About 15 students from BranchOut! attended the 2022 United Chinese American (UCA) Convention in DC, which took place at the Omni Shoreham Hotel from July 14-16. The convention attracted 600+ attendees from 40+ states, which allowed our students to branch out and interact with people from a wide range of backgrounds. Convention attendees learned about leadership, networking, diplomacy, and political affairs from various community leaders.
BranchOut! students were especially glad to be meeting AAPI leaders, such as congresswoman Judy Chu and Grace Meng, where issues and concerns for the AAPI community were voiced.
The convention answers the questions of "Why should we give back to the community?" and "Why is AAPI representation important?" according to Elaine Liu, an active member and a dedicated student leader of BranchOut! for the past 3 years. She thought the panels address the “so what?” in why we should engage civically well.
Attendees practiced their communication skills by speaking with public figures, leading youth organization showcases, and participating in enrichment opportunities. Through BranchOut!’s on-stage presentation and poster display, convention attendees were introduced to the various programs that BranchOut! offers. Branchout! was recognized as a top youth program in the country by UCA and even received a Certificate of Achievement.
(See us in action by clicking on the clip above)
Ximing Luo is a student leader of BranchOut!’s Howard County Chapter and took the lead to organize our presentations at the event. She not only worked on the internal communication for the BranchOut! team, but also communicated with the organizer and prepared for our on-stage as well as the showcase presentations. Ximing shares excitedly, “The UCA Convention is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain new insights into the AAPI community, broaden their perspectives, and engage with others in a professional environment. It is incredible to see what youth from all around the country are accomplishing, and it's inspiring to hear the stories of the impact people are creating in their communities.”
We encourage all students to attend the next convention as people found this experience meaningful. See what other students are saying about the convention.
“The UCA conference in Washington DC was a uniquely beneficial experience, providing me with insight into current social efforts and our Chinese community. The conference not only expanded my personal perspective of the possibilities and impacts that can be created through action, but it also seemingly united Chinese youth throughout the nation.” - David Liu, 12th grader, Glenelg High School
“This was one of the first times that I have attended such a big convention, and everything just amazed me. I was so grateful to everyone who was fighting for the AAPI community, and how united all the attendees were. This experience educated me on diplomacy and tact, allowing me to expand my knowledge in such areas. It was such a pleasure to meet with famous speakers, such as Judy Chu, U.S. representative for California's 27th congressional district since 2013. I would really encourage more youths to attend in the future.” Elizabeth Li, 10th grader, Oakton High School
“I overall thought that the UCA convention was a great experience, it exposed me to a new environment in which I have never been in before, a professional community in which people connect and work together on common interests and activities. I am grateful for being able to experience the convention for the first time this year!” - Josh Soong, 11th grader, River Hill High School
“I would really recommend going to this event next year to myself and to other members in the future because it was a great experience, you got to learn and talk to very important people such as leaders in STEM and politics. It was also a really fun experience as well, and there were many things to explore and learn about. I would really recommend the UCA convention to other members!” - Kevin Xue, 10th grader, Chantilly High School
“During the showcase, mentors introduced BranchOut! to interested students and parents and were able to nurture their communication and presentation skills. In addition, they were able to walk around to explore other booths which featured various programs run by other Chinese American students. Our mentors got the opportunity to meet other teens from all around the United States and learn about their life experiences and passions.” - Victoria Wang, 12th grader, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
We want to thank our BranchOut! mentors for their dedication and contribution to making our experience at UCA a successful and meaningful one.
Aaron Zhong, 9th grader, River Hill High School
Andrew Zhong, Freshman, Brown University
Aiden Zhang, 10th grader, River Hill High School
David Liu, 12th grader, Glenelg High School
David Liu, 10th grader, Episcopal High School
Elaine Liu, 12th grader, McLean High School
Elizabeth Li, 10th grader, Oakton High School
Erin Li, Freshman, University of Maryland
Gabrielle Wang, 11th grader, McLean High School - Onstage presenter
Josh Soong, 11th grader, River Hill High School - Onstage presenter
Katherine (K) Bian, 11th grader, McLean High School
Kevin Xue, 10th grader, Chantilly High School
Teresa Huang, 12th grader, Oakton High School
Victoria Wang, 12th grader, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Ximing Luo, 12th grader, Centennial High School