Gloria Yen is the Director of the New American Welcome Center, an initiative of the YMCA of the University of Illinois. The Welcome Center engages local institutions and mobilizes community resources to make Champaign County a place where immigrants can thrive and flourish. Over the past 3 years, the Welcome Center has launched innovative programming in the areas of resource navigation, immigration legal services, and immigrant advocacy as it coordinates multi-sector integration planning efforts to lay a foundation for equitable access, economic opportunity, and meaningful belonging. The Center’s impact has been recognized by: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Outstanding Achievement Award (2020 Champaign County), Entrepreneurial Excellence: Social Venture Award (2019 Champaign County Economic Development Corporation), and Community Impact Award (2019 Junior League of Champaign-Urbana).
A second generation Taiwanese American, Gloria earned a BM In musicology from the University of Illinois before moving on to the University of Chicago for an MA in Social Sciences. Gloria’s commitment to working alongside marginalized communities has led her to the fields of human development and disability studies, black oral history, and most recently, immigrant integration. A resident of Historic East Urbana (#urbanalove) and self-proclaimed foodie, you can find Gloria trying new recipes (@gloria.yen) and watching YouTube videos of street food vendors across the world.