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Asian-American Advocate

Student serves others behind the scenes

Published on April 25, 2017
Story and photo by Sarah Sabatke

Tessa Miles joined the Asian American Association on a whim during her freshman year.

Tessa Miles

Tessa Miles, senior, Psychology and Spanish major from Ballwin, Missouri.

“The first meeting I went to, everyone was so inviting, so nice,” says Miles, a senior majoring in psychology and Spanish. “I’ve definitely met some of my best friends through the organization.”

Miles applied for the executive board for her sophomore year and served as the social chair. She was in charge of planning and executing several social events for the organization each month. Miles was then elected as secretary for her junior year, during which she worked through the group’s “behind-the-scenes problems.”

As president for the 2016–17 academic year, Miles is responsible for overseeing the organization and making sure everything runs smoothly.

Many students assume that they need to be Asian-American in order to participate in the organization, but Miles says anyone can be involved in the Asian American Association.

“It is an organization catered to Asian-Americans because those are the issues we focus on, but we welcome everyone from any race or ethnicity or background,” says Miles.

One of Miles’ main goals as president is to increase membership and work with other organizations, both on campus and in other cities.

Miles is also a member of Mizzou Alternative Breaks and has served in North Carolina, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. She will lead a trip to Nicaragua this January. She is also a member of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity.

“By putting yourself out there, it makes for a good experience,” Miles says. “I feel like that’s kind of what college is all about. Trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone.”

This story was originally published in the division annual report, 2016 Student Affairs Highlights.

Published by the Division of Student Affairs, 211 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 | Phone: 573-882-6776 | Fax: 573-882-0158 | E-mail:

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Last updated: Aug. 7, 2017