Six immigrants who have made contributions to the Tampa Bay community were honored with the American Dream Award.
By Tampa Bay Reporter
TOWN ‘N’ COUNTRY – U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, awarded six local individuals with the “American Dream Award” in a public ceremony Thursday (Sept. 20) in Town ‘n Country.
The recipients each were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments after immigrating to America and Tampa. They have excelled in the areas of business, innovation, law, education and health care, and have made remarkable contributions to our community.
“America and Tampa’s strength is our diversity,” Castor said. “I was proud to honor several extraordinary immigrants who have made remarkable contributions to our community through hard work, perseverance and love for our country and our home town: Jun (John) Wu Zhao & Jiahua (Tommy) Tang, founders of Yummy House; Dr. Yogi Goswami, Director of the University of South Florida’s Clean Energy Research Center; Adriana Dinis, immigration lawyer; Christine Campbell, school social worker; and Monica Rodriguez, chair of the Latino Coalition of Tampa Bay. They represent all walks of life – business, innovation, law, education and health care.”
Christine Campbell (education) – Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Campbell is a school social worker who oftentimes works in the background helping students, families, and teachers address problems such as truancy, social withdrawal, and the effects of special physical, emotional, or economic problems. She is co-creator of the pilot program S.W.AT. (Social Work Attendance Team), a professional learning community aimed at increasing district-wide student graduation rates through student attendance
Adriana Dinis (law): Originally from Venezuela, Dinis grew up in the Miami area. As an immigration lawyer, she has loaned her creative lawyering to better assist her clients; she has loaned her legal expertise across the region in the form of education forums, walk-in clinics and technical assistance to law enforcement and community-based organizations; and she has loaned her voice when the voiceless have needed her the most.
Dr. Yogi Goswami (research/innovation): Originally from India, he currently serves as the director of the prestigious University of South Florida’s Clean Energy Research Center and he is regarded as one of the country’s most renowned inventors, holding 23 patents. He has built an illustrious career as a researcher, inventor and educator for his contributions and development of technology related to solar energy and indoor air quality. His invention of an air purifier that kills bacteria was listed on Time magazine’s 25 best innovations of 2017.
Monica Rodriguez (community wellness): Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, she has lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1998. For 12 years of her professional life, she dedicated herself to the Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County as the supervisor of the MomCare Program. In 2010, she became a member of the Latino Coalition of Tampa Bay, an umbrella organization representing nonprofits that serve our Hispanic population, where she recognized gaps in services in our region – especially in the eastern part of Hillsborough County.
Jun (John) Wu Zhao & Jiahua (Tommy) Tang (business): Both originally from China, John Zhao and Tommy Tang have taken their devotion to authentic Chinese cuisine by founding Yummy House, first in Tampa and now with locations in Sarasota, Gainesville, Ocala and Orlando. They have also started opening Sweet Buns Bakery, the first in Gainesville by the University of Florida and will soon open a second in Tampa by the University of South Florida, to offer a variety of Asian pastries, including crepe cakes, egg tarts and 120 types of buns, which are mildly sweet, fluffy breads.