be_ixf;ym_202407 d_13; ct_50 YES! I want to make a difference TODAY!

AANHPI Q&A with Miranda Ying

Miranda Ying for City Year San Jose AmeriCorps Alumnus
Miranda Ying, Senior Impact Manager for City Year San Jose / Silicon Valley
As Senior Impact Manager, Miranda is responsible for supervising and coaching teams of AmeriCorps Members at school sites in East Side San Jose. She is integral to their placement in classes where they will have the most impact, and then serves as their primary guide in their roles as student success coaches and also as young professionals who are starting their careers.

Q. Can you share a bit about your cultural identity?
A: I identify as a Taiwanese American. I was born and raised in the U.S. while my parents were both born and raised in Taiwan. With my Taiwanese identity, there are many cultural parallels with Chinese culture, especially in celebrations and values. The distinguishing factor for me is the recognition of Taiwan as a separate entity from China and celebrating that in itself.

Q: Why is AANHPI Heritage Month important to you?
A: AANHPI Heritage Month is important to me because it is a month that captures actionable steps towards representation, celebrations of recognition, and reminders about the success and challenges of the AANHPI community that we have faced and continue to take on head-first today.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to share about your own heritage and how it influences your work at City Year?
A: I remember being taught to be very passionate about my Taiwanese heritage from a young age. At times, I didn’t understand why. I thought, In Taiwan, we often speak Mandarin Chinese. Our cultural legends and stories are from China. A large part of my family tree even comes from China, so why is it important to say it’s different all the time? So, I spent a lot of time with my history-buff dad, learning about the political history of Taiwan and how it relates to current events. This experience has driven me to seek conversations about diverse identities and perspectives, celebrating similarities and differences, because it all relates to City Year’s mission of Diversity, Belonging, Inclusivity, and Equity (DBIE). The representation of different identities helps create an inclusive space, which in turn allows us to take more equitable action when it comes to addressing different needs.

Q. What influenced your decision to be an ACM with City Year? Any AANHPI mentors along the way?
A: My older brother was an AmeriCorps Member serving with City Year Cleveland for two years before I joined the Corps in San José/Silicon Valley in 2021. I had always wanted to be an educator while he had aspired to be a doctor, and now we’ve both landed in roles as educators. A big part of the decision to serve with the organization came from seeing people who looked like me, had the same passion for service in education as me, and who chose to serve through City Year.

Q. Who has served as an inspiration to you/who is an AANHPI figure that you especially look up to?
A: I grew up watching a lot of Asian American content creators on Youtube like Ryan Higa and Wong Fu Productions, but someone who I continue to follow and learn from is Helen Wu from Asian Boss Girl. I’m inspired by the way she transparently shares her experiences in navigating different aspects of Asian American culture, womanhood, and most recently, motherhood.

Q. Did you celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month in some way?
A: I am a huge foodie and this year I tried to be more intentional about supporting Asian-owned restaurants in the area. Most notably, I enjoyed Teaqueria, Kensho Social (which unfortunately closed recently), and Coffee & Water Lab.

Q. What’s the most exciting part of your job at City Year?
A: Recently, I’ve found that one of the most exciting parts of my job at City Year is interviewing the following year’s AmeriCorps Members. I love seeing how people from different walks of life, experiences, and perspectives are united by the City Year mission of advancing educational equity. I also love having the opportunity at the end of the interview to answer their questions and concerns about serving with City Year while providing a recent and lived experience of being an ACM.

Q. What are some interesting hobbies or talents that most people may not know about you?
A: A hobby of mine is playing the Chinese yo-yo (or Diablo as it’s known to others). When I was little, this was an elective class that my parents enrolled me in, but after many years, I lost interest. I’ve recently picked it back up and am seeing the fruits of my labor (and my parents’ nagging). Here is a clip of one of my performances. It’s been a really fun conversation starter with my students as many have never seen it before.

Q. What’s your favorite book, show or podcast?
A: My favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy. I started to watch it during the pandemic, knowing that there were a lot of seasons to catch up on and feeling like I had the time to do it. I unwittingly developed a serious binge-watching habit towards the end of the series where I was finishing a season in 24 hours! Definitely worth it though.

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