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2019 Minnesota Awards
Tiffany Xiong (local awards committee co-chair), Nalee Xiong (recipient of the Ryozo Glenn Kumekawa Scholarship), Yoshiko Kumekawa, and Ken Kumekawa

Board of Directors

Paul Watanabe


Paul is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He has guided the NSRCF as its president since 2009. Paul served on President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and as the first Chair of the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. His publications have appeared in the principal journals of his field as well as in scholarly volumes. He is the author of Ethnic Groups, Congress, and American Foreign Policy. 


Stephen Y. Hibino


Stephen grew up outside of Chicago and in Andover, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Skidmore College and is a manager with Bank of America. He has been the NSRCF Treasurer since 2007. In his free time, Stephen enjoys watching and playing almost all sports, and spending time with his two boys, Max and Felix.


Kesaya E. Noda

Recording Secretary

Kesaya is an essayist and poet. Born in California and raised in rural New Hampshire, she is a graduate of Stanford University with a Masters of Divinity from Harvard. Noda first wrote a history of the Yamato Colony, an intentional community of Japanese immigrants founded in California’s San Joaquin Valley in the early 1900s.  Working later in Student Affairs and then as an assistant to the president of Dartmouth College, she left to establish herself as an independent editor, writer, and project manager, helping her clients transmit and preserve their family histories through privately published memoirs. 

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Jean Y. Hibino

Executive Secretary

Jean grew up in Connecticut because her Nisei parents intentionally chose to raise their family far from the Bay Area where they were born, raised, schooled, and removed by the US government to the Topaz, Utah concentration camp during WWII. She has lived in San Francisco, Massachusetts, Alabama, and is currently residing in New Mexico. She is retired and remains active in civil rights and social justice causes. “It is my greatest honor and privilege to follow in my mother’s footsteps as the Executive Secretary of the NSRCF.”


Phitsamay Sychitkokhong Uy

Phitsamay is an associate professor in the College of Education and co-director of the Center for Asian American Studies at University of Massachusetts-Lowell. She has over 25 years of teaching experience ranging from kindergarten to graduate students. Phitsamay has served on several community boards of directors including Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), Chea Uy Trust Fund, and Legacies of War. When not keeping up with her 13-year old son, she also enjoys ballroom dancing.

James T. McIlwain

Jim is professor emeritus of neuroscience at Brown University. He is a student of the history of Americans of Japanese ancestry who were forced from their homes on the West Coast at the beginning of WWII and confined in internment camps.  Of special interest are those Japanese American men and women who served in the U.S. Army during WWII.  Jim is a life member of the Japanese American Veterans Association.


Keith Schuricht

Keith leads the Financial Analysis team at Hawaiian Airlines and resides in Honolulu with his wife Christine and their two wonderful boys. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History as well as a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Dartmouth College and holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. With multiple extended family members who benefited from the generosity of the NJASRC during WWII, Keith is honored to head the Investment Committee for the NSRCF.

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Laura Misumi

Laura grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. She has worked in Washington, DC, New York City, Albuquerque, and most recently Detroit, where she was the founding executive director of Rising Voices, a project of Center for Empowered Politics, organizing Asian American women and young people around progressive policies and candidates in Michigan. Currently pursuing a new path that seeks to make social justice and movement work joyful and sustainable, she is honored to follow in the footsteps of her grandparents in their service to the NSRCF.


Elizabeth Sequenzia Hibino

Liz was raised in Portland, CT.  She attended Vassar College and has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. She currently facilitates parenting classes and a support group for immigrant women and families, and volunteers in her hometown. She has been passionate about social justice since childhood and is proud to serve on the NSRCF board. Liz and Stephen hope to continue the generational legacy of activism passed down from both of their families as they raise their two children.

established by the NSRCF Board of Directors

Alex Cherup

Alex grew up in Metro Detroit and currently makes Reno, Nevada his home. A graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, he now works at Nevada Legal Services and supervises legal programs that are related to access to justice and the representation of indigent individuals. Alex’s maternal grandparents were incarcerated at Manzanar, CA and Gila River, AZ. He says their experiences contributed to his focus on restorative justice. “Serving on the NSRCF board gives me the opportunity to honor their legacy and continue the fight for justice.”


Kenji Okumura

Kenji leads the product strategy for the patient health app at M Health Fairview and previously led digital member experience for UnitedHealthcare's Medicaid business and digital strategy for one of the largest U.S. food banks. Born in Tokyo and raised in Southern California, he earned a BA in Economics from Macalester College. Kenji lives in Minneapolis with his partner Chamindika and their two daughters and enjoys playing pickleball and coaching middle school Ultimate Frisbee. 


Tim Touch

Tim is a Cambodian American raised in the Northern Virginia metropolitan area. A graduate of Radford University, he works as a consultant for various projects within multiple government agencies. He is a former recipient of an NSRCF scholarship and joined the board to do what he can to help students achieve their academic dreams. In his downtime, he assists marketing agencies with their brand strategy and acts with multiple ambassadors’ programs. Growing up in an immigrant household, Tim believes that the next generation is vital to our legacy and is proud to serve on the board, hoping to provide future awardees with additional resources so they can kickstart their goals.

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