|Member of the Month
Cyndi S. Chen
Chen is an advocate for the Asian and Pacific Islander Iowans. Volunteering
is her life style. "Live One Day A Time And Make It A Master
Piece" is Cyndi's motto.
She is a data analyst, database and finance management for a federally
funded project to improve transition outcomes for youth with disability,
came from Taiwan in 1985 as a visiting scholar to teach Chinese
Language at Buena Vista College (University now) in Storm Lake,
Iowa. She has also taught mathematics, statistics, and Chinese Language;
has provided trainings on how to work with Asian Americans to school
teachers and administrators, medical doctors and nurses, and others;
is a frequent speaker on data and issues of Asians and Pacific Islanders
Prior coming to Iowa, Cyndi told stories in hospitals and libraries
and trained college students as storytellers; worked with orphans
and low-income students as a tutor and a summer camp counselor;
guided children at Taipei Zoo. She was a social worker in refugee
camps in Thailand in 1980 - 1981 to provide language, vocational
and recreational programs to over 10,000 Cambodian refugees and
assist them to resettle to other countries.
Cyndi was one of the Initiators to raise over $110,000 for the
Iowa Cares: Asian Tsunami Disaster Fund in year 2004. She is the
past President of Asian American Council who led the Council to
merge with Iowa Asian Alliance. She is also the immediate past president
of Iowa Sister States to link Iowans to the world through working
with 500 or more volunteers on eight Sister States relationship.
She was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Asian and Pacific
Islander Advisory Council to push the establishment of commission
of Asian and Pacific Islander from 2001 to 2004. She has been appointed
by the Governor again to serve on the Commission on the Status of
Iowans of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage (www.iowacapi.us).
She was elected to be the first chair of the Commission for 2004-2006
and led the efforts to develop a strategic plan and successfully
lobbied the state appropriation so the Commission would be able
to hire an administrator.
Besides the Commission, Cyndi also serves on the board of Iowa
Asian Alliance and Neighborhood Finance Corporation; as an advisor
of Chinese Association of Iowa, Iowa Chinese Language School, Center
for Global Citizenship of Drake University, Multicultural Outreach
Committee of Grand View College, and Diversity Committee Mercy College
of Health Sciences.
Cyndi and her husband Dr. Frank Affannato who is a retired college
professor have "adopted" many families and strangers.
They open their home for friends and international visitors. Their
home has been referred as an "international boarding house."
Their Chinese New Year open house had a record of 120 some guests.
Cyndi has received many awards and honors: Governor's Golden
Dome Employee Award -- Lt. Governor's Volunteer Award
(2004 & 2001), AdmirAsian Volunteer Award (2003), and Iowa Governor's
Volunteer Award (2001), Excellent Teacher Award from National Institute
for Staff And Usanization Development (1996), etc.
Cyndi has bachelor's degrees in Economics, Mathematics and
Computer Science; Master's degree in Mathematics; and has
completed her doctorate coursework in Adult and Higher Education