Aya S. Murata
Advisor to Asian and Asian American Students
B.A. Bates College 1992, M.A. Harvard University 2000
Hello! I began working at Phillips Academy in 1992 and have been the Adviser to Asian and Asian American Students since 1994, serving in the Office of Community and Multicultural Development. In my role as Adviser to Asian and Asian American Students, I serve in two major areas: (1) support for Asian, Asian American and mixed heritage Asian students and (2) development of activities and programs to assist the Phillips Academy community (students, staff and faculty) to learn more about and better understand Asian and Asian American history, culture and issues. I develop both informational and social programs relating to Asia and/or Asian and Asian American issues. Such programs have included a study of Andover’s Asian and Asian American students' experiences, Asian Arts Festival (an annual event showcasing Asian food, fashion, history and talent), the inaugural conference for Asian and Asian American independent, secondary students, various guest speakers and performers (examples include Frank Wu, Chang-rae Lee, Kenji Yoshino, Loung Ung, Jo Koy, Lisa See, Yul Kwon and Curtis Chin) and social activities such as trips to restaurants and film screenings.
Additionally, as faculty adviser to student organizations such as Asian Society, I work with student leaders to develop social activities, educational programs, and lend support. Other organizations under the umbrella of the Asian Society include the Andover Japanese Connection, Andover Korean Society, Chinese Taiwanese Student Association, Indian and Pakistani Society and the Southeast Asian Club.
I graduated from Bates College in 1992 with a B.A. degree in Japanese Studies, with a minor concentration in Japanese language. In June 2000, I graduated from Harvard University with a master's degree in Regional Studies: East Asia. Other roles at PA have included assistant dean of admission, academic advisor, complementary house counselor, house counselor, coach, International Student Coordinator and Dean of Pine Knoll Cluster. I currently serve as the CAMD Scholar Coordinator and Associate Director of College Counseling. Additionally, I am an Advisor to a group of tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade girls, a complementary house counselor and assistant JV2 lacrosse coach. I live on campus with my husband and our two sons and enjoy skiing, traveling and other outdoor activities.
The purpose of Asian Society is to educate and share with both its members and the greater school community Asian and Asian American history, cultures and traditions. The society sponsors field trips, films, speakers, discussions and activities related to Asian and Asian American culture/history/issues as well as hosts the annual Asian Arts Festival (spring term). Asian Society is open to all members of the Phillips Academy community and serves as the pan-Asian student organization working with and alongside the clubs listed below.
Andover Japanese Connection (AJC)
Andover Japanese Connection, more often referred to as "AJC", is made up of an eclectic group of kids who love Japan. Members include both Japanese students, ex-residents of Japan, students studying Japanese, and students who just want to learn more about the country and culture! Weekly meetings are spent experiencing Japanese culture through activities like sushi-making, Japanese games, movies, karaoke, origami, or calligraphy. Meetings also occasionally focus around traditional holidays, like the Moon festival in October, Setsubun in February, and Girl's Day in March. Come and experience “Japan” in just half an hour each week! All students are welcome.
Andover Korean Society (AKS)
Andover Korean Society brings together students interested in Korean and Korean American culture to learn from each other and also have fun doing it. Club meetings include discussions about relevant topics, games and planning for upcoming cultural events, such as I-Fest (International Festival) or Asian Arts Festival. Club members have fun whether they are preparing a cultural performance or cooking for the food festival. All of us are spirited and proud to present our culture to the community we live in – we do this primarily through Korean Awareness Week – one of our highlights during the year. We also try to meet with members of the Korean Society Club at Exeter to share knowledge and ideas through activities and discussions. We are open to new ideas to improve our club and will continue to be a special place where students of all backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to come together to learn and have fun.
Chinese Taiwanese Student Association (CTSA)
The Chinese Taiwanese Student Association draws in students of all backgrounds who are interested in Chinese culture. As a cultural club, not only do we educate our members about the larger aspects of Chinese/Taiwanese culture, but we also hope to create an environment in which people of common background or interest can form bonds and discuss issues that surround life as an Asian or Asian American. We host and participate in events celebrating various Chinese holidays, like the Chinese New Year and the Autumn Moon Festival. Each year we participate in the International Festival in the fall and Asian Arts Festival in the spring. During our meetings, we play Chinese games like Mah Jong, cook Chinese dinners, teach Chinese brush painting and much more! We encourage students of all backgrounds and especially those studying Chinese to join us!
Indo-Pak (Indian and Pakistani Society)
Indo-Pak aims to raise awareness of the culture, customs, and issues of the Indian subcontinent. Weekly meetings consist of discussions on news from the region, presentations on Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi history, and pertinent events in Andover. During the fall term, the club hosts the Diwali/Eid show, a celebration of both the Indian festival of lights and Eid, an important Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. At every meeting, we try to provide a taste of the Indian and Pakistani cultures such as samosas, pani puri, and mango ice cream to supplement interesting discussion and club activities. Another highlight includes a charity dinner where day students and boarders prepare and serve traditional meals to guests. In the spring, Indo-Pak presents a couple acts in the Asian Arts Festival. Additionally, once or twice a term the club shows a Bollywood movie so that everyone can get together under a big screen and relax on a Friday night with heartwarming Indian food. Throughout the year, it is the hope of the club that the events and meetings allow members to not only enjoy themselves but also become familiar with the richly diverse Indian and Pakistani cultures.
South East Asian Club (SEA Club)
Established in 2012, SEA Club’s primary goal is to bring together students who are interested in South East Asian cultures and/or want to know more about South East Asia. South East Asia encompasses twelve countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore. SEA Club tries to capture this diverse region by finding similarities in food, culture, dance, and language. Thus, our weekly meetings include cooking delicious SEA delicacies, such as Halo Halo, Mi Goreng, and Pad Thai, learning a few phrases in a SEA language, discussing current ASEAN issues, and planning for upcoming cultural events, such as I-Fest and Asian Arts Festival. We are a fun bunch of kids who would love to share our experiences with you – students of all backgrounds are encouraged to join!