this was far from the case. Nationally, many Japanese Americans defended the mistreated because they knew what it felt like to be betrayed by their own country. They did not want the injustice that happened to them to happen to the Muslims because of the actions of extremists. Post 9/11 activism means that I find the correct answers for that little girl inside me. I am sure there has been post- 9/11 activism at UIC and in Chicago though I have not seen it personally. The impact of activism in general is tremendous, because of it UIC’s campus is diverse, has ethnic studies, recognizes undocumented students and advocates for “the other.” There is still more work to be done, religious and cultural stereotypes and prejudice still exists to this day. So in this regard, post 9/11 educational activism is crucial not just in the United States, but worldwide. Actually, it might be crucial for our existence.

Alzen Interviews Rohan Patel!

In celebration of our upcoming graduation (and even if you aren’t, your opinion is still precious to me) I would like to ask you a series of questions. They’re not difficult or pressing but they do require a bit of time travelling and recollection. Hope you have fun answering these and I can’t wait to share it with AARCCorner and the rest of UIC

Okay, let’s do some basic questions. And not so basic questions!

Rohan Patel
Biochemistry (Pre-Medicine) and Psychology Minor, 2016

Whats your ethnicity?
Indian American and Fijian American

Do you enjoy what you study? Be honest!
If there is anything I love, it is the specific discipline of science I am studying. Biochemistry is so amazing, so unique, so applicable. I wouldn't change it for any other major (maybe Korean language but we don't like that :p)

What is your chosen career track? Its alright if you dont know yet. Choosing a career path can be stressful!
Like indicated before, I am a pre-medicine track, hoping to go to med school and further specialize in pediatric cardiology.

What do your parents think about your career track/chosen major?
My parents believe that whatever I choose as a career path, it should be something that I am passionate about. However, they seem to have some type of say on what type of speciality I want to choose in medicine...

Do you feel like you have to please your parents when it comes to your chosen career track/major?
I think that I don't have to really please my parents in what I want to choose as a career path, because it is my life and my decision. My parents support every decision that I make, so I think that I don't have to please them because what I do is enough for them.

What message would you share with people who might need help picking out their career track/major?
I think that it is important to do what you believe in. So many of my friends are biology majors and pre-health. There is absolutelty NOTHING wrong with that, but why did you choose biology? Because you want to fulfill those pre-requistes to apply to a pre-health program? Or are you doing it because you are passionate about the disciple? I think that even if you are a sociology major and pre-health, or a Chinese language major and pre-law. As long as you are passionate and interested, then you should continue with it. All the colleges at UIC will give you the required course. But if you are miserable while studying your major, then you will hate every second of it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rising from the Ashes (a poem)

Wo shi Feng Dan,
I am Feng Dan,
born into a world of obstacles,
unwanted by the Chinese society,
unaccepted by the American society.
I am stuck between TWO WORLDS.

I am Hu Hai, son of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
I force death onto my older brother and take the throne
as the second emperor of the Qin Dynasty.
My father builds Chang Cheng, the GREAT WALL,
to hold me within my own country,
to protect me from the unknown.

I am a railroad worker, the “head man” of my gang.
I live in a tent and eat dried food.
I shoulder the WEIGHT of heavy metal,
and die amongst the railroad tracks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mirza Sahiba (The retelling of a folklore)

Recently, I watched a movie by my favorite Bollywood director, Yash Chopra. He died one month before the release of his last film in 2012. He was probably one of the best romantic story tellers in the Hindi movie industry. His last film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, featured a little song called "Heer". This song inspired me to look up the old folklore. To the best of my knowledge, imagination, and attempt, here's my retelling/recreation of the folklore Mirza Sahiba. It deviates from the original storyline a bit. Thanks to for allowing me to see the original story behind the famous song.


A long time ago, in the village away from the seas, there was once a woman of great prestige. She was the wife of a powerful member; who's the brother of the clan leader. Her husband loved her very much so. She was his life and happiness. One day, the happiness increased tenfold.

She was pregnant.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Stories We Carry: Our Authentic Ways of Portraying Our Culture

Filipinos in Alliance’s Battle of the Bamboo (BOTB) has been an event that is very dear to my heart. Along with the dance experience I have obtained, I have also cultivated a much more expansive student network and background in the folklore of the Philippines. This year I was given the opportunity to be one of the judges for BOTB and it has given me a different perspective in story-telling and identity as a Filipino-American.

Judging for BOTB required intensive research on so many classic stories such as Indarapatra at Sulayman and the iconic Muslim-suite dance titled “Singkil” which shares the story of how Princess Gandingan, who along with her slaves, traversed through a forest infested with magic, fairies, and dangerous conditions. With every dance, there was an iconic element such as usage of bamboo sticks, how the toes are pointed by characters, which instruments are utilized, and what garment is worn by dancers. As difficult as it may have been to analyze some customs, culture was able to shine through means of dancing, even when languages and dialects get lost in translation. Being able to act out and dance to portray a story has made preservation and sharing of our stories much more entertaining and understandable.

Niles North High School's portrayal of "Singkil"
Photo by: Zveephotography

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Documented Voice

A Documented Voice*
Screenshot of a scene from "A DREAM A Part"

Five hundred sixty thousand.
That is the number of undocumented immigrants living in Illinois.
Of the 1.5 million undocumented Asian Americans in the United States,
67,000 of them live here, and I am one of the people
making up 12% of the “unauthorized population” in the state.
You haven’t heard much about my existence
because I have been hiding my immigration status,
trying to protect my family, trying to protect myself
from the government, from the white-washed society,
from the people who look down upon me
simply because I don’t have a document
saying I have as much right to be here as they do.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The UIC Perspective: #ChapelHillShooting

The UIC Perspective: #ChapelHillShooting
By Alysha Mancha
            We all go to a great school that promotes such diversity within the student population. A diversity that I personally define as the inclusion of individuals originating and identifying themselves of different sexual orientation, age, ethnicities, social class, economic class, religion, race, and even skin color. In fact, we are one of the most diverse universities in the nation! Within this microcosm, we have a huge number of students who self-identify themselves as Muslim. Recently, one of the most discussed events in social media and (depending on the station) news channels is the Chapel Hill Shooting, where 3 Muslim Americans were shot to death at the University of North Carolina campus. They were young university students, Muslims of Arab descent, and high achievers who were aspiring to be professionals in the dental and architecture field. Their names were Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Abu-Salha.
            As such, old media and new media have been clashing. Twitter took OFF immediately with the hashtag #ChapelHillShooting, while the news stations took a little longer. Depending on the area covered, different points of view on this incident resulted in a heated debate about the Muslim American stereotype vs the media coverage portrayed. I saw how this issue was very important to the UIC community. As such, multiple UIC students were asked to present their thoughts on this event/issue, and some had the right to anonymity.  And so, I present the UIC perspective:
Source: Google Images/ CNN/Family members

“Words cannot describe how upset I am by this event; it really hit home because it could have easily been my friend or loved one. The double standards set by today's media.”
 Abad Majeed, Class of 2016

If the killer were any other race, this would be labeled as a hate crime and there wouldn't be "more investigation" needed. It's b.s if this doesn't scare you. It scares the hell out of me that I could have my life brutally taken away from me for who I am and yet I would be in the wrong.”

Gilcy Aquino, Class of 2016

“I find it very sad that young people of such high acheievement would have their lives taken from them so early. It's very sad.”
 Amy Clinard, Class of 2016