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Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month

Jeena S. (She/Her) - Mobile Developer at the RSC- Taco Bell Corp.

The month of May celebrates Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. AANHPI is a wide-ranging term used to describe all cultures across the continent of Asia and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia – representing approximately 50 ethnic groups and 100 languages.

This month was specifically chosen to honor the first known Japanese immigrant to the U.S. (May 1843), as well as to acknowledge the tremendous contribution Chinese immigrants made in completing the transcontinental railroad (May 1869).

With this year’s monthly theme of “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation,” we hope to elevate visionaries and trailblazers who continue to shape the AANHPI legacy at The Bell.

Visiting India to stay connected with her roots is just one way Jeena honors her AANHPI Heritage.

“My parents are from cities south of Mumbai called Kolhapur and Belgaum. So, every other year, my family takes a trip there to visit our extended family.”

Jeena’s trips to India are full of fond memories of spending time with her loved ones and indulging the infamous street food, experiences that bring her joy and deepens her connection to her heritage.

“My favorite memory is probably spending time with my grandparents, eating street food, and shopping! I’ve even spent a couple childhood birthdays there, so it was cool to celebrate with my cousins. I’ve learned more about being Indian American, and having this type of interaction with the culture has taught me to embrace diversity.”

And Jeena continues to incorporate her culture on the daily here in the States as well. Being able to go back and forth between these two worlds has made her more appreciative of different perspectives and has taught her to embrace diversity in all forms.

“There are several ways I stay connected to my roots. From eating traditional foods, speaking my parents’ regional language called Marathi, dressing up for holidays like Diwali, and watching Bollywood movies with my mom, I immerse myself in the Indian culture. These values have taught me that being able to show others the rich culture you come from is a great way to feel proud of your background! It goes a long way in breaking stereotypes and building understanding of different communities.”

Growing up as a South Asian American in Torrance, Calif., Jeena was an avid tennis player who went to California State University, Fullerton, and graduated with a degree in computer science. She found herself back in Orange County when she got accepted as an intern at Taco Bell in 2020.

“I was part of a 10-week internship program during the summer where I got a glimpse into cool projects happening at The Bell. This internship was then followed by a part time role as a developer on the Kiosk team during my last year of school, which was a nice way to stay connected with my peers! After graduating, I joined the Kiosk team full time for about a year, then switched gears to my current role as a mobile developer with the Touch-Kitchen Display System team.”

Now as a mobile developer, Jeena supports building new features for the Touch- Kitchen Display System (KDS) and making it easier for Food Champions and RGMs to manage the kitchen more efficiently. Outside of work, Jeena loves traveling and experiencing everything the world has to offer.

“I love traveling and seeking new adventures, especially outdoors. I tend to spend my free time trying new food places with friends, doing Pilates, catching up on my reality TV, walking on the beach or hiking.”

When it comes to her legacy, Jeena hopes to be remembered for the following:

“I hope to make a positive impact on the people around me by inspiring them to pursue their passions and support them throughout their accomplishments. I also want to be remembered for living an adventurous life!”

Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month