Taiwanese Rotary scholar rises to news director post
Kuan, a former Ambassadorial Scholar, is a news director for LA 18 KSCI-TV in Southern California, USA.
Former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar April Kuan is an accomplished news director in Los Angeles.
Sixteen years ago, Kuan left her job as a news anchor in Taiwan to earn a master's degree in the United States.
The decision to leave wasn't easy. Kuan had already finished her undergraduate degree and was working as an anchor and reporter at CTS, a major Chinese broadcasting company.
She had hoped to study at an East Coast or West Coast university. The Rotary Club of Taipei Po Ai, Taiwan, sponsored her to go to Ohio State University instead.
"I was a little disappointed at first," Kuan confesses. "But then I met my husband there."
Kuan spent a year with the Rotary Club of Dublin-Worthington, Ohio, sharing stories about the people and culture of Taiwan. Her professional success, good grades, and ability to reach out to other people made her a natural choice for an Ambassadorial Scholar.
"Back then, we didn't have the Internet and YouTube. You had to rely on people skills. To introduce people [in Ohio] to Taiwan, I used a lot of writing and slideshows and verbal explanation--basic presentations, no PowerPoint. Just talking to people."
After graduating with a master's in journalism and public relations, Kuan used the knowledge and skills she gained during her time in Ohio to land a job with LA 18 KSCI-TV , a leading Asian-language television station in Southern California.
Kuan quickly moved up the ranks to news director. She credits her decision to stay and pursue her career in the United States in part to the warmth and kindness shown her by her host family, Rotarian G. Courtney Chapman and his wife.
LA 18 covered the recent RI Convention in Los Angeles . There, Kuan met other Ambassadorial Scholars and Rotarians from Taiwan, like RI Director Jackson San-Lien Hsieh.
"I was introduced to several Rotarians here [in Los Angeles], and I am going to start contacting them and see if there is a way I can give back."
Kuan notes that after LA 18 aired the story about the convention, the station received several inquiries about how to get involved with Rotary. She referred viewers to the RI Web site.
"In the past, Rotary events were held in small circles and only a few members of the media would come. Now people blog and share information ," Kuan said. "Right now I see new blood and new faces and a new way of doing things."