APALSA’s 14th Annual Spring Reception celebrates ‘Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling’

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(l-r) Judge Rosalyn Tang, APALSA President Tram-Anh (Annie) Tran ’24, Associate Professor Will Moon 

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) on March 7 held its 14th annual spring reception celebrating the accomplishments of the Asian/Pacific-American legal community and students.  

Associate Professor Will Moon, one of the group’s faculty advisors, offered opening remarks in which he shared thoughts on the evening’s theme, Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling. The term is drawn from the book by the same name by Jane Hyun, a career coach who explores the challenges Asian Americans face in the corporate environment. Moon described his own experience working at a big law firm where Asian American lawyers were plentiful at the associate level but had zero representation in top leadership.  

Moon introduced Judge Rosalyn Tang of the Appellate Court of Maryland who received the  2023 APALSA Award of Excellence and offered the evening’s keynote address. As the first Asian American and youngest person to be appointed to Maryland’s appellate court, Judge Tang is a shining example of someone who has broken through that bamboo ceiling. She offered advice to students around building professional relationships, seeking out mentors, and working through culturally ingrained behaviors that may be perceived as a lack of confidence.  

“Do not let your fear of failure get in the way of your advancement,” Judge Tang emphasized. 

Closing out the night was the presentation of scholarship awards to two first-year APALSA members. The recipients, Hafsah Mansoori ’25 and Meera Balasubramanian ’25 were honored for exemplifying dedication to Asian/Pacific-American advocacy. 

APALSA President Tram-Anh (Annie) Tran ’24 and Nikisha Sisodiya ’24, the spring reception chair, emceed the event. Tran’s concluding remarks outlined the underrepresentation of Asian Americans in positions of power in the United States and inspired the audience with a hopeful glimpse at the next generation of Asian American leaders. 

Maryland Carey Law Dean Renée Hutchins was unable to attend in person but offered a message via video telling students that she deeply appreciates the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association at Maryland Carey Law. “You are a vital thread in the fabric of our community,” she said, “and you foster a sense of belonging among students that we profoundly value at our law school.”