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Letter from AANSOC Coordinator

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Dear Incoming Students,

Welcome to Stanford! Let me first say congratulations; acceptance to Stanford is no small accomplishment. Take time to celebrate, rest, and spend time with your friends and family before embarking on your Stanford journey.

My name is Lea, and I am a senior from Hood River, Oregon, majoring in Human Biology. I am thrilled to be your 2021 Community Coordinator for the Asian American New Student Orientation Committee (AANSOC). I know from personal experience how overwhelming NSO can be, so I’d like to take a moment to share some of my own identity and first memories of the Asian/Pacific Islander (API) Community at Stanford.

I was adopted from China when I was one year old and raised by white parents in a small town. Growing up, I never talked about race or adoption with anyone. I always felt too Chinese to be fully accepted by my white peers, yet too white to feel I had any right to engage in Chinese culture. I came to Stanford with no plans to explore the API community here. I was hesitant, nervous even, to attend the AANSOC Community Welcome, but then, the student speaker gave their speech. I had never heard someone speak about adoption in such a public place before. Listening to them echo so many of my own anxieties and concerns, I began to think that maybe I am allowed to occupy space in the API community, too.

So I did. The student speaker actually became a valued friend, and I followed in their footsteps and spoke at the AANSOC Community Welcome the next year. Joining an Asian American Sib Fam (AASib) as a frosh and later a big sib allowed me to both mentor and learn from diverse members of the API community. I served as president of the Undergraduate Chinese American Association (UCAA) for two years, welcoming students from all backgrounds. I joined Stanford Taekwondo (with zero previous experience), fell in love with the sport and community, and am now president of the club. I learned that I take pride in calling myself Asian American. Navigating the line between Asian and American is still an ongoing process for me, but I’ve found beauty in the duality. And at the heart of the API Community at Stanford is an overwhelming sense of welcome and care.

I want to end this letter by formally inviting each and every one of you to our AANSOC events from September 14-19, 2021. A calendar of event times, locations, and descriptions can be found in this packet. These events are free and open to all students, so please invite any new friends who might be interested as well! We hope these events give you an introduction to the diverse and vibrant API community at Stanford, and if you want to engage with the API community before arriving, feel free to explore the A3C website, “like” our Facebook page, or follow our Instagram “@stanforda3c.” I am also more than happy to personally connect, answer questions, or provide a friendly face! You can reach me via email.

Finally, I want to leave you with some reassurance; entering college can be unknown and stressful, but you are strong and more than capable. The API community at Stanford is here for you, and we cannot wait to see you soon.


Lea Wenting Rysavy

Stanford Class of 2022

B.S. Candidate | Human Biology

2021 Asian American New Student Orientation Committee (AANSOC) Coordinator