Asian Pacific American Labor Studies
Asian American Studies 197B; class ticket number: 121-856-200
Mondays, 4:00 – 6:50 p.m.
Bunche 2168


Asian American Studies 197B
Spring Quarter 2002

Final Community Internship Reports
Union Leadership School by Teresa Nguyen

Conclusively, working jointly with Kathleen Yasuda to put together the very first Asian American Leadership School at the UCLA Labor Center was a very rewarding and great learning experience for me. Since starting at UCLA in 1999, I have been exposed to the traditional settings of learning such as lectures and group discussions. I was not familiar with learning as an intern or in a working situation. Working with Kathleen definitely opened my eyes to learning while in the workplace. Although administrative duties or calling participants may not seem like very exciting tasks, they are important components of making an event happen. I learned that contacts or networking with other colleagues is extremely important in putting together an event that would ultimately benefit the community. For example, Kathleen and Kent were able to put together a leadership school taught by prominent leaders in unions such as HERE, SEIU, and APALA. The leadership school was possible because Kathleen and Kent were acquainted with people who were potential participants or teachers in labor unions. They were able to transform UCLA into a setting that would empower people who are not educated or wealthy.

Even though UCLA may be viewed by others as an affluent, prestigious college, the university is a valuable resource for the community if it is lead by people such as Kent Wong or Kathleen Yasuda.

Initially, when I started with the internship, I did not know what duties are tasks I was expected to complete. I was worried that it would be difficult to help Kathleen in putting together the leadership school because all my correspondence with her was mainly via email. Although the work Kathleen wanted me to complete was slow at first, I learned a great deal by the end of my internship with her. In the beginning, Kathleen helped me understand exactly what type of event we were putting together and how I would be able to help her. I started out with making phone calls to various labor unions to make sure they turned in their applications to attend this school by the deadline. Although this task was not overly difficult, it would have been very difficult for Kathleen to make calls all the way from Italy. That was when I realized my help was a valuable resource for Kathleen. Even though a person might have a plan or an idea for a certain event, the event will not be possible without the help of others. I believe this is a very important concept I learned from working for the leadership school.

When Kathleen was finally in Los Angeles, we were able to meet with Kent and another intern, Jenny Cho. I thought that the meetings were very effective and really clarified all the questions I had about the leadership school. We were able to divide up the work and delegate different people for various tasks. After these meetings, I had a better understanding on how an event is put together and how a group effort makes a big job possible.

In the next couple of weeks, I mainly completed administrative duties such as copying/ mailings or putting together folders for participants and teachers. I also had an opportunity to deal with public relations such as making media contacts, putting together press kits and setting up for a press conference. Since in the future I would like to work in the public relations field, this was a very important experience for me.

Regretfully, we had very little time to organize a more substantial press conference by making more press contact calls and faxing out press releases to local media. Initially, we had wanted to contact media in all of California, particularly in Southern California, Orange County, and even San Francisco, but we only had just enough time to contact the media in Los Angeles and Orange County. But in the end, we had decent media coverage, with about 3 delegates from radio and television stations.

Since this was the very first Leadership School, I consider this event to be very successful. I believe with time, we would be able to built subsequent leadership schools that embody more important information that participants can bring back to their labor unions. I consider this experience with Kathleen and the UCLA Labor Center to be very pleasant and rewarding and hope that my future internships will be as fun and informative.







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