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Introducing our 2024-2025 Officers - Secretary, Rurik Tywoniw

We would like to introduce you to your JETAA Chicago Leadership Team for the 2024-2025 term! This series of officer profiles will give you a closer look at each officer's role responsibilities, motivations for pursuing a leadership role in JETAA Chicago, goals for this year, insights into their personalities, and more.


Our Secretary, Rurik Tywoniw (he/him), was an ALT in Miyazaki from 2014-2015.



Tell us more about your JET experience.


I spent my year on JET in Nobeoka-shi in Miyazaki-ken, nestled between the beach and the mountains. I worked on a circuit of 14 elementary and junior high schools in the city area. I spent my free time jogging, trail running, and biking around the beautiful, quaint city, and engaged with with Miyazaki AJET events. I met my wife Hanako, originally from Miyazaki-ken, during my JET time through an AJET event.


When did you join/how long have you been on the JETAA Chicago Leadership Board? If applicable: what positions have you held and when? 


Networking Lead, 2021-2023, Secretary, 2023-present.


What skills and experience do you bring to the JETAA Chicago leadership team?


I have been a Japanese teacher since 2011, and I love to provide opportunities for people to stay engaged with Japanese learning. I like solving problems and using lateral thinking to resolve issues.



What inspired you to step up as a leader and join the JETAA Chicago Board?


I wanted to see language-related activities return to the board, and offered to host a language night.


What is the essence/purpose of your role? (if you're a new officer, tell us more about what you are looking forward to in your officer role on the JETAA Chicago board)


As secretary, I try to be a conduit for other members to access the history and resources of our chapter.


Since our officers must embody and practice our Community Conduct and Agreements, which principle do you think is the most important, and/or which one resonated with you the most?


Be Conscious of Participation Patterns.



What is something you want to accomplish and/or focus on in your role as an officer?


Being more organized and punctual as an executive officer.


For you, what sparks joy?


  • Having nothing left on my to-do list

  • Spending time on something creative

  • Looking at a body of water

  • Remembering a word I learned in a new context

  • When my cat tries to talk to me


What is your favorite Japanese "thing" near where you live now (and/or in the Midwest)?


Japan House on the UIUC campus.


Connect with Rurik via website, Twitch, or Instagram @the_rurik!



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Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Alumni Association of Chicago
Connecting JET alumni in the Midwest - Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana
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