Allegheny Graduate, Honored as 2021 Bostonian of the Year, Empowers AAPI Community
Recognized as a 2021 Bostonian of the Year by The Boston Globe, Sam Hyun `14 has worked throughout his career to empower the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community — and ensure their voices are heard. Hyun says his Allegheny College education provided an important framework for those efforts.
“Being a history major was critical as I not only learned about the true history of the United States but specifically learned about Asian American history, which was instrumental in the work that I do to advocate for racial and social justice,” says Hyun.
Hyun credits his communication arts minor with establishing practical skills he would later use in the professional environment. He also found that his involvement on the baseball team allowed him to form relationships and learn valuable life lessons from his coaches.
“Allegheny changed my life. It was there that I discovered who I was and my passion,” says Hyun. “Deciding to be a Gator was one of the best decisions of my life.”
After graduating from Allegheny, Hyun accepted a position as a legislative aide for the Massachusetts Speaker of the House after a year of working at a restaurant and technology startup.
Today, Hyun is the political director for Massachusetts’ State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s gubernatorial campaign. He serves as a liaison to elected officials, secures endorsements, and develops the campaign strategy.
Until December 2021, Hyun served as the chairperson of the Massachusetts AAPI Commission, where he worked with legislators to advocate for policies to support the AAPI community.
“When it comes to policy, there is no such thing as a perfect solution, but what you can do is constantly strive to listen and learn so that you can do the best possible job of addressing the needs of the people,” says Hyun.
The most gratifying part of his work, says Hyun, is the opportunity to see the direct impact on communities. Additionally, it has been incredibly humbling for Hyun to hear about the individuals he has inspired, who have chosen to speak up for the AAPI community or want to pursue a career in public service.
“A career in public service is truly rewarding, but you have to ensure that you center the community at all times,” Hyun says. “This means you have to learn different perspectives and learn how to communicate with people from all walks of life.”