Spotlight: Academic Fellows

Jeffrey Tong, center, poses for a picture with YSEALI Fellows at the White House.
Jeffrey Tong, center, poses for a picture with YSEALI Fellows at the White House.

Mr. Chee Ying Tong (Jeffrey)

Environmental Studies
Yale-NUS, Singapore

Mr. Chee Ying Tong felt inspired by the novel way the Energy Excelerator, a Hawaii-based accelerator for renewable energy start-ups, brings together a network of young entrepreneurs to work together on energy solutions to meet Hawaii’s recently passed law for “100% renewable energy by 2045”. This ambitious target and model of how to get there, is something Jeffery would like to bring back to Singapore.

Ferth Vandensteen Lusung receives his certificate from the East-West Center upon completion of the YSEALI Academic Fellows program.
Ferth Vandensteen Lusung receives his certificate from the East-West Center upon completion of the YSEALI Academic Fellows program.

Mr. Ferth Vandensteen Lusung Manaysay (Ferth)

Political Science, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Philippines and Community
Journalist/Reporter

His preconceived notions about American families were very different than his personal experience during his American family homestay. It was far from the limited knowledge he got from popular media. He has a greater understanding of the level of tolerance and openness of a typical American family. His greatest takeaway from the experience was seeing his host family’s hospitality for complete strangers like himself. “I cannot count the number of people (and dogs) that I got to meet over the homestay weekend because my host father seemed to have a very good reputation in the community, so I got introduced to almost everyone we bumped into. It was truly fun to be part of such a warm household and I loved talking to my host family about anything and everything under the sun.”

Almira Banog, center, poses for a picture with YSEALI Fellows at the White House.
Almira Banog, center, poses for a picture with YSEALI Fellows at the White House.

Ms. Almira Banog Menson (Al)

English Faculty at Mindanao State
University – Marawi, Philippines

Almira Banog was inspired by Bernice Pauahi Bishop (past female Hawaiian leader). She writes: “What struck me the most about her was her legacy – she preserved wild lands in Hawaii, especially Hanauma Bay. I was just fascinated to know that this woman thought of preserving areas over a 100 years ago. Her legacy lives in every sand pebble of Hanauma Bay, because if not for her, Hawaii could have lost such a very beautiful spot that melts the heart of every tourist coming to the area. Women as society dictates are often seen as inarticulate, powerless and conniving, but as a woman of the present generation, I want to leave an imprint by doing things that are stereotyped as being for men only. Just like American women in the early environmental and social movements of the 1800’s, I want to lead and take the initiative in helping poor communities back home who don’t get access to opportunities such as education and clean environment.”