UNAVSA-18 Countdown








UNAVSA-18 Workshops

The U-18 Programming committee is proud to present our conference WORKSHOP PRESENTERS! These amazing individuals are ready to share their knowledge with you this summer! 

See a workshop you’re interested in? Workshop registration will be available on May 15th at 9:00 PM ET/8:00 PM CT/7:00 PM MT/6:00 PM PT. Information regarding workshop registration will be sent via email and will be available in our bio. Workshop registration is first come, first serve so don’t PROcrastinate!

Career Conversations

We’re also excited to announce our new project, CAREER CONVERSATIONS! Career Conversations is an opportunity for attendees to network and discuss common career topics with one another and our amazing alumni.

Topics covered will include goal setting, networking, interviewing, resume building, and much more! Attendees will have the opportunity to attend two breakout sessions. Registration for Career Convos will also take place on May 15th!

If you have any issues during workshop and Career Conversations registration, please contact the Registration committee at OR if you have any questions about our workshops, contact

Workshop 1

Let Your Inner Artist Play: How Creative Play Can Reduce Stress and Burnout

Presenter: Lillian Trinh (she/her)

Workshop Track: Personal Development, Recreational/Recess

Workshop Description: In a life led by meetings, work, and school, the number one problem we face as a generation is vulnerability to burnout and stress. While we may have been raised to buy into hustle culture, there is an important component of a healthy and productive lifestyle that we are often missing: creative play. Creative play is critical to a balanced and more fulfilled lifestyle, as finding that right outlet for creative energy can lead to happier humans. In this workshop, we will explore what creative play is, why it’s so paramount to a wonderful life, and engage in a little creative play ourselves! This will include a wide range of different art forms. No artistry skills required to join, just an open mind and heart!

About Lillian: Lillian Trinh (she/her) is a Vietnamese-Taiwanese American currently living in Austin, TX. She attended her first UVSA South Leadership Summit back in 2015, and has since held a multitude of roles within the organization including UVSA South President and Leadership Summit Programming Director. She is the Executive Director for UNAVSA-18 Leadership Conference being held in Houston TX this upcoming summer. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Elections Committee for UVSA South. She works as a Program Manager – Virtual Experiences at HP, inc. in Austin TX. In her free time, she loves to craft and manage her dog’s social media account (tiktok/IG: MinaCorgina).

Workshop 2

What Dad Left Behind

Presenter: Bri Nguyen (she/her)

Workshop Track: Vietnamese Identity & Culture

Workshop Description: Following the release of her thesis film project, What Dad Left Behind explores the forgiveness of parents. This story explores how oftentimes, we as our parents’ children forget that our parents are human too. They have emotions that they are also afraid to show. While the audience does not need to forgive their parents like how the main character does, I encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect and appreciate the journey our parents have made for us to lead to our success.

About Bri: Bri Nguyen is a dedicated director, producer, and filmmaker with a passion for drawing inspiration from her Vietnamese-American roots. As she grew up, she confided with other Asian-American peers, who agreed there was a need for a space for them in popular media. Nguyen is fueled by her enthusiasm of creating stories involving everyday Asian culture. This includes familial relationships, immigrant family cultures, and other microcultures within Asian-American households. Her works have shown in the Dallas International Film Festival, USA Film Festival, Asian Film Festival of Dallas, and soon, the Texas Indie Filmmaker Awards. By inserting herself into the film industry, she hopes to pave the way for other Asian-Americans and build a space where they can feel safe and welcome in.

Workshop 3

Before the Ink Dries: Breaking Down and Building Up Vietnamese Culture Shows

Presenter: Katie Bui (she/her)

Workshop Track: Vietnamese Culture & Identity

Workshop Description: In this workshop, attendees will be encouraged to rethink what a culture show is, to themselves and to our community. As literal performances of the narratives we give ourselves, these productions have been vehicles of our place-making for decades. Grounded in my current research on Vietnamese Culture Shows, this session asks participants to be critical of the way these shows have been produced and how we can continue to innovate the genre, to rediscover what it means to tell our story.

About Katie: Katie is a graduate student at San Francisco State University in the Asian American Studies MA program. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2020, and when her mind isn’t occupied with her MA thesis, she splits her time between various nonprofit organizations, research projects, and personal interests. A creative at heart, if she’s not doing something for her community, she’s probably on some new creative outlet that’ll last about 2 weeks before it gets put on pause in favor of something new. But hey, now she knows how to make bread and crochet half a cardigan.

Workshop 4

Beginnings: Ghi Nhớ Một Chặng Đường

Presenters: Mindy Quinn Phan (she/her)

Workshop Track: Vietnamese Culture & Identity, Recreational/Recess

Workshop Description: In this workshop, attendees will be learning a fan and ribbon dance. The piece encompasses traditional and modern aspects of fan and ribbon dance. The reason for the workshop name being “Beginnings: Ghi Nhớ Một Chặng Đường” is because the song that we will be using for this piece is from the opening performance of Paris by Night 100. The theme of the 100th episode of PBN was beginnings and remembering and looking back to where your start was in order to have new beginnings. The song we are using specifically talks about joining together and embracing the past and present to welcome the future. This encompasses the overall theme of Snapshots perfectly, all the while leaving room for interpretation.

About Mindy: Growing up in Bay Area, California, Mindy Quỳnh Thư Phan was able to accessibly stay connected with her Vietnamese roots and contribute to the Vietnamese community through Gia đình Phật tử as a leader for her temple youth group where she taught Vietnamese language and traditional dance. Her time serving as her high school VSA’s President compelled her to take on roles in college as VSA President, Culture Chair, ICC, Events Director, Executive Board and Council of Regional Representative for NorCal UVSA. She currently serves on VSAcademy cabinet for UNAVSA and Entertainment Director for UNAVSA-18 annual leadership conference. Mindy’s passion for culture and entertainment converged into a desired career path that she is currently pursuing in entertainment production.

Workshop 5

Navigating Your Transitions

Presenter: David Phan (he/him)

Workshop Track: Personal Development, Professional Development, Leadership Development
Workshop Description: Do you ever feel anxious, nervous or excited when you experience something new? Whether that is attending university for the first time, getting into a new relationship, or starting your first few days in a new career, transitions are a common process that individuals experience during their period of life. Learn how to interpret your transition journey to gain perspective on your own identities that make up your own story to feel empowered in navigating future transition periods.

About David: David Phan (he/him/his) is a current graduate student pursuing a M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Northern Illinois University in hopes of providing everlasting support and guidance to students in the future. With extensive involvement in VSA and the current President of UVSA-Midwest, he serves to build an empowering and engaging community to provide intentional support and growth to those in the UNAVSA community. During his free time, he enjoys thrift shopping and looking at flight tickets to places he wants to go to.

Workshop 6

Stronger Together! What Collective Action Can Do For You!

Presenter: Philip Nguyen (he/him)

Workshop Track: Civic Engagement & Contemporary Issues

Workshop Description: The session’s topic involves the empowerment that one can achieve when collective action is taken. Labor unions allow workers to collectively bargain for better pay, benefits, treatment as well as democratically agree on a negotiated contract. Unions span across all fields and industries including grad student instructors, restaurant workers, baristas, healthcare professionals, tech workers, baristas and beyond. The structure of the workshop will have a scripted skit with multiple discussions throughout the workshop breaking the skit down and how it can apply to all attendees. This workshop’s goals is to introduce attendees to class solidarity, collective action, collective bargaining, and union busting. If there’s at least 1 thing for ANY and all attendees to take away from this workshop is to have a new sense of class solidarity and importance of collective action.

About Philip: Philip is a Minnesotan-born Bay Area transplant (circa 2001) with a B.S. and M.S. in Software Engineering from San Jose State University. He joined SJSU VSA where he found a space to grow as a leader and foster his community. Upon graduating and starting his career in the summer of 2019, he was quickly sent home March 2020 to work as well as endure the pandemic around him. It was during this pandemic that he could begin to understand the structural problems that you could not ignore and frantically tried to make sense of society around him. This is the period where Philip became passionate about learning and sharing knowledge about labor unions, climate activism and all the interdisciplinary fields that are involved. In his free time Philip likes to learn different languages, play volleyball, produce music, and team up with friends on Valorant.

Workshop 7

Financial Literacy 101

Presenter: Ngoc-lan Kris Dinh (she/her)

Workshop Track: Personal Development

Workshop Description: As a rising graduate or young professional, it may be daunting to think about how money and our spending habits can affect life after college. This workshop will dive into financial basics like money management, retirement, investment, credit cards, and other resources to help you budget better! With this new knowledge, you can start thinking about how to make finances work for you! This workshop is a part of the Financial Literacy Project which is a collaboration sponsored by State Farm and SEARAC.

About Kris: Kris has been an active participant in the VSA community since her first year in college. She became inspired during her first UNAVSA experience in Boston (UNAVSA-13) to become more active in the regional and national VSA scenes, later picking up different roles in the community such as CORR, Entertainment Director for the Gulf Coast Region, an Entertainment and Audio/Visuals Committee Member for the UNAVSA-15 and UNAVSA-16 Leadership Conferences, a CPP Audit and CPP Engagement Committee Member, as well as a family leader at several different conferences and summits across the North American continent. She now serves as UNAVSA’s Treasurer for the 2022-2024 term. She hopes to give back to the community that helped her become who she is today and inspire the newer generation to become better, more passionate and engaged leaders.

Workshop 8

Queersian Insights: Exploring the Intersectionality of being Queer and Asian

Presenter: Emmerick Doan (he/him)

Workshop Track: Vietnamese Culture & Identity, Personal Development

Workshop Description: Although we’ve made great strides in diversity and inclusion, there is still a long way to go to ensure everyone is safe and included in society. There are so many variables that intersect with one another in one’s identity and experience, but what we lack to talk about is privilege. How does one’s experiences & privilege affect the development of our identity? In this session, we’ll explore the intersectionality between being queer and Asian, our own personal experiences, and dive into the differences between heteronormative and QTAPI privileges. Workshop attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of the privileges they have compared to their QTAPI counterparts and how they can help in forming safer spaces to engage and participate in.

About Emmerick: Emmerick graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2019 with a degree in music education. He recently served as the Entertainment Director for UNAVSA-17 and was the Chairperson for the 2023 UVSA Tet Festival. Emmerick has always been invested in fostering an inclusive space for people to grow together. His life experiences as a queer Vietnamese-American compelled him to focus his educational framework through a culturally responsive lense with a community-oriented framework.

Workshop 9

Cognitive Awareness: Beneath the Surface

Presenter: Aaron Ly (he/him)

Workshop Track: Personal Development, Professional Development, Leadership Development
Workshop Description: The current understanding of the cognitive psyche is both vague and difficult to describe. In this workshop, through a variety of different interactive games and activities, we will dig deeper than the current common consensus understands about how our brains operate and its tendencies. “It is not that I am either intelligent or unintelligent, I have strengths here, weaknesses there, and their mixtures are constantly reacting to create the way I operate and the way I interact with others or my work/career.” Join me in discovering exactly what makes our brains tick and learn how to better identify yourself and your processes.

About Aaron: Aaron was born in Allen, Texas and has 6 years of experience working as a Cognitive Therapist. Currently transitioning into work as a life coach, he loves to take his knowledge and experience garnered from his work experience and spread cognitive awareness to all audiences. Having had 4 years of UVSA South experience, and although retired, he relishes being able to do workshops and help newer VSA members share memories like he did.

Workshop 10

Teach the Teach by Moving and Grooving

Presenter: Ryan Valdez (he/him)

Workshop Track: Personal Development, Recreational/Recess

Workshop Description: Teaching is both an art and a science. The passage of knowledge from one individual to another (or many others) is a wonderful thing. It gives us a chance to share our passions and hobbies with others, or allows future generations to learn from present and past generations. Teaching has to be done correctly and effectively though. This workshop aims to showcase a handful of methods you can use when teaching and coaching others around you – via a hiphop dance workshop! No dance experience is needed, just a positive and supportive attitude. So whether you’re a complete newbie, a dancer that wants to dance with others, or just someone that wants to take a break from all the sitting, join in for a bit of moving and grooving plus a little bit of learning along the way!

About Ryan: Ryan is a native Houstonian and Filipino-American. He joined the University of Houston VSA as a sophomore, continuing his involvement throughout his college career and eventually becoming President. He later became involved with UVSA South and UNAVSA, taking several leadership roles in both organizations. He also previously served as a medic in Texas Air National Guard while also working at a local board game cafe. Today, he works in Healthcare Administration at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Ryan’s hobbies include board games, Steam PC games, Disney-Pixar and MCU movies, 3D printing, and being with friends.

Workshop 11

Glowup Certification (Accredited)

Presenter: Kelly Tran (she/her)

Workshop Track: Personal Development

Workshop Description: In this day and age, the term “glow up” takes our generation by storm to indicate a positive personal transformation typically notable by appearance and style, but we can also apply this definition to growth in confidence and maturity. This workshop will tackle the topic of practicing self-love in pursuit of finding your identity. We will look at factors that determine one’s glow-up: ambition, environment, and mindset. Attendees will get an opportunity to engage in some hands-on activities to connect them on the path to their ultimate glow-up as they break down factors that impact their self-image. The session will explore creating healthier goals to become more confident, and empower participants to reconstruct their lens of the world to best filter through the highs and lows of life.

About Kelly: Hailing from Western Canada, Kelly Tran joined UNAVSA at the age of 18 and became founder of her local VSA, Vietnamese Canadian League. Previously, she was Chair of the Human Rights Committee for VCCGV and advocated for human rights in Southeast Asia. With her extensive experience in the greater Vietnamese community, Kelly has built a strong foundation of values to serve in the space and uplift leaders to their fullest potential. Outside of VSA, Kelly is currently a full-time student while working in social media and healthcare. Like a typical gen-z, she loves TikTok, fluffy pets, and drinking iced coffees.

Workshop 12

The Science of Sleep

Presenter: VSAcademy

Workshop Track: Personal Development, Recreational/Recess

Workshop Description: We spend a third of our lives sleeping. The rest, for our minds and bodies, are essential to functioning on every level. But when we revisit the moments in our lives, we rarely hold onto the hours we spend unconscious as meaningful. However, they are crucial to our ability to remember. Without sleep, we would not be able to take the snapshots of our lives, and turn them into long-term memories. Facilitated by VSAcademy, attendees will learn the science behind sleep, as well as researched tips & tricks to ensure restful slumber.

About VSAcademy: VSAcademy Cabinet (VSA) exists to create and promote year-round online programming and learning resources that supplement programming from the annual Leadership Conference and One Day Seminars. VSAcademy’s main mission is to educate constituents with original content in the form of articles, videos, podcasts, etc., forming a centralized resource hub. At VSAcademy, we are all about the love of knowledge and delivering a beautiful learning experience. VSAcademy offers curated and created content targeted to the Vietnamese American & Canadian experience. We encourage our constituents to experience the world of knowledge through – videos, podcasts, playlists, articles, etc. Every production is about reinvention and pushing boundaries – I guess you could say it’s knowledge done a little differently.

Workshop 13

Sex & Intimacy: Using Affirmative Consent for an Empowered Approach

Presenter: Dr. Thu-Mai Nguyen (she/her)

Workshop Track: Personal Development

Workshop Description: In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, we’re acutely aware of the harms of sexual harassment and assault on a macro level and when it makes the headlines. However, on a day to day basis, societal norms do not regularly compel us to ask how sex and intimacy in our individual lives are built on preconceived notions that feed the greater issues leading to harm and harassment. Using a model of affirmative consent and questioning the heteronormative standards we’ve been conditioned to absorb, this session aims to look at how we can create a culture of mutually respectful relationships on the forefront. Come on in and let’s talk about how to have empowering, consensual intimate relations in the ways meaningful to us.

About Thu-Mai: Thu-Mai (or Mai as her friends call her) is an alum of UH VSA, UVSA South, and UNAVSA in which she participated in multiple leadership roles from 2012-2020. She is currently a Physical Therapist and local activist in the Houston area AAPI community. Her passions include encouraging civic engagement in the youth demographic, environmental sustainability, and dismantling hyper-capitalistic oppressive work structures. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Amplify Asian America (a civic based spinoff from UNAVSA), OCA – Greater Houston, and volunteers with Asian American Democrats of Texas Houston chapter.

Workshop 14

Unraveling ABG Culture

Presenters: An Vo (they/them) & Natalie Phan (she/her)

Workshop Track: Vietnamese Culture & Identity

Workshop Description: The term “ABG” has a negative-effect on the Vietnamese/Vietnamese-American community because it creates a false sense of community with those who associate with the term, it is also harmful to those who get called an ABG without identifying with the term. The main takeaway should be the history and background of the term. Hopefully, it will limit the term’s use and help people realize that the use of the term holds more weight that they are allowing to let on. Understanding the history, stereotypes, and its uses is what I want attendees to take away from this workshop. To understand one’s identity, it is important to understand where it stems from. Words and terms don’t just pop up from no where, knowledge of what the term really means and how it is applied helps shape one’s understanding of the identity. How other people observe you and label you often comes from ill-will. With the term ABG, many people claim this “identity” without understanding the weight of where it came from and what it truly means. Before embracing one’s true identity, it is important to understand all parts of the term. The term “ABG” ties in a multitude of identities into one so breaking them up will help understand how they are all interconnected. The current culture of ABG also encompasses different identities like those who are femme-presenting, and it also takes from black-culture. Ideally, this workshop will open up the talk of how our identity ties into other peoples’.

Workshop 14

Unraveling ABG Culture

Presenters: An Vo (they/them) & Natalie Phan (she/her)

About An: An Vo (they/them) is originally from Oakland, CA. They are the founder of the Vietnamese Student Association at San Francisco State University ,where they graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology (Exercise and Sports Medicine). An works with the local community organizations in the Bay Area to amplify Asian and Asian-American voices. After serving on SFSU and NorCal Executive board, they have been able to connect and serve many different positions within the VSA space; most notably: UNAVSA Community Safety Director, Family Leader for Midwest, Southeast, and UNAVSA, and NorCal Summit Family Programming Director. 

About Natalie: Natalie is the current president of NorCal UVSA but has been in the space for a very long time… Currently she is in a post bach program to get her license to work in a clinical lab as a scientist. In her free time, she likes to read about and engage in AA discourse on social media.

Workshop 15

Mindset Matters / De-Triggering Conversations

Presenter: Lyn Phan (she/her) & Vivien Bui (she/her)

Workshop Track: Civic Engagement & Contemporary Issues, Vietnamese Culture & Identity

Workshop Description: Right now, the Vietnamese global community is sitting at an interesting point in history. If one were to take a snapshot of our current social landscape, it would appear to be more polarized and divided than ever before — geographically, politically, inter-generationally. In Mindset Matters/De-Triggering Conversations, our goal is to help participants identify triggering topics present in the Vietnamese community and leave with tools that can help develop more intentionality when it comes to engaging in conversations that can be highly emotional. We hope to explore the political history of the Vietnamese diaspora to understand how these rifts originated in order to get us to our potential future– the other side of more effective and compassionate communication across our differences.

Workshop 15

Mindset Matters / De-Triggering Conversations

Presenter: Lyn Phan (she/her) & Vivien Bui (she/her)

About Lyn: Lyn has always been interested in narratives and what representation means for the diasporic Vietnamese community. During her time in college at UC Irvine, she led research and conducted interviews with community leaders in the Orange County region to develop an audiovisual archive that has since been used in various museum exhibitions on post-war migration. Since then, she’s taught creative writing to young students exploring their cultural identity and worked with Loa on producing podcast stories that reflect the needs of the Vietnamese perspective. Lyn continues her curiosity by trying to better understand the complications of sustainable community organizing and hopes to work toward building solutions that encourage interdisciplinary work. 

About Vivien: Vivien Bui is a writer and marketing professional based in the Bay Area. A UVSA-Midwest and UNAVSA alum, she has long been deeply invested in community building within the Vietnamese diaspora. Now, she serves as ViTAM’s Comms Lead, creating space for difficult conversations in the global Vietnamese community, as well as founder and co-host for Wicked Talented Friends, a local community show in the Bay Area promoting creative expression.

Workshop 16

Artistry from Ancestry

Presenter: Hoang An “Em” Nguyen (he/him)

Workshop Track: Vietnamese Culture & Identity

Workshop Description: Art, in any medium, is a powerful form of creative expression that allows individuals to explore the inner narratives; helping us to process and bring meaning to our experiences. As a means of self-expression, we can channel this medium into a physical manifestation of ourselves, and our story. In this workshop, attendees will be creating art that is a reflection of their narratives while weaving in aspects of their family’s history. We will learn about the history of the Vietnamese diaspora and how we continue to be the masterpiece of our ancestors. Together, we will paint a mural of our heritage.

About Em: Hoang An “Em” Nguyen is the current internal vice president of UNAVSA. Em is based in Houston, TX where he serves as a patient care technician. Em graduated in 2017 from the University of Houston and is continuing his education in healthcare. He is passionate cultivating leaders and serving his communities. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, music, gaming, and the outdoors.

Workshop 17

Vietnamese American Life, Loss, Legacy, and Love

Presenter: Philip Nguyen (he/him)

Workshop Track: Vietnamese Culture & Identity

Workshop Description: Part of joining VSA, being a part of the diasporic Vietnamese community, growing up in a Vietnamese family, or learning about Vietnamese people, is the shared realization that we experience intergenerational, or inherited, trauma. Oftentimes, this trauma hurts, and other times, this trauma reminds us that food can be a language of love, especially when there isn’t a language of love that translates very well from English to Vietnamese, and vice versa. “”Con yêu mẹ”” (I love you, mom) doesn’t make sense in Vietnamese the same way that con thương mẹ (I love you, mom) is nearly impossible to translate into English. 

This workshop will be tender, yet firm, and directed towards your personal and professional growth as a part of the diasporic Vietnamese community.

This workshop aims to provide attendees with, and guide you through, tools and resources rooted in personal, experiential, and collective knowledge to: 1) reflect upon personal experiences to better understand and recognize the historical origins of trauma related to the diasporic Vietnamese experience, 2) lay the foundation for bilingual and bicultural bridge-building between and across generational differences, and 3) open spaces for community healing by articulating our own languages of care and love.

Workshop 17

Vietnamese American Life, Loss, Legacy, and Love

Presenter: Philip Nguyen (he/him)

About Philip: Philip Nguyễn is the Executive Director of the Vietnamese American Roundtable (VAR). After graduating from UC Berkeley with B.A. degrees in Ethnic Studies and Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, he earned his M.A. degree in Asian American Studies from the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, where he teaches courses on Vietnamese American Literature and the History of the Vietnamese in the US. He has been involved with community-based organizations dedicated to amplifying and advocating for Asian American, Southeast Asian American, and Vietnamese American voices to the forefront through his involvement with the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization, and UNAVSA.

Questions? Get in Touch.

Have questions about the conference experience that we didn’t covered? Drop our Conference team a message below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.