Chiaw-Weai was born in Malaysia to a family of Chinese heritage. She has been participating in WAA’s activities for many years through different roles including performing Chinese dance on stage, selling food as one of the vendors at Asian Festival, recruiting sponsors with the marketing committee, chairing the American Pacific Heritage Month event. She served as vice president in 2018 and 2019.
Chiaw-Weai earned her bachelor degree in Architecture from the University of Kansas. She has been one of Gallery 12’s member artists since 2011, specializing in Chinese watercolor. She is currently serving her fourth year on the Wichita Botanica Board of Trustees. Chiaw-Weai also volunteers for various local organizations, including the Wichita Youth Symphony Parent Advisory Committee and the Wichita Chinese Association.
Bedsides painting, she enjoys making desserts, gardening and tending to her 20- year collection of orchids.
Taben Azad has been with Wichita Asian Association for 4 years, mainly serving on the stage committee.
Mhaeh’s extreme pride in her heritage started at an early age. Having been born and raised in the summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio City, to Ilocano parents, she has always shown interest in learning about the other regional languages and cultures of friends and classmates who come from diverse backgrounds.
Mhaeh deepened her involvement in the Wichita Asian Association (WAA) in early 2000. She held various capacities including Director - Miss Wichita Asian Fest; VP; then President of WAA, and now as the Treasurer. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Filipino American Association of Greater Wichita and is the Director of the Miss Philippines – Asian Fest Pageant.
Mhaeh is a single mom to her son, Christian, a Quality Assurance Manager for Customer Care Centers at JC Penney in KC. She believes in the “salad bowl” theory, that is, the more the number of ingredients, the better the end result – thus her avid commitment to the Wichita Asian Association - a melting pot of Asian arts & cultures.
Sonalli Kurlekar, originally coming from India, has been an associated with Wichita Asian Association (WAA) for the last 3 years. She has been working as a liaison for Indian community and has been in forefront to promote integration between the Association and Indian community from Wichita through cultural exchange and encouraging talent from the local community. She, herself is a student of Indian classical Dance form called Kathak, and participated alongside other members from her community during numerous occasions. She strongly believes, to make an organization successful, we need to walk hand in hand and move forward together.
Jennifer Keomany is the current Chair of the Stage Committee. She first became involved with the Wichita Asian Association as a student at Wichita State University in 2008. Her first role as a volunteer was serving as one of the MCs for the Wichita Asian Festival. The following year, she volunteered to direct the stage component of the Wichita Asian Festival, and has been serving in this capacity since that time. From 2015-2018, she served as the Secretary of the Wichita Asian Association.
Jennifer works for the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita as the Department Manager of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and as a Senior Research Associate. In her spare time, she likes to cycle and do Turbokick, and spend time with her family and friends.
Lily Wu is the pageant director of the Miss Wichita Asian Festival Scholarship Pageant and past president of the Wichita Asian Association. For more than a decade, she has been an active volunteer for the association. Lily advocates for platforms celebrating cultural diversity and empowering young leaders.
She is a proud Wichitan and Kansan, who shares various posts at facebook.com/LilyWuTV and @KansasLily on Twitter and Instagram.
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Marketing & Scholarship Chair
Bach Nguyen joined Wichita Asian Association with the vision and drive to improve upon our Non-Profit Organization, and focused on developing the organization with experience and integrity.
Nhuy's experience with the Wichita Asian Association began through performing at the Wichita Asian Festival as a child and later with the East High School Asian Cultural Dance Club. She represented Malaysia in the 2017 Miss WAF Scholarship Pageant, and her pageant experience kick-started a deeper involvement with WAA. She chaired the Kids' Corner Committee for the 2018 and 2019 WAF, and continues to contribute to various committees.
Nhuy is currently a student at WSU studying computer science and a student contractor at NetApp, and participates in various engineering and Asian centric campus organizations. Coming from a Chinese-Malaysian and Vietnamese household, she holds an earnest appreciation of the interweaving relationships between different cultures. She has worked to develop a cultural enthusiasm in the community through her founding of the East High Asian Cultural Dance Club and her work with the Wichita Chinese Association and the Wichita Chinese School.
Kids Corner Chair
Stephanie Le was born and raised in Wichita by her Vietnamese immigrant parents. In 2010, she competed in the Little Miss Vietnam pageant, and in 2016, was a state finalist for Miss Kansas Teen USA. Through her participation in the Miss Vietnam Wichita 2019 pageant, she was crowned Miss Congeniality 2019. During this year, she also started becoming involved with the Wichita Asian Association.
Stephanie is currently attending Newman University and majoring in Communication(s). As of now, Stephanie is working at the Sedgwick County Courthouse District Attorney's Office. With her free time, she enjoys volunteering, watching animated movies, and trying new foods!