Celebrating the contributions of the Asian community this Asian Heritage Month

May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, a time of year to reflect on the remarkable contributions made by the Asian community. Now more than ever, it’s important to celebrate and acknowledge the positive impact and outstanding contributions that Canadians of Asian heritage have made, including those of our BCIT alumni, students, and instructors. These are a few examples of how Asian Canadians from the BCIT community have made our country a more vibrant, inclusive, and compassionate society.

Carol Lee with long dark hair smiles to camera in floral suit1) CEO and BCIT alumna Carol Lee advocates for the revitalization of Chinatown

Carol Lee, CEO of Linacare Cosmetherapy and Chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, is the most recent recipient of a BCIT Honorary Doctorate of Technology. Her connection to her roots and passion for building community drive her strong commitment to the revitalization of Vancouver’s Chinatown. This commitment is also demonstrated in her active work as Chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee and Honorary Patron of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum.

Pawan Varraich in scrubs and mask poses in hospital 2) Nursing alumnus-turned-instructor Pawan Varraich offers support as frontline healthcare worker

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, frontline workers were working around the clock. BCIT Bachelor of Nursing Instructor and Emergency Specialty Nursing alumnus Pawan Varaich picked up extra shifts as an ER nurse at Surrey Memorial Hospital. His selfless efforts caught the attention of a Global BC segment sharing the appreciation for Pawan’s outstanding contribution.

Michelle Wan smiles in glasses and a blazer 3) Computing alumna Michelle Wan develops a prototype app that could save lives

While a BCIT student, alumna Michelle Wan developed and presented a prototype app at a national nursing conference that could change the future of healthcare. The idea of the Alexa app is to use voice technology to access patient records, freeing up nurses to attend to patients, potentially saving lives. The revolutionary app has since captured the attention of healthcare professionals and the media nationwide.

Mark Wong smiles in suit holding Emmy award in front of Game of Thrones poster4) Digital Arts instructor Mark Wong animates blockbuster films

Mark Wong, BCIT instructor and Lead Animator at Scanline VFX, has worked on some of the most memorable productions in recent history. Some examples include Game of Thrones, Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Godzilla vs Kong. His work on Season 8 of Game of Thrones—bringing to life a fire-breathing dragon flying over King’s Landing— helped the smash hit fantasy show earn an Emmy award for Outstanding Visual Effects.

5)Marketing alumnus and novelist Eddy Boudel Tan advocates for representation in the arts

Eddy Boudel Tan smiling in striped t-shirt against backdrop of greenerySomething was missing from the TV shows and movies Eddy Boudel Tan grew up with: people who looked like him.

“Growing up in the ‘90s as a queer Asian-Canadian boy, with parents that immigrated to Canada, I didn’t see people like me on the screen much,” says the BCIT alumnus.

A self-described ‘drama kid,’ Eddy was drawn to the arts from a young age, acting in school plays and filling the pages of his Hilroy notebooks with illustrated short stories.

Through writing and reading, he says he recognized that the arts should reflect the diverse world around him, allowing readers to empathize with characters and stories different than their own. This passion to celebrate diversity and connect humanity was the catalyst for Eddy’s writing career.

6) BCIT student recognized as one of the top architecture and design students

Kelly Wu WuMetropolis Magazine named BCIT Interior Design student Kelly Wu Wu in its The Future100 list. The Future100 recognizes the most talented young designers graduating from North America’s architecture and design schools each year. Recipients not only proposed beautiful, well-designed spaces or buildings of all types but also pushed the discourse forward with an emphasis on community, inclusivity, and sustainability. As a recipient of The Future100, Kelly is applauded for her careful detailed schemes for interiors. She is constantly on the hunt for new amenities and experiences that can help connect people with one another in order to build community.

Matt Chong smiles in front of tea tasting display7) Tea expert and alumnus Matt Chong brings ancient Chinese tea ceremony to a modern world

Chong Tea Company Founder and BCIT alumnus Matt Chong shares traditional Chinese tea knowledge, passed down from his family and learned through years of studying, through his online virtual tea house. A Vancouverite of Chinese decent, he shares that browsing the city’s tea shops gave him not only a deeper look into the history of tea, but also a meaningful way to reconnect with his culture.

Reza Bafandeh smiles in reflector vest in a wearhouse8) FoodX Vice President and alumnus Reza Bafandeh impacts global sustainability

Vice President of Supply Chain, FoodX Technologies and BCIT alumnus Reza Bafandeh is transforming how customers and businesses order groceries. Reza was an instrumental part of the first full design of the warehousing systems. He worked with the team to build FoodX’s scalable eGrocery Management Solution (eGMS) platform and disrupt the grocery delivery space. The hope is to deliver on the company’s mission to use the power of business innovation to solve social and environmental problems.

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