We strive to host an inspiring conference that encourages individuals to embrace the unexpected opportunities that can stimulate personal and professional growth and empower them to become passionate leaders.
Plot Twist (noun): an unexpected development in a book, film, television program, etc. When there is an unexpected turn in events that changes the direction of the story, the protagonist must adapt quickly in order to reach their goal. With Plot Twist as the theme, the conference will push attendees to think about their own plot twists in their life-- choices, obstacles, or uncontrollable factors that deter one from their goal--and how they grow from obstacles.
Based off a story format, the workshops offered in this conference will be split into 3 chapters: Preface, Exposition, and Rising Action. They respectively represent identity and culture, passions and involvement, and growth and transformation through embracing the unexpected in the attendee’s story.
Dawen is a Taiwanese American singer and songwriter based in Taipei, Taiwan. Winner of Kollaboration Acoustic 4, Dawen rose in fame for his Chinese translations of famous popular songs, such as Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way,” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” on Youtube. Known for his socio-politically conscious music, Dawen’s songs are often used in Asian American Studies departments all over universities across the US. As a Taiwanese-American who has worked in both communities and rose to fame through non-traditional means online through YouTube, Dawen captures many of the values we hope to inspire in attendees. Dawen signed under Universal Music Taiwan in 2012 and released his first album 「你好」. His single “Beautiful” is the theme song to current Taiwanese drama “Déjà Vu”.
Julia is an illustrator working out of Chicago for most of the year and Taipei over the winter. Julia’s notable clients include the New York Times, Universal Music Group, Capitol Records, Little Brown and Co., Simon & Schuster, American Greetings, State Farm, Quarry Publishing, JoAnn’s Fabrics, the Home Shopping Network, and Tiny Prints. In addition to freelancing, she teaches Illustration HIstory at Columbia College Chicago in the Art + Design department, is a staff artist for an urban planner working on Literary Lots, and is one of four in a speciality paper goods company called The Nimbus Factory.
Shane Carlin is the Director of Development for Student Life and Scholarships at Northwestern University. He was recently the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Advancement at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. He is a Korean American adoptee where he grewup in northern Kentucky. Carlin earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications from the University of Kentucky and his Master of Science in College Student Personnel from Miami University. Carlin has worked as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), as well as in Residence Life and Housing at Miami, Northwestern, and Capital Universities.
Ho Chie Tsai is the creator of TaiwaneseAmerican.org, a website dedicated to connecting and highlighting the new generation of Taiwanese Americans. He has spent most of his life working to build organizations and networks that serve the Asian and Taiwanese American communities. A popular speaker among youth audiences, his personal mission is to inspire young people to discover their values and passions so that they can make a positive impact in this world. He is currently a board member of the Taiwanese American Foundation, an organizer of the North American Taiwanese Medical Association 2G, and founder of Taiwanese American Professionals in San Francisco. Professionally, Ho Chie is a boardcertified pediatrician on staff at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center of Oakland, which serves an ethnically diverse and mostly underprivileged patient population.
John D. Lin is a national award winning professor, recognized by the National Communication Association, for inspiring and transforming students into young professionals through public speaking. He was recognized as Professor of the Year by St. John's University, New York, where he serves as an Instructor of the Rhetoric, Communication and Theatre Department. He specializes in teaching the university core Public Speaking course, in addition to teaching Advanced Public Speaking, Persuasion, and Rhetoric of Popular Culture.
Dr. Leo Chan currently serves as the Technology R&D Manager at Nexcelom Bioscience LLC, Lawrence, MA. His work involves in the development of image cytometry intrument and applications, as well as technical marketing directors. He has also started TofuKungFu, a small T-Shirt business that promotes Taiwanese American culture and helps student organizations in T-Shirt production. He continues to pursue future entrepreneurship potential in the Boston Area. He isa member of the American Association of Cancer Research, American Aoosication of Immunologist, and American SOciety for Brewing Chemist, and Master Brewers Association of the Americas. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2000-2008)
TASC Special Ops, one of the premiere Chinese Yo-Yo teams in the nation, is part of the Taiwanese American Student Club at UIUC. Special Ops is a performance team consisting of seven members that focuses its performances on combining traditional and modern elements together to showcase the Chinese Yo-Yo as an art form of its own.
Eric is currently finishing up his last year of law school at the University of Illinois, and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012. He acts as Social Media Director of Taiwanese-American.org, and in the ITASA world, served as the 2011-12 National Public Relations Director. He's presented at various student conferences/workshops in the past and is thrilled to be back at ITASA Midwest.
Author Julie Wu has crafted a beautiful story in her debut novel The Third Son. It's a compelling tale of a boy named Saburo set against the backdrop of occupied Taiwan and America at the dawn of the space age. After graduating from Harvard with a B.A. in literature, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Julie Wu receieved an M.D. at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has received a writing grant from the Vermont Studio Center and is the recipient of a 2012 Massachuseets Cultural Council fellowship.
Simon Tam is an award-winning musician, best-selling author, entreprenuer, and social justice activist. Simon is best known as the founter and bassist of The SLants, the world's first and only all-ASian American dance rock band. His approach to activism through the arts has been highlighted in thousands of media features across 82 countries, including: BBC World News, NPR, TIME Magazine, MTV, CBS, and the Wall Street Journal. Since 2000, he has been a performer, presenter, and keynote at events and organizations such as SXSW, Comic-Con, The Department of Defense, Stanford University, PennLaw, UC Berkeley, Rotary International, the National Association for Campus Activities, and over 1,200 others across North America, Europe, and Asia.
There are three options for destination to get to the conference: O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), or University of Illinois Willard Airport (CMI). University of Illinois Willard Airport is the closest airport to campus. If you chose to take O’Hare or Midway, there are a number of buses and shuttles to take to get to campus. You may book tickets from Peoria Charter Coach Company or Suburban Express. You should choose whichever airport you are coming from as your departure city and for your destination, you may pick any except for Amtrak Illinois Terminal. Amtrak Illinois Terminal is considered off campus and to get on campus, you would need to take a bus which will require paying $1. Any other destinations that reads UIUC or Champaign will get you on campus.
If coming from the North: From your departure city, please find a highway that will lead to Interstate 57 and head south towards Memphis. Exit on 237A
If coming from the South: From your departure city, please find a highway that will lead to Interstate 57 and head south towards Chicago. Exit on 237A
You can take the Greyhound or Amtrak to get Champaign. However when you arrive, you will be at Amtrak Illinois Terminal and will need to pay $1 for bus fare to get on campus.
1401 West Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 333-1241
When reserving, ask for ITASA room block and you will get the UIUC rates. If you do not ask for ITASA room block, you won’t get the discount. Make sure to reserve before March 2 to get the discount