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Posted 6/7/2016

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By John Kelly
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District


In celebration of Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month, members of the U.S. Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District played a game of trivia, May 24.

 Fabiana Burrell, district management analyst, played the role of Alex Trebek during the event.  Burrell has been an employee with the district for more than seven years, but has been Filipino her whole life. It is this heritage which made her uniquely qualified to lead the celebration for the district.

Three teams made their way through the computerized game board, filled with Asian-Pacific Islander heritage answers. The goal was to increase awareness and dialogue of the historic culture, while earning candy and having fun along the way.

Burrell said, “I enjoy spreading awareness of different cultures, especially my Filipino heritage, when given the opportunity. It is important to remember that America is made up of such a diverse background, and Special Emphasis programs is a great outlet to spread awareness at work.”

Congress first dedicated 10 days of May to Asian-Pacific Islander heritage in 1979. In 1992 the celebration was extended to encompass the entire of the month of May.

Legislators chose May to commemorate the first Japanese immigration to the U.S. and to recognize the contributions of Asian Americans to the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Both events occurred in May.

According to the Library of Congress Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month is the celebration of the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history. The term Asian-Pacific Islander encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia - New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands; Micronesia- Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia; and Polynesia- New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island.

 Speaking about the game’s overall outcome Maj. Cornelius Batts, district deputy, said “The event was very well received, and was something different than the norm. It took us away from our daily activities to learn more about the heritage experience of one of our employees.”



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