Congratulations to the Trailblazer Finalists!

12.31.13 - Trailblazer Award with Logo ECAASU would like to recognize the four finalists for the 2014 Trailblazer Award. There were many qualified applicants and narrowing them down to just four was a challenging task. Thank you to all of those who nominated and applied! Pictured below are the 2014 Trailblazer Award finalists.

Tarika Dalmia Freshman, University of Georgia

My name is Tarika Dalmia and I am from Alpharetta, GA. I am a first-year student at the University of Georgia, and I plan to fulfill a double major in Biology and Sociology. After graduating, I plan to attend medical school and thereafter specialize in pediatric oncology. I would also like to work for the Fulton County Court System and more specifically, as a family and child social worker. I believe that my dedication to helping others will allow me to be an effective social worker and I hope to help those in the criminal justice system that are in need of advice, guidance, or encouragement. I am the youngest of three children, with an older brother currently studying medicine and an older sister who has studied and finished law. My parents were both born and raised in India but moved to America as young adults in search of a better education and way of life. I enjoy being involved in organizations and activities that represent the Indian culture. On campus, I am active in the Indian Cultural Exchange, an organization that strives to bring the Indian community and others together through various cultural, social, and service events. Moreover, I also learn and play the Tabla, an Indian classical percussion instrument, and I try to take part in events and activities that allow me to share the beauty of the instrument with others. I hope to continue inspiring and empowering others to become involved in their local communities as well as motivating people to chase after their dreams.


Junior, Georgetown University

I am a Vietnamese-American born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I am a first generation college student and the youngest of four children. I am a Junior at Georgetown University majoring in Human Science with a Premed concentration and I hope to attend medical school. I am the President of the Georgetown’s Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), a brother of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and I conduct research on genome instability. VSA has been something that I unexpectedly became very committed to. I feel that it is very important to aid not only my fellow Vietnamese brothers, but my brothers in the AAPI and other minority communities (including different skin colors, religious background, sexual preference, socioeconomic background, disabilities, etc.) to advance and rise through disparity. VSA has become my vehicle to construct bridges between these groups and show that we share common threads.

Additionally, I have become invested in the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access at Georgetown, specifically their Community Scholars Program. I participated in the program, which was geared towards helping “disadvantaged” students transition into Georgetown. Now, I try to make myself available to these students, hopefully serving to be their mentor and guideline while they navigate their journey through Georgetown.

I see so many disparities placed onto minorities - not only at Georgetown, but everywhere. It is so disheartening, but it is something that I fight against. It is an issue that I see as important and I hope that others can see that as well.

Kristina Joyas Graduate Student, Columbia University

Kristina Kalaw Joyas is a New York City native of Filipina descent who has been involved with community organizing for over 10 years. She is currently the founder and Executive Director of LEGACY (Leadership Education, Guidance, And Critical thinking for the Youth). Her work is focused around mentoring student leaders and helps them gain the skill sets necessary for running efficient and ethical community organizations. LEGACY promotes collaborative efforts and envisions its leaders to work towards large scale social movements to tackle issues that specifically affect their communities. Kristina has a particular interest in working with smaller AAPI communities, seeing if the model being developed can be duplicated for groups that lack the resources to sustain effective leadership.

Kristina is currently a Grant-Making Fellow at the JCRC/Cause-NY The Queens Fellowship and working towards a degree in Fundraising Management at Columbia University, She holds a B.A. in Economics, with a minor in Studio Art from Stony Brook University and has held professional internships for the Asian and Asian American Studies Program in the Charles B. Wang Center at and the Institute of International Legal Studies at the University of the Philippines, College of Law. She is an active sister of AF3IRM promoting education and social activism on issues pertaining to transnational women.

Aside from school, her fellowship program, and LEGACY Kristina is a single mother raising her strikingly intelligent and beautiful 2 year old daughter named Katerina Valentine. They live together in Queens, NY.

Kim Ty Soun Senior, UMass Boston

Kim Soun Ty is a second generation Cambodian American woman of refugee parents from Dorchester, Massachusetts. She is currently a fourth year student at the University of Massachusetts Boston studying Asian American Studies and Sociology. Through the Asian American Studies courses and her past experiences as an urban youth growing up in Dorchester, she has been able to apply what she has learned to her work with urban Chinese American and Cambodian American youths. The struggles Kim and her family have faced growing up as a daughter of refugee parents has shown her the importance of higher education, especially for Cambodian Americans. Kim hopes to continue her education and to become an ethnic studies professor in the future, impacting Asian American students to continue to help the growth and development of Asian American communities.