What's your name? Jon Oaks
What are your gender pronouns? He/Him/His
Where do you call home? (City, State, Country) Warren, MI, USA
Tell us a little about yourself. How do you spend your time outside of KAAN?
I am a Professor of Mathematics at Macomb Community College in Warren, MI. Outside of KAAN, I volunteer with the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) as the Midwest Vice President and TODOS: Mathematics for All as the part of the Member Services Committee. My hobbies include watching Detroit Pistons basketball and taking photographs.
What is your role on the Advisory Council?
My primary role with KAAN is to make sure the website stays up-to-date and that it meets the needs of our members. Some of the recent updates include trying to make information easier to find, and the introduction of our new blog and community calendar.
How did you hear about KAAN? How did you decide to get involved in the AC?
I heard about KAAN through a post I saw in a Korean Adoptee Facebook Group. The comments to that post were all positive and made me think that KAAN was an organization in which I would like to get involved.
How many KAAN conferences have you attended?
I have only attended two KAAN Conferences - the 2018 and 2019 Conferences in Minneapolis. Both of the conferences were amazing. My favorite part about the KAAN Conferences is the raffle prize drawings because I think they are an excellent way for me to give back to KAAN whether or not I win a prize. After writing my name on 200 raffle prize tickets in 2018, I learned my lesson and brought my personalized address stamp to the 2019 conference and stamped my name on each of the 200 raffle prize tickets. So, if you remember my name drawn at the 2019 Conference - yes, I'm that guy.
What issues/topics related to adoption are you most interested in? (e.g., What types of topics have you presented on or attended at previous KAAN conferences?)
I have yet to speak at a KAAN Conference. But the biggest issue for me is how to get all adoptees involved on a local level. I found out about KAAN and my local adoptee group through Facebook, but before that, I didn't even know there were very many adoptees in my area. I've since realized that there are so many adoptees who aren't on social media at all. I have been trying to bring as many into the community as possible. I have several people who I now text and email regularly, and having that type of support group has been helpful for all of us.
What do you love most about the KAAN community?
I love that everyone is super energetic and always working on new ideas to support each other year-round. Yes, the KAAN Conference is an excellent way for us to connect, but being able to have someone to chat with or grab a coffee with regularly is critical as well.
What is a fun or random fact people might not know about you?
Is this where I get to play two truths and a lie? All joking aside, though, I think a lot about all of the characteristics that people judge each other by every day that we can't see. For example, no one can tell that I am adopted unless I tell them. No one can know I'm colorblind unless I let them know, and the same goes for the hearing loss that I have in one ear. So, I guess my point is that there are many fun and random facts that people might not know about me.
Anything else you'd like to share with the KAAN community?
Yeah, of course! My website is www.jonoaks.com, and I'd encourage you to check me out there if you'd like to connect with me. I'd especially love to connect with adoptees in the Detroit area. So, send people my way, and we should grab a coffee or something!