9 leaders selected to serve as FYLPRO Tayo fellows

First row from left: Maria Cristina ‘Chachie’ Abara, Nouchka Claire Apostol, Ione Sky Causing, Georgie D’Sanson, Carina Gregorio
Second row from left: Jonathan Laxamana, Sofia Lindo, Brian Mangilog, Nico Palanca  

Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) is excited to announce its second cohort of nine talented young leaders to the FYLPRO Tayo Fellowship Program. 

The FYLPRO Tayo Fellowship Program aims to equip young Filipino American leaders with the skills and strategies to support the Filipino and Filipino American community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows will provide assistance and support for Filipino communities negatively, both in the U.S. and in the Philippines, through FYLPRO’s online help desk, Tayo, as well as through an ever-evolving portfolio of COVID-19 response projects conducted by FYLPRO’s COVID-19 Task Force.

“Last Fall, our inaugural cohort spearheaded the development of over 500+ articles on the Tayohelp.com website, developed assets and social media campaigns, conducted environmental scans and interviews with local Filipino American organizations and community members, staged several virtual educational events, and presented our work at national conferences,” said FYLPRO Tayo Fellowship Director Krystle Canare. “This summer, I am honored to work alongside a new cohort of fellows…Tayo means ‘us’ in Tagalog and I cannot emphasize enough how important collective wisdom and fellowship are key to moving this work forward.”

This year’s fellows are:

Maria Cristina ‘Chachie’ Abara graduated with degrees in Psychology and Philippine Studies with concentration in Ilokano Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She has developed two passion projects, which is her podcast and her educational platform. Her podcast, previously named, “Reclaiming Filipinx Identity,” has branched to Kasamahan Co. streams oral history documenting the experiences of Filipinos in Hawai’i. She works on creating content that showcases Ilokano to keep the language from going extinct. 

With her background in Psychology and Philippine Studies, Chachie advocates for the Filipino community in terms of mental health and for representation in terms of breaking taboo topics. She hopes to start a company that focuses on creating films, skits, and series that help kickstart critical dialogue and conversation around mental health.

Nouchka Claire Apostol is a proud Ilocana from Pangasinan, Philippines, but has been residing on Tongva Land (L.A. County) for 20 years. Nouchka is a student at the University of California, Irvine, double majoring in Sociology and Psychological Sciences. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and providing community support through the lenses of decolonization and anti-imperialism. She is a community organizer and amateur bass player. Nouchka defines herself as a divine/spiritual healer who has been practicing tarot reading and strengthening her ancestral connection.

Ione Sky Causing calls the island of Guam her home. She has been involved with organizations such as Central Washington University’s Filipino-American Student Association as vice-president and subsequently  as president, and was formerly an Eastern Advisor for the Northwest Filipino-American Student Alliance.

Ione hopes to use her skills to improve the lives of not only her own, but those around her. Writing and editing are her purest passions. She is a graduate of Central Washington University, where she majored in English Language and Literature. She currently lives in Maple Valley. When she is not keeping busy with writing, you can find her playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons or starting a new book.

Georgie D’Sanson is a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University studying Cognitive Science, Spanish, and Mathematics with an interest in Linguistics. Growing up in New York, the Philippines, and Hawaii, they have grown to appreciate how linguistic diversity reflects cultural diversity in surprising ways. They are the Cultural President of JHU’s Filipino Students Association, in which they plan community events for the Hopkins Filipino community with other Filipino and FilAm students. They also enjoy singing and beatboxing for their acapella group Humming Jay.

Carina Gregorio is a junior at California State University, Los Angeles. She is majoring in Healthcare Administration and is interested in exploring how to achieve health equity, quality assurance, patient risk management, and project management. It is her personal philosophy to give back to her community and keep the door open for others.

Jonathan Laxamana is a rising sophomore at Stanford University planning to major in Human Biology with additional academic interests in Public Policy, Asian American Studies, and neuroscience. He is currently a research assistant at the Giardino Lab, studying the biological mechanisms behind stress and sleep. During his virtual freshman year, Jonathan was an intern for the school’s Kayumanggi dance troupe and Pilipino Student Union. He has participated in an Alternative Spring Break program centered around the struggles of Filipino migrant workers. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys hiking, playing the piano, listening to podcasts, and spending time with family and friends.

Sofia Lindo was born and raised in Pampanga, Philippines. She is a second-year student at Cypress College where she is pursuing a degree in B.S. Nursing. She volunteers at COVID-19 clinics, contributing to reach the goal of vaccinating all Californians. She has mentored elementary students. She is interested in finding ways to make healthcare accessible to people living in rural areas in the Philippines. She intends to apply to medical school to study cardiology.

Brian Mangilog is a clinical project coordinator for the Rare Genomes Project based at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard that provides genetic testing to families with rare diseases. He graduated in 2018 from Harvard University with a B.A. in Neurobiology and a secondary concentration in Global Health and Health Policy. He currently serves as a Board Member for PAMANA, Inc., helping plan New England’s Philippine Independence Day celebrations and the Fil-Am High School Leadership Program. He was the former New England Ambassador and is now a coach for Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration. He is also co-director for the Philippine Medical Association of New England’s Wellness Program serving the homeless community in downtown Boston.

Nico Palanca is a junior at Virginia Tech studying International Relations. Currently, he holds multiple positions: Resident Advisor in Virginia Tech, the Internal Vice President for The Filipino-American Society Association, and member of the Student Advisory board for the Innovate: Living-Learning Communities. Often, Nico is in charge of projects, such as cultural shows, symposiums, and outreach. Nico lived in the Philippines for most of his life, and recently moved to America to pursue higher education. In his free time, he enjoys photography, discovering new music, and exploring the outdoors. He is a driven person, with a clear goal and mission: to serve others and better his community.

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