Wellness through Asian American Narratives and Theatre (WAANT) Program

Recruiting Participants for our 2022 UIC Creative Activity WAANT Program Wellness through Asian American Narratives and Theater

Portraits of two Asian/Asian American faces painted by Artist Alfred Tsao

  • Bringing together UIC student, campus, and community voices
  • Creating a safe space to communicate about Asian American mental health
  • Exploring creative approaches to destigmatize mental health in Asian American communities
  • Fall 2022: Story Collecting
  • Spring 2023: Production & Exhibits

If interested, fill out this electronic form by September 2nd, 2022: https://tinyurl.com/UICWAANT

For more information, contact: Rooshey Hasnain – roosheyh@uic.edu Ginger Leopoldo – ginger@circapintig.org

Silencing Stigma, Reclaiming Life 3.0 presented at UIC (2019)

For years, CIRCA Pintig has worked closely with Dr. Rooshey Hasnain in various course-based and project-based capacities to promote innovative coursework, research-informed story collection, and community dialogue. We have demonstrated great interest in understanding the challenges and successes of Asian immigrant students, families, and communities, especially those of us living with disabilities and mental health conditions. In particular, we have been impressed by our partnerships with Dr. Hasnain’s courses (DHD 420, DHD 400) and the multiple ways our partnership has enabled us to integrate exemplary models of disability and related practice at the intersections of development and culture. We have been able to accomplish these goals by studying broader interdisciplinary literature from various fields and then collecting voices of people in many underrepresented populations who are living with disabilities and/or mental illness, including some of UIC’s amazing students, faculty/staff, and community activists and scholars.

From Stigma to Mad Pride Podcast (2020)

Thanks to the UIC Award for funding our 2022 WAANT project which will bring much-needed grass-roots arts capacity to campus in the areas of disability/mental health practice, research, and policy work. It addresses an under-examined and underfunded area: cross-cultural disability and rehabilitation research with college students of all races and ethnicities, especially Asians, whose voices have too often been silent due to cultural stigmas. WAANT’s approach—to collect stories and map out supports and resources with college students — would allow CIRCA-Pintig to serve as a community resource for students both now and in the long term.

We look forward to facilitating WAANT’s story-collecting workshops with the UIC team and to working with the students on the collective historicizing and community narratives approach to mental health advocacy. As community organizers and alums of UIC, we would are happy to mentor and partner and mentor with UIC students to promote and support the retelling of “unheard” stories by Asian immigrants, including their journeys toward wellness.

Project Brave Space (2021)


Rooshey Hasnain, Ed.D., M.A.

 Dr. Rooshey Hasnain will serve as the PI of this initiative. She is a clinical assistant professor and community-engaged researcher with the Department of Disability and Human Development and the Undergraduate Rehabilitation Sciences Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her primary professional interest is addressing rights-based interventions in partnership with people with disabilities and mental health conditions through a cross-cultural lens, especially those from intersecting identity groups, including those from Asian, refugee, immigrant, and limited English proficiency backgrounds.  She has a long history of engaging in community-university partnerships that focus on stigma reduction, access and quality-of-life agendas.  In addition to her work at UIC, she has been part of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (UCEDD) network since the mid-1990s.  She is the principal investigator of the federally-funded Partners of Refugees in Illinois Disability Employment (PRIDE) initiative.  In all these roles, she initiated new disability-focused research, training, and, service delivery models with multi-sector partners and groups. She serves on numerous boards, committees, and panels, and has published on multicultural disability issues, both locally and internationally. 


Tuyen Bui., PhD. 

is a postdoctoral Student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne advancing various social justice and disability/mental health agendas.  She has been working with Dr. Hasnain since 2019 as a LEND fellow, doctoral student and now as a postdoc.  She earned her doctorate at University of Illinois: Urbana Champagne and her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis, MO and became a lecturer and concentration head at Faculty of Social Work, University of Social Sciences and Humanity, Vietnam National University-HoChi Minh City, Vietnam. Before that, she worked several years as a social worker. Currently, she is a doctoral student of School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, USA and works as a graduate research assistant at Center for Prevention and Research Development (CPRD). Her experience involves direct practice with children, youth, and families in need; project management; coordination of social agencies network; and delivering training on case management. Her research skills include coding qualitative data using Nvivo; running statistics models using Stata and SPSS; writing IRBs, literature review, research proposal, and grants; translation English-Vietnamese and vice versa; and conducting annual review and evaluation. Her research interests include international social work, social work education, children and adolescents with disabilities. 


Ginger Leopoldo, M.A., Executive Director, Founding Member and Artistic Director of CIRCA Pintig & UIC Alum

Ms. Leopoldo is an educator, actor, director, and community organizer. She is a proud founding member of Pintig Cultural Group and the founding Artistic Director of the Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts (CIRCA). Her work includes performing, directing, producing, and facilitating theatre productions and workshops of all ages. Ginger has helped to create a youth heritage curriculum with techniques that utilize a basic integrated theatre arts workshop methodology as well as a facilitator of Activism & Art workshops for college students. She received her B.A. and M.A. in theater from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ginger has collaborated with other theatre organizations around Chicago such as Old World Theatre Company and A-Squared Theatre Workshop. With over 20 years of experience as an educator and literacy coach for public school teachers through a nonprofit that engages at-risk youth with arts-based literacy programs, in addition, she has been the Program Director for America’s Children’s Museum on Wheels: StoryBus, delivering an interactive hands-on literacy experience for young learners throughout Chicago. Most recently she has taught ESL to students in China and is an adjunct lecturer with the ESL program at the University of the Potomac. In 2020, she led CIRCA Pintig to adjust to global virtual events and productions for the community. As a community partner, she has been mentoring and supervising UIC’s ASAM and DHD students since 2012 with Dr. Hasnain. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organizational and educational leadership.


Angela Mascarenas, Ph.D., CIRCA-Pintig Founder & UIC Alum

Dr. Mascarenas is a longtime community organizer and cultural activist. She is the Co-Founder of CIRCA-Pintig (CP) and currently serves as its Community Engagement Director. She received her doctorate degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois Chicago. Her scholarly work focused on social movements, race & ethnic relations, and cultural organizing. Her doctoral dissertation, awarded the UIC Dept of Sociology’s David Street Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in Engaged Sociology, documented the two-decade cultural organizing work of CIRCA-Pintig and developed the theory of “Collective Historicizing” as CP’s concretization of the Theatre of the Oppressed and serves as the overall framework of CP’s core programs. She has conducted dramatic-popular-educational workshops in the US, Canada, and Asia and continues to engage in community research and intergenerational projects primarily in Chicago and New York.  As a community partner, Dr. Mascarenas has been mentoring UIC students since 2012 through UIC ASAM & DHD courses and community-based disability projects with Dr. Hasnain.


Hart Ginsburg, Founder of Digital Tapestries

Mr. Ginsburg has been working for the past 15 years in Chicago as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor at community-based organizations (Asian Human Services) with culturally diverse individuals; including immigrant and refugee populations by applying an integrative strength-based approach to support healing processes.   In addition to his work as a therapist, Hart founded Digital Tapestries, a Chicago-based multimedia company, which produces photographic books, music and short films that have been applied in therapeutic, international film festivals, educational, and in art therapy conference settings to provide reflective healing experiences.  Since 2010, Mr. Ginsburg has been supervising and supporting students, associates and various community-based disability projects. For more information visit: www.digitaltapestries.site

Resilience Defined Podcast (2022)