Our Staff

Sung Yeon ChoimorrowExecutive DirectorSung Yeon USOW headshot
Pronouns: she/her

Sung Yeon leads the overall strategic direction and sustainability of the organization as well as serves as NAPAWF’s main spokesperson.

Sung Yeon first joined NAPAWF as the National Field Director, brought on to develop a robust grassroots organizing strategy for NAPAWF.

Before working at NAPAWF, Sung Yeon was the Director of Organizing Organizing at Interfaith Worker Justice leading collaborative work with various partner organizations, unions and faith communities on worker organizing and worker justice public policy. She also provided support to Interfaith Groups and Worker Centers across the country through providing technical assistance. Prior to IWJ, Sung Yeon was a Community Organizer at Asian American Institute where she helped organize the pan-Asian American community in Chicago to work together on presidential and mayoral elections, immigration reform, the state budget, and redistricting.

Sung Yeon was born in South Korea and spent her childhood in Singapore and India. Sung Yeon is a first generation immigrant who came to the U.S. to study Political Science and Urban Studies at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL and earned an M.Div from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Sung Yeon is a Ordained Minister in the Presbyterian Church(U.S.A.). Sung Yeon is a board member of Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, a Korean American Immigrant Rights organization in Chicago.

 


fellowRoula AbiSamraGeorgia Organizer
Pronouns: she/her

Roula supports NAPAWF’s AAPI community members in Georgia in movement-building, growing their leadership, and organizing for change. Raised in New Orleans and based in Atlanta, Roula is passionate about sustaining Southern change-makers by strengthening the fellowship and resources we need right here at home. She has made her career in public health and reproductive justice, focused especially on improving the conditions in which people experience abortion, through direct service, advocacy, research, and culture change. She currently serves as board chair of Access Reproductive Care – Southeast, manages the Gum Log Retreat for Southern activists, and is part of a CoreAlign Innovation Lab project to optimize the workplace for human beings.


Ashley

Ashley Moy-Wooten, National Field Director
Pronouns: she/her

Ashley Moy-Wooten has been organizing grassroots immigrant leadership in communities across the Midwest and Illinois suburbs for ten years. She worked for many years with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) as a Suburban Organizer and then the Director of their 2010 Statewide GOTV campaign in which they successfully registered over 10,000 new voters across Illinois. She also served as the Midwest Regional Organizer with the Center for Community Change (CCC) in 2013, where she developed and managed partnerships in six Midwestern states to pass immigration reform legislation through the Senate. She most recently served as the Director of Organizing for a grassroots community organization (P.A.S.O.) where she spearheaded the development of their education and Black-Brown solidarity organizing.

Ashley is also the proud product of a single hustler immigrant Mom, and a family of restaurant workers. Her family is from Taishan, China. Her experience growing up in Chicago and its public schools as a Mixed Asian young woman, seeing her family struggle and sacrifice for her & her brother, guides her work and dedication daily. She is a new Mom, cis-gendered and goes by she, her, & hers.



Jaclyn Dean, 
Public Policy Associate
Pronouns: she/her

Jaclyn was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and is the proud daughter of Taiwanese immigrants. She earned her BA in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities from Rice University. She worked as a campaign staffer on a state representative campaign in Houston through Annie’s List, which helps elect progressive, pro-choice women to office in Texas. She then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, where she ran after-school programs focused on leadership and life skills with adolescent girls in her village. Jaclyn holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government specializing in gender, human rights, and international and global affairs. During graduate school, she helped lead the Gender Policy Union and volunteered with the Everywoman Everywhere Coalition, a global grassroots movement that aims to end violence against women. She also interned with the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), where she tracked US foreign policy on sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide.


VimalaVimala Phongsavanh, Public Policy Director
Pronouns: She/Her

Vimala is the proud daughter of Laotian refugees; and was born, raised, and educated in rebellious Rhode Island. She is an organizer, optimist, and rabble-rouser.

Previously, Vimala served at Common Cause Rhode Island organizing successful legislative campaigns for Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) and ethics reform. She was also a policy consultant for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) and led a successful campaign for the All Students Count Act in Rhode Island.

Additionally, she has served at the Center for Southeast Asians, NeighborWorks Blackstone Valley, and as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Asian Community Development Corporation. She is a founding board member of New Leaders Council Rhode Island, and the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE).

Vimala was the first Lao American elected to a school committee in the country and served as the Woonsocket school committee’s chairwoman. She holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Providence College.

Her mission is to empower and organize communities to recognize and exercise their own political power through education and civic engagement strategies that embrace democracy, system level transformations, racial equity and social justice.



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Laura Mariko Cheifetz, Deputy Director of Systems & Sustainability
Pronouns: She/Her

Before coming to NAPAWF, Laura was Vice President of Church and Public Relations at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) in Louisville, KY. She helped provide strategic leadership in publishing, edited a quarterly devotional with a circulation of over 80,000, engaged with regional and national church bodies on behalf of PPC, and served as a spokesperson for the organization.Prior to PPC, Laura served as Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Forum for Theological Exploration (formerly the Fund for Theological Education) in Atlanta, GA, working with new pastors and partner institutions and organizations committed to developing the next generation of Christian leadership. Before that, she was director of the Common Ground Project (formerly the Asian American Discipleship for Vocational Exploration, Nurture, and Transformation Project, or AADVENT Project), expanding a program for Asian Pacific American young adult Christians and pastors to include Latinx and black/African American young adults and pastors in engaging vocational discernment and mentoring for the next generation of diverse Christian leadership.Laura is multiracial Asian American of Japanese and white Jewish descent. She was the fourth generation of her family to be born in California. She grew up in eastern Oregon and western Washington. Laura has a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish from Western Washington University, an M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary, and an MBA from North Park University. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and serves on the Churchwide Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Women, the Strategy Team of NEXT Church, the Board of the Covenant Network, and the Steering Committee of the Jane Spahr Reconciliation Initiative at San Francisco Theological Seminary.
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Nish John, Finance and Operations Associate 

Pronouns: She/Her

Nish John, originally of Freeport, Illinois, studied International Relations with a concentration in Human Rights at The University of Iowa.  Prior to NAPAWF, she spent her time working as a Development Coordinator & Grant Writer at Mount Ararat Community Activity Center (MACAC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nish was an intern at the University of Iowa’s Center for Human Rights where she helped plan Refugee Relief Month and organized a reusable feminine hygiene product initiative that was then sent to Europe. She also spent her undergraduate years serving time as a member of Amnesty International’s Iowa Chapter, Students for Human Rights, Indian Student Alliance and as a cultural committee member for her school’s Campus Activities Board.

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Abigail_VillegasAbigail Villegas, Administrative Assistant 
Pronouns: She/HerAbigail is a first-generation Mexican American woman. She is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice & Criminology with a minor in Information Systems from Loyola University Chicago. She is very passionate about education for all and immigration reform. In her spare time, she likes to bake, watch reality tv shows and spoil her younger siblings.

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Fiona Zhao, NYC Organizer 
Pronouns: She/Her

Fiona
 Zhao is a second generation Chinese American born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, New York and Irvine, California. She received her B.A. in Philosophy at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, with a main focus on political philosophy.  Prior to NAPAWF, she worked as the Civic Participation Associate at MinKwon Center in Flushing, Queens to coordinate the APA VOICE: Voting and Organizing to Increase Civic Engagement Coalition in New York City. Through her work at APA VOICE, she oversaw the largest pan Asian civic engagement coalition in New York City serving 18 member organizations by executing GOTV canvassing and phone banking campaigns, strategic planning, coalition building, voter registration, and advocacy for voter protection and reform. As an undergraduate, she was an intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia and Verizon Finance, and published a political philosophy paper on racism versus free speech. 
 
As a proud daughter of immigrant Chinese parents, she hopes to empower others in the same way her family empowered her to be fierce feminist unafraid to stand up, fight back.

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Jane Liu, Communications and Development Associate
Pronouns: She/Her

Jane Liu is a second generation Asian American and the daughter of Japanese and Taiwanese immigrants. Prior to joining NAPAWF, Jane was a partner at Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP, a public interest law firm in Washington, DC, where she spent eight years litigating public interest cases on behalf of individuals and classes of people who can not afford to pay usual attorneys’ fees. Her work consisted primarily of litigation of class actions in state and federal courts, including class actions on behalf of Medicaid recipients seeking to enforce their rights under the Constitution and federal Medicaid law and a class action on behalf of children with disabilities seeking to enforce their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Jane also worked on numerous appeals and has argued before the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She also represented individual Medicaid beneficiaries, primarily children with special needs, at administrative hearings to challenge denials of Medicaid benefits. Jane began her career as a public defender in Boston, representing indigent defendants charged with serious felonies.

Jane graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received a B.A. in Sociology from Princeton University. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts (inactive status) and before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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Jiyoon Song, Chicago Organizer
Pronouns: she/her

Jiyoon was born and raised in South Korea until she immigrated with her parents and younger brother to Chicago in 2003. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago until she attended Northwestern University, where she studied Communication Studies and Asian American Studies. At Northwestern she met amazing Asian American studies faculty members along with radical Asian American fellow students and started doing organizing work in various roles. She started a Crossing Borders local chapter on campus that focused on activism and spreading awareness of issues of North Korean refugees. This passion came naturally to Jiyoon, as she grew up hearing stories of her grandfather escaping North Korea as well as being surrounded by conversations on the dynamics between North and South Korea. Jiyoon’s activism on campus also included efforts to unite Asian American student organizations on campus in response to the lack of coalition and community among Asian American students that she saw and experienced. This resulted in a successful event titled “So Where are you REALLY from?”, where Asian American faculty members along with 15 Asian American student organizations on campus came together to bring 200 students for a panel and discussion.

Aside from such experiences of campus organizing, she owns her narrative of being an immigrant woman with an immigrant family. This includes both loving her Korean culture and stories while also dealing with cultural gender nuances and history.

As a Korean American woman and as a daughter of a fierce and badass Korean mother, her passion is to empower APA women from younger generation to older generation to demand and take what’s rightfully our voice and choice.