This year, the Asian Pacific Fund is proud to welcome Kelsey Foster and Sandi Khine as part of the AAPI Data-Narrative-Action (DNA) Fellowship Program. The DNA Fellowship Program, hosted by AAPI Data, is a 6-month, paid fellowship designed to identify emerging leaders passionate about data and research supporting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.
Get to know Kelsey, one of APF’s newest team members, who is of Tongan heritage, as she shares about herself and her excitement for the program.
Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background and interests?
I graduated in 2019 from UCLA with a BA in sociology. I am currently working towards a master’s degree in healthcare administration at LSU, Shreveport, and am also applying to nursing school programs. My interest is and always has been about creating access to resources, healthcare, education, etc., for underserved and underrepresented communities. I want to amplify the voices and needs of those who have been traditionally not heard or silenced.
Why were you interested in joining the Data-Narrative-Action Fellowship Program?
I was interested in joining the Data-Narrative-Action Fellowship Program because I wanted to play a role in collecting data relevant to highlighting the needs of AAPI communities as well as amplifying those different narratives. Professionally, I want to take these skills and continue to do this type of work in my own career and everyday life, so I hope to develop the skills and network to do that.
What do you hope to learn and contribute through your fellowship?
I hope to learn more about networking and data retrieval and management, as well as the process leading up to actually gathering data. I believe that a strength of mine is my ability to genuinely connect with communities and people, and I think that is something that I am bringing to the fellowship. I want to learn more about the process of having all of these feelings and thoughts and ideas, though, and actually turning that into action and the different ways that may look.
Why do you think it’s important to amplify AAPI voices and data?
I think it is important to amplify AAPI voices and data because AAPI is such a huge umbrella term that can cause certain groups’ individual needs to be overshadowed or hidden. By really learning about what each community needs and working on listening to those needs and gaps in access to resources, we are able to cater to those particular needs and see more AAPI patients getting the help they need, more AAPI students pursuing higher education, more AAPI cultures being represented in the media, etc.
What do you enjoy doing during your spare time?
I love to be outdoors. I enjoy taking photos of nature and laying in the grass. I have a 2-year-old husky who loves rolling around in the grass as well, so it’s always a great time outdoors with her. My boyfriend also loves to fish, so we love a day spent under a nice shady tree by the water with our favorite snacks and music playing.[ssba]