Apiasf Essay Questions

2017 APIASF Scholar Profiles

APIASF/3M Scholarship

Nou Lor
Hometown: Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
Institution: Hamline University
Major: Criminal Justice

I'm a Hmong boy who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. At the age of six, my family immigrated to the U.S. in 2006, landed in Minnesota. My view of America was different from where I was born. More education and opportunities for kids and parents. But, one thing I felt the most struggle is learning how to speak and write in English. Today, I still struggle. I can't write professionally. I cannot use big vocabulary. I still have grammatical errors and I still misunderstanding of the many rules of English. Learning English, it took years. From first grade to now, I'm still not perfect, but each year, I see myself improving. As a person who like to challenge myself, I didn't give up.

Being the only Hmong person in AP English Language and Composition, I was the only one that struggled. My classmates, they worked their butt off. But me, I was like a turtle that finished last and didn't understand the materials. However, being the only Hmong, helped inspire me. I asked myself, "I can be like them. If they can do it then I can do it. Why I cannot do it and why they can?'' After seeing my AP Exam score, a one, I felt happy. I am proud of the work I've done- the 30 essays I had written nights and days for it, and plus, I finished this class with an A-. I trust this class will be useful for my future life.

My dream job is to become an FBI Agent and a police officer. Why? First, I was inspired and got motivated by my grandma. She wanted me to becoming a police officer, which is a good career job and I see myself fit best to this jobs. I am a person who cares and want to help and protect others. I know becoming an FBI Agent is hard, but I won't give up, I believe myself that I can do it.

When I saw the congratulatory email, all I felt was happiness. My College Possible Coach, my teachers, my friends, and my family were super proud of me. They said, "Because of your hard work, Nou, you deserved this scholarship." All I can said, "Thank God for believing in me."

As a low-income student without much parents support on financial needs, this scholarship is a door that opens opportunities for me to succeed my career goals and future aspirations. Thank you so much for this opportunity, 3M. This scholarship will open opportunities for me to pursue my long-term goals, such as attending the dream college of mine, and majoring in criminal justice- the road that will lead me to become an FBI Agent. Plus, with a college degree in one of these areas, I hope to impact my community in various ways. I plan to help out young teenagers who are in their transition to high school. In today's society, there are many negative factors that influence teenagers. For example, I have seen many high schoolers slacking and becoming addicted to drugs. Many of these students smoke in bathrooms, and skip class to do negative things. I want to help them understand the importance of setting goals and how the future is important. Lastly, I hope I can inspire them and make a change in their life that they can become great role models for their children and other young people. This is what I dream to accomplish in the next ten to twenty years. Again, thank you so much for making my dreams possible.

APIASF/AT&T Foundation Scholarship

Anjana Lamichhaney
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Institution: University of Texas - Arlington
Major: Biology

I am a girl who once felt like a bird whose wings were clipped and could not fly. My society rejected the idea that women could express ideas or have careers; instead, they believed we were created to work in the home. I grew up in a small village, where without vehicles it was difficult to reach hospitals, so people used wisdom from elders to treat injuries and delivered babies at home. Without sanitation, disease kept spreading and causes lots of death. Living through this sadness inspired a passion and lifelong career goal that would never have been possible in Nepal, becoming a physician.

Therefore, we moved to the United States when I was only 10 years old in a hope for better life and education. When I walked into school I realized I had a problem; I didn't know the language of my new country. It was hard to connect with people and frustrating to never understand the lessons. Then I realized I had a choice: to take advantage of my opportunity or throw it away. I decided to take it. I began reading every day and forced myself to interact with English-speakers from different backgrounds. In high school, I volunteered, earned a summer internship, joined Debate, and became the first girl from my culture to play volleyball.

Life was going well until my father decided it should change. Watching me speak English and make friends from other races made him nervous. He became convinced I was taking the wrong path, forbade me from the activities I loved, and told me to focus on housework. Quitting the groups was depressing, but it was sadder that my dad was stuck on traditional gender roles beliefs. Instead of giving up, I advocated for myself. Finally, he agreed I could continue with Debate and when we won the Dallas Urban Alliance, I showed him I was more than what our society believed; I could be a champion.

With so many negatives, it would have been easy to quit dreaming about a future. Instead, my culture shaped me into a strong, determined woman enthusiastic about the challenges ahead. Next year I will attend T-Arlington to major in Biology, then continue my path to becoming a cardiologist. Once I had no choices but now, I choose to focus on my goal and never stop. I choose to be myself, listen to my brain, and follow my heart. I choose to be my own motivation and never let anyone pull me down. I choose to be the bird who can fly. I choose to believe in me.

This is happening because of a magnificent people like AT&T's members who have such a big heart to listen to a small girl like me and my story. Thank you very much for considering me for this scholarship. This will definitely help me in a very long term and lot more. I am very grateful for this opportunity. When I first received an email saying I was selected, I was screaming and hugging my parent because I was extremely happy. At that time, I felt acceptable and capable of achieving thing in life. So Thank You once again.

APIASF/Coca-Cola Foundation Scholarship

Michelle Chang
Hometown: Rosemead, California
Institution: University of California - Berkeley
Major: Biology

Education is one of my highly held values because my refugee parents never had a chance to pursue education due to the Vietnam War. At a young age, I learned how education promotes social mobility from watching how hard my parents worked in order to support our family of seven. As a low-income, first-generation student, my greatest accomplishment and challenge in life is being the first in my family to attend college. Though I struggled navigating and retaining myself in higher education, I continue to persevere in receiving an education despite financial and personal setbacks along my journey.

I plan to become a physician-scientist who works with under-resourced communities. I view health as a human right, not a privilege. Witnessing the preventable health complications that my immigrant, refugee family developed, such as hypertension and diabetes, I committed myself to the field of medicine and public health since high school. After losing both my grandparents due to the lack of cultural understanding from the health professionals, I acknowledge the importance of having culturally sensitive health professionals. Furthermore, my passion for research developed from my experiences working with Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum in creating the first cancer health briefs that disaggregated Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders data for 21 states with the highest Asian and Pacific Islander populations.

Thank you Coca-Cola Foundation for supporting me in pursuing my educational dreams and journey to medicine. This scholarship alleviates my financial burdens of attending university and gives me the opportunity to commit more time serving immigrant and disadvantaged communities through service, research, and education.

I am looking forward to continuing my education at University of California Berkeley this fall after having been away for two years. I am majoring in Public Health and Integrative Biology because I am interested in the intersections of human and environmental health and how one affects the other. Pursuing my passions would have been more difficult without the support from Coca-Cola Foundation. Once again, I am very grateful and blessed to be a Coca-Cola Foundation Scholar!

APIASF/Cox Enterprises Scholarship

Oanh Nguyen
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Institution: The University of Texas at Austin
Major: Neuroscience and Neurobiology

My name is Oanh Nguyen. As a first generation college student, first high school graduate, and first generation immigrant, it has been a life changing journey. At the age of four months, I emigrated from Vietnam with my parents to the United States. We had arrived in America with about $200 and nothing else, but the clothes on our backs. Even at a young age, I understood that my parents worked extensive hours through long nights to be able to provide me with a roof over my head and a comfortable life. Therefore, I am truly grateful for my parents who have always supported me and have constantly been by my side.

In the fall of 2017, I will be attending the University of Texas at Austin as a neuroscience major and could be happier to pursue my career as an emergency physician. I would like to thank the Asian Pacific Islander Scholarship Foundation and the Cox Enterprises Scholarship Foundation for awarding me with $2,500. This financial support will allow me to study with a better financial wellbeing as I start college in the fall.

APIASF/FedEx Scholarship

Natasha Reberungun Loochaz
Hometown: Yap, Micronesia
Institution: Canisius College
Major: Mathematics

Coming from a poor family, I have learned to be more appreciative of the help I get. This scholarship may seem like a small help to some, but to me, it is life changing. It is the key that has unlocked the door to a countless amount of opportunities that wouldn't have been possible for me if it wasn't for this scholarship. My family faces many financial struggles because both my parents are self-employed. Our only source of income is from a small store which we own in the village. Although we are struggling, my parents want me to have the best education possible. They have made an infinite amount of sacrifices just so I can have a better future. Every day I put my best effort into my academic studies because I do not want all their hard work to go to waste. Everything I do, I do in hopes that one day I would be able to give back to my parents for all they have done for me. Because I know how hard my parents have struggled to support our family, financially, I am determined to succeed so all their hard work and sacrifices would have been worth it.

When I go to college, I want to major in mathematics. I have always been passionate about math. I haven't decided what career I will have, but I am not worried because mathematics can be applied to almost every situation. My plan is to major in mathematics, then to come back to Yap to help my island. When I get my Master's Degree in mathematics, it will be around the time that the Compact of Free Association comes to an end. I am planning to get a job that will allow me to help the government in areas such as budgeting and finances. Yap is my home, and it is one of the many factors that has shaped my life into what it is today. Yap has taught me that even the smallest things can make a huge difference. It has always been a goal of mine to help give back to my island. Everything I do, I do it for my family and my home island.

Words cannot even begin to express how grateful my family and I are for this scholarship. It has made it possible for me to pursue a higher education in hopes that it will help me achieve my goals. I want to thank the scholarship donors for their generosity because if it were not for them then it would be impossible for me to achieve my goals.

APIASF/Frances Sonn Nam Memorial Scholarship

Chloe Qi Pan
Hometown: West Bloomfield, Michigan
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: International Relations

As a child, I learned about magic from dim sum. Each day after twelve hours of work, my mom would bring home her victorious spoils: fresh leftovers from the day, nicely packaged into takeout boxes, occasionally topped off with an extra almond cookie as treat. We'd sit around our dining table with its mismatched chairs and broken lights, and the room would be awash in laughter and warmth. My mother showed me the power of resilience and the importance of understanding "existence as resistance" - to thrive in a world where the odds aren't always stacked in your favor. I grew up in a low-income, first-generation immigrant household that was rampant with domestic violence and drug abuse. My mother raised me and my younger brother in what was virtually a single-parent household. Her strength taught me the importance of being unapologetic about my narrative. This has strongly influenced my passion for a career in public service in order to challenge the systemic barriers that exist for historically marginalized communities.

As a high schooler, I became involved with then-President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. This ignited my interest in policy innovation through a framework of social justice and I became involved with local restorative justice efforts. During this time, I also interned at the Michigan 48th District Court and the Office of the Township Supervisor. I eventually graduated high school after four years of leadership in our student government, policy debate team, and law club.

I'm currently a rising senior at UCLA pursuing a double major in International Development and Asian American Studies. Having the opportunity to have an education in ethnic studies has been pivotal to my understanding of movement-building rooted in solidarity and love. In the last three years, I've served on our inaugural Student Advisory Board to the Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; successfully advocated for the creation of UCLA's first Public Service Living Learning Community as a Resident Assistant; and was most recently elected to serve as Student Body External Vice President.

I've also spent my last three summers working in community advocacy-related efforts in Washington, D.C; first as the youngest intern at the White House Initiative on Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, later as an OCA Summer Scholar at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and now as an intern for the House Judiciary Committee. None of these opportunities would have been possible without the support of my communities and the generations of activists who came before me to pave the way for women of color.

It truly takes a village, and I'm so grateful for the support of programs like the APIASF/Frances Sonn Nam Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is especially meaningful because of how much public service has shaped my life thus far, and I hope to give back one day through pursuing a law career at the nexus of civil rights advocacy and policy reform.

APIASF/Hong Kong Scholarship

Mia Dao Brozovich
Hometown: Carson City, Nevada
Institution: University of Nevada - Reno
Major: Business

Hello my name is Mia Dao Brozovich and I am from Carson City, Nevada. This upcoming fall of 2017, I will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno a part of the business major. I am honored to be selected as a 2017 APIASF Scholar. Throughout my 18 years of living, I have gone through many hardships and challenges. At 4 days old, I was rushed to the Sunrise Hospital where I had to undergo a heart surgery that led the doctors to the youngest heart surgery conducted and I only had a 25 % chance of living. 11 months later, I was an older sister to my younger sister named Kaeli. Growing up together has always been fortunate because I always had a friend to help me through my hardships. This year marks 13 years since I have had contact with my biological dad and his family. I will always remember the times I got verbally and physically abused. Now at 18 years old, I am fortunate and more than glad that this happened to me because I would not be who I am today. I am thankful that I spent every day, every hour and every minute with my mother's side of the family because they are the one to help me strive for my success and are the people I am glad to call family. I was raised by my grandparents, Uncle and Aunt this past year and I could not have been more thankful for them. I am thankful that they stood by my side everyday pushing me towards when I needed it to be where I am today.

I am onto my next adventure to pursue my dreams of becoming and International Business Marketer. I have always been raised to believe in culture and business. This profession is believed to be mine. I am currently trilingual speaking fluent Vietnamese and English while being an advanced student in Spanish. One day I want to be able to be a part of a huge corporation in the federal government or be a part of an organization where I can serve people by giving back while being passionate of being a translator. Being in leadership and community service positions has and will always been my passion and I want to take it further by socializing and speaking for what I love. I want to travel the world and go through many experiences while loving the job i pursue in.

As an Asian and Pacific Islander, education and culture is important to me because it is a privilege to have and should not be taken for granted. Being raised in today's society, I have learned that we are stereotyped to do certain jobs or being labeled but as we all know it is not true. I have been raised through culture and I have learned that culture becomes a huge part of you whether you speak another language or not and it can be lost within you if you don't practice and appreciate it. I have learned that education is a privilege not given and we can do anything if we do it with 110% effort. Together we can stand as a bullet and prove these people wrong. I have been stereotyped to only grow up to do nails because my family does it and I am Vietnamese. I am a proud Vietnamese and have grown up to have what I want because of that profession but will not let this stereotype stop me from being successful. At school, I am an involved student in almost every extracurricular activity holding an officer position. As you can see, I have stood with success the past 4 years as an Asian Pacific Islander student and everyone is capable of doing what they want if they believe in success, faith, and culture.

APIASF/Hope Foundation Scholarship

Jennifer Loo
Hometown: New York, New York
Institution: Georgetown University
Major: Public Policy

Hi! My name is Jennifer Loo and I'm from New York City, NY. I am a community organizer and a theatre and film artist. I come from a low-income Chinese immigrant family that constantly inspires me to take initiative and make the world a better place. My mother and father have overcome immense adversity to be in America, and have taught me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I'm so grateful for them, as well as the incredible mentors I've been lucky to have in my high school career.

I became interested in local activism while interning at the W.O.W. Project, a discussion space for NYC's Chinatown residents to talk about the future of the neighborhood. Here, I had the opportunity to connect with my community members about their biggest concerns—most notably, displacement from gentrification. I learned about the rising price of rents and groceries, the pain of families forced to move away, and the continued efforts of local organizations to stop this. Though I witnessed their pain, I also witnessed their strength in how they supported each other and protested awful circumstances. The resilience of NYC's Chinatown, and immigrant communities all across the country, will never fail to amaze and inspire me.

I'm beyond grateful to the APIASF/Bank of Hope Scholars program for helping me achieve my college dreams. As I head off to college, I will not forget the community that first inspired me to act. Urban gentrification is not unique to New York City; it is an issue that is displacing families' worldwide, worsening income inequality and race and class tensions. At Georgetown University in the fall, I hope to gain the policy knowledge and analytical tools to be able to come back and address those concerns, both locally and worldwide.

APIASF/Minnesota Community Scholarship

Christina Vo
Hometown: Rochester, Minnesota
Institution: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Major: Kinesiology

My name is Christina Vo and I am a second-year student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I have always had a passion to be in the medical field, so I am currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Medical Laboratory Science in hopes of going to medical school and becoming a physician. It has been my dream to be a pediatrician so I can help with the health care of children. I want to work with children because I am an only child, but I have a very large extended family. From my family background, I have always felt a sense of protecting and caring for my cousins any way I can.

An adversity I had to overcome was figuring out how I would pay for my education. Education is something that my family and I will always value because education is a luxury. My parents immigrated from Vietnam for better opportunities for their family, so they never got the luxury of education. For this reason, I will never take my higher education for granted.

The University of Minnesota Twin- Cities is a very diverse institution, so I joined many student organizations such as the Asian Student Union, Pre- Med AMSA, and the Minnesota Student Association. It was also an honor to serve as a Senator in the University Senate as a first-year student.

Giving back to my community has always been a priority of mine. I was a Mayo Clinic Young Volunteer throughout my four years of high school. This past year, I was able to volunteer with Feed My Starving Children, and I will be volunteering my time this summer at the Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota. In the future, I hope to open a free clinic in Rochester as a way of giving back to my hometown community. When I become a physician, I hope to open this free clinic to help anyone who is need of health care. Whether it be the flu or someone who does not have health insurance I want to help provide as much as I can.

I want to thank APIASF/ Minnesota Community Scholarship for helping me with my higher education journey with this scholarship. Financial aid has always been an ongoing adversity my family and I are trying to overcome, so my family and I are beyond grateful for the APIASF/ Minnesota Community Scholarship. When my family and I found out that I was a recipient of the APIASF/ Minnesota Community Scholarship we were thankful and appreciative. It is important for Asian and Pacific Islander American students to pursue higher education because we deserve the equality, successes, and opportunities that higher education provides. Asian Americans and Pacific Islander students need a chance to prove that we are just as smart, diligent, and brave as anyone else. We should be proud of our culture and how our families have raised us to be. Family income, immigration status, or anything in general should not get in the way from a student and their education.

APIASF/MUFG Union Bank Scholarship

TerrillJames Williams
Hometown: Chula Vista, California
Institution: University of California, San Diego
Major: Education

Higher education is important to me because my mother was very influential in instilling the value of education in me; due to opportunities for higher education not being made available to her in Hawai'i because she is a Kanaka Maoli woman, she enlisted in the United States navy. Because of her being unable to receive her education, she made sure that I had her support in my educational journey. This academic school year was a great mixture of financial instability because of increasing costs of tuition and students' fees, my mother's separation and divorce, and rapidly changing housing situations which made it much more challenging to fully focus on my academics because of working multiple jobs and commuting long distances all the while being a full-time student.

I will be entering into my senior year at the University of California, San Diego as an Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies double-major, predominantly focusing on law and human resources, and minoring in Education Studies. In the context of the University of California, San Diego, there is a large disparity in the demographics of Pacific Islander students present at the University where there are less than sixty self-identified Pacific Islander students out of a 33,300+ student population.

I would like to thank APIASF/MUFG Union Bank Scholarship for this opportunity as it will help me in continuing to be academically successful. As a first generation Pacific Islander student, this scholarship is truly critical as it helps to make higher education a reality for students of Pacific Island descent. Once I complete my undergraduate education, I plan to pursue graduate school and will be looking into the following universities as potential avenues: University of California, Irvine (UCI), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California, Berkeley (UCB), University of Hawai'i at Manoa (UHM), and the University of Hawai'i at Hilo (UHH).

APIASF/NBC Universal Scholarship

Zoe Kintaro
Hometown: Koror, Palau
Institution: University of Guam
Major: Communications

My name is Zoe Kintaro, and I come from a small island in the Pacific, called the Republic of Palau. Growing up, my parents constantly emphasized the importance of education and that education in itself is the key to succeeding in life. My mother always stressed how there is no time to take breaks from school, because anything can happen to interrupt or put a stop to your educational career. I grew up with both parents around, supporting me every step of the way in my educational journey, instilling values in me from a very young age. In the summer of 2015, my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and was set to leave to Hawaii for a medical referral. My father took my place as my mother's escort and care taker, and both of my parents insisted I stay home, watch over my sisters and continue the school year at my college. Being a full time student while working part time and taking care of my sisters was not as smooth as I had expected it to be. Despite the hardship and heartbreak that that year had brought my family, I came out of it stronger, and so much more motivated to take charge of my life.

I am aiming to enter into a career that can enable me to become a voice for my community and its members. I want to be able to help not only the little people, but everyone in my community have their voices and stories be heard. Pursuing a higher education is very important because I will provide me with the means to reach my career goals. With the help of this scholarship, I am sure that my first year at a university will be much smoother and that I will be one step closer to achieving my goals. Thank you so much to APIASF and NBC Universal for this opportunity and for supporting my educational journey.

APIASF/NFTA-USA Giving Circle Scholarship

David L. Alejandrino
Hometown: Torrance, California
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Mathematics

I grew up in a low-income family of six that lives in a two-bedroom apartment. My dad is a drafter at an architectural firm, whereas my mom is a homemaker. The financial struggle created by my family's circumstances is felt on a daily basis. However, by sharing my past and explaining the roots of my values, I have been able to connect with others on an entirely new level. What I had believed to be a challenge formed by socio-economic difference was merely a obstacle I had created in my mind. Overcoming this mental obstacle has allowed me to act with more compassion, become a better leader, and view things from different perspectives.

I am a current senior in high school, and as a current senior, I am frequently asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" When I was younger, I often found myself uncomfortable with the fact that I did not know how to answer this question. Overtime, I've come to realize that it's okay to not know exactly what it is I want to do. What I do know, however, is that I can utilize the tools given to me on my journey to help reach my destination. I can seek support from peers, receive guidance from mentors, and maintain the motivation to keep learning, doing, and inspiring. Whatever career I may end up in, it is my utmost desire to be a leader and create an uplifting environment in which my fellow employees not only feel appreciated and valued, but also carry a sense of purpose in what they are doing to help better society. My aspiration is to continue growing both personally and intellectually, while also remaining passionate in my profession.

In addition to my future profession, my hope for the future is to focus on a specific group of kids-- the KIWIN'S members of a particular school-- and to help them build character. I am currently the President of my school's KIWIN'S, and it truly warms my heart to see the members falling in love with serving others wholeheartedly. I wish to take this role to an even greater extent by becoming a KIWIN'S advisor one day. Through my mentorship, I would want the kids I work with year after year to become leaders on a quest for service and for spreading the ideals of compassion and team-building. I aim to leave a broader impact on the community by deeply impacting the younger generations, who will in turn continue to have a positive effect on the people they come across in life.

As I move on to the next chapter of my life, I look forward to living independently and establishing new relationships with my classmates, professors, and counselors. Most of all, I am eager to grow as person. Beginning in the fall, I plan to pursue an education in applied math. Throughout my life, I have excelled in math and I cannot imagine myself following any other field of study. I would like to take the time to explore different mathematical perspectives while in college and absorb as much information as I can so that I may be able to improve upon my own skills and discover how I can contribute to society.

I was dancing with my school's Hip Hop Club when I received the email notification that I had won the scholarship. I was moved with a burst of emotion as I went to hug the friends that were around me at the time. Later, I came home and told my family and they were very proud of what I had accomplished. I believe it's crucial for Asian and Pacific Islander American students to pursue higher education because with each and every student that stops his/her education, the world is losing the next Albert Einstein; it's losing the potential to cure cancer, or to create the next ground-breaking invention. Every student has a new perspective to offer, and has the capacity to change the world. In my community, education is the key to helping young students widen their perspectives and further our society in the years to come.

It is an incredible honor to be receiving the APIASF/NFTA-USA Giving Circle Scholarship. I would like to personally thank those who took the time and consideration in selecting me to receive this scholarship. This investment in my education will go towards furthering my college experience, possibly going towards a new laptop that I can use in the classroom and any textbooks that I may need. Once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

APIASF/Southern California Edison STEM Scholarship

Nhi Khanh Ly
Hometown: Garden Grove, California
Institution: University of California, Irvine
Major: Engineering

Academic Decathlon is definitive of my high school career. I learned how to time manage between studying for my AP courses, getting involved in other extracurricular activities, and learning the ten subjects of Academic Decathlon. I polished my public speaking skills until stage fright was not even a part of my vocabulary, and even achieved second place at the Academic Decathlon competition. Through this club, I learned how to be a leader- to delegate the workload to other board members, to take initiative with new ideas, and to resolve issue calmly and effectively.

Utilizing my experience in Academic Decathlon, I want to be an engineer leader and take charge of my own projects. Instead of working at a day to day normal desk job, I want to lead a team of fellow civil engineers to create grand structures that strike awe in others. I want to display to others the art that exists beyond the canvas- of the mathematical beauty and grace of each bridge and building. But before I can even hope to achieve any of that, I must go to college. Therefore, I am honored and very appreciative to APIASF/Southern California Edison STEM Scholarship for the opportunity to take that first step towards my goal.

APIASF/TAAP (A Toyota Giving Circle) Scholarship

Roy Kwon
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Major: Biochemistry

My name is Roy Kwon and I am the valedictorian of Orthopedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School. I will be attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall, and will be majoring in biomedical engineering to pursue a path in cardiology as a cardiac surgeon to alleviate the pain that heart diseases bring to both the patients and their loved ones.

I came to America from Korea when I was twelve, so it was hard for me to overcome the language barrier. I was still speaking Korean at home and didn't have other opportunities to use English enough for me to familiarize myself with it. Classes such as English and history, where I was forced to read, write and speak English, were a struggle for me. I was falling behind in many social science and English classes, losing confidence not only in those classes, but also in other places that required me to apply knowledge of the language. However, I slowly but steadily got used to the terms in English and gained knowledge about English sentence structures through word problems in math. Eventually, the sentences did not seem as threatening as they had always been, and I was able to replicate some of the sentence structures that I had seen in books. The point where the language sparked in me did not come until tenth grade summer when I attended a summer college math program at Stanford, where I chose to take additional English programs in professional development periods. Overcoming the language barrier ignited a passion in me to better myself as a writer and a thinker. Once I became as fluent as everyone else, I no longer had any excuse to fall behind.

Free from the language barrier, I started to actively participate in contributing to my community. Instead of waiting for opportunities, I started making my own: assuming leadership roles, tutoring underclassmen, and founding clubs that reflected my values. With the level of academic rigor in the summer program fueling me throughout junior year, each time I encountered a challenge or thought that I should settle, I remembered how my friends from Stanford never ceased to better themselves as individuals and learners and tried to mimic their behavior. Even though we all live in different countries, we developed strong bonds, still keep in touch and share stories that make us reflect on our experiences. Today, learning any new challenging material reminds me of the summer program and motivates me to overcome the challenge while keeping a humble attitude.

About a month ago, I was notified that I was admitted to MIT. Words cannot describe how much love and support my loved ones including family, friends and teachers provided for me to get into such a prestigious school. Coming from a low-income background, it also worried me that the cost of attendance for MIT is over 68,000 dollars. So I thank you, TAAP, for giving me such generous scholarship to help me in my path to a career field that I chose influenced by witnessing first-hand what patients with heart diseases had to suffer. I believe that with this scholarship, I will be able to attend MIT without worrying about financial hardships and focus on my academics so that I can become a successful person and provide opportunities like this scholarship to other students who need financial assistance just as much as I did.

APIASF/Target Foundation Scholarship

Tha Leh
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Institution: Metropolitan State University
Major: Social Work

My name is Tha Leh and I am originally from Thailand refugee camp in Southeast Asia, but had to flee with my family to America to be relocated when I was 16 years old. Having a chance to go to college and having the freedom to do what I wanted is the biggest change I have faced in my life because I am the first person in my family to graduate from college and attend university. I never thought I would get to go to college back home. College was something that I never dreamed of when I lived in refugee camp. Even though I was able to go to school in refugee camp, there was not enough teachers, school supplies, and class rooms. Things changed when my family found out we were coming to the United States.

I have faced many challenges as a refugee and immigrant to the United States. One of the biggest challenges I have faced I don't get enough support and encouragement from my parents and family.

My career goal is to get a job in human survives related files to help people. I want to work in these files because I want to help people and also because I believe my ability to understand both the Karanni and English culture will help to close the gap in human survives disparities here in the U.S. and aboard.

I am delighted to have received the APIASF/Target Foundation Scholarship for the 2017-18 academic school year. I sincerely want to thank you for your support. As a refugee from Thailand, my family has little financial resources. Your help means a lot to me and my family appreciate your help. Your help will help me to complete my long-term personal, educational and career goals. I plan to major in Human Survives and get a job after I graduate from Metropolitan State University to help people in the community. I will help my community after I have completed my education by interpreting for them and help them to read a letter from mail. Because in my community there are many people that don't know how to speak English and they need help. Even when they go to the hospital or clinic there isn't enough interpreter for them. So if I work in the human survives, I will be ready to help them anytime. Again thank you very much for your help and your help made me to confident and ready to go to college.

I think it is important for Asian and Pacific Islander American students to pursue higher education because education is a life changing opportunity.

Lastly, thank you again for your support.

APIASF/Toyota Scholarship

Steven Vinh Luong
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Institution: University of California - San Diego
Major: Biochemistry

I have grown up in Lincoln Heights in East Los Angeles. I am the youngest of eight and the only male child. I live in a small, cluttered bedroom shared with two of my sisters and work on a small desk located not too far from my noisy living room. The clamor of my family members conversing on the phone and the noise from the television set is always present during my studying time. Despite these challenges, I have succeeded at becoming a top ranked student at my school and have learned to never take my education for granted. Due to my parent's uneducated background, I took charge of my education and sought out the best possible path by becoming part of the magnet system. Being in a magnet environment has enabled me to take advantage of educational opportunities such as Science Bowl and Science Olympiad. My participation in these competitions developed my passion and desire to pursue a career in the field of science.

With this being said, I aspire to become a physician with a major in biochemistry. My ultimate goals are to return to my own community, provide healthcare to those in need of medical attention and help communities live a long, healthy, and prosperous life. I believe that with a higher degree of education and expansive knowledge base in the field of medicine, I will be able to provide health care many communities are lacking in. I see education as a path that will allow me to overcome the struggles my parents have faced, aid my parents in the future, make new connections, and explore the world.

Not only do I have an aspiration of helping those in need medically speaking, but I wish to continue the volunteer work that I have previously done at my public library: educating and tutoring elementary and middle school students in their school work. I desperately yearn younger students from impoverished communities to take advantage of educational opportunities. With this being said, I hope to teach a vast majority of students of how education is the single most important aspect in life and hope they set education as their highest priority. I aspire to become a mentor for these students because I not only want to assist them in their learning, but also inspire them to not let their disadvantaged background define who they are or who they will become. Offering this kind of help will allow these students to develop the skills to think for themselves and in turn hopefully one day they too will give back to their community.

Being awarded the APIASF/Toyota Scholarship is truly an honor. This scholarship will allow me to advance my educational journey and help me fulfill my aspiration of becoming a physician. With this scholarship, I have the opportunity to help those in need and help younger generation of students become motivated and inspired to learn in the future. Thank you for selecting me for the APIASF/Toyota Scholarship!

APIASF/United Health Foundation Scholarship

Adrian Gilhang
Hometown: Brea, California
Institution: Cyprus College
Major: Nursing

My life completely changed when I moved from the Philippines to the United States when I was ten. Knowing little English and having to adapt to a new culture I never knew before, I had a difficult time adjusting my life during the first year. I developed more friendships and relationships as I grew older in junior high school. I played all different types of sport that are available to my reach including basketball, baseball, volleyball, football, and tennis. I was a student-scholar and the captain of the tennis team in high school and also won the city baseball league. I was part of many clubs in high school such as Red Cross, California Scholars Foundation, Ecology, Asian Pacific Islander Club, Anime Club, and Sports Club. I was also working part-time at a local pizza place in order to help pay for my school necessities instead of asking from my parents. I was ecstatic to have graduated in high honors, but my family moved to another state after I received my diploma.

During the first year of my college, I lived with one of my grandparents. Since my closest family moved to Texas, I had to adapt once again living by myself as an adult. I looked forward to developing more friendships in college. I've decided to attend Cypress College because of my financial situation. I wasn't able to afford to attend the University I've dreamed of going. So I worked two jobs in order to pay some bills. I worked at the school Transfer Center and a fast food chain. At first, I declared my major as Business, but I realized in myself that I've always wanted to help others around me just like my parents took care of me. I wouldn't be able to be who I am now if it wasn't for them. I want to repay them back by finishing a higher education and giving hand to others who are in need.

I, Adrian Gilhang, would like to personally say thank you to the United Health Foundation Scholarship. This scholarship surprised me in an amazing way. I was having a stressful day because of studying for finals. I looked at my email and read the award information then happiness burst in me and relieved all my stress as well as my family. Because of this, I was able to do well on my finals. This will also help me with my financial expenses in the future. I plan to volunteer my time with Red Cross and Homeless Helping Programs as well. Lastly, it's important for Asian and Pacific Islander American students to pursue higher education because it can change the community to a better place. We can invent new things, reach out to those in need, and open closed doors of opportunities to those who aren't able to open it. It doesn't matter what ethnicity you are, education is a powerful tool that can shape our communities for the better.

APIASF/Wells Fargo Foundation Scholarship

Andrew Tissera
Hometown: Blandon, Pennsylvania
Institution: Pace University
Major: Business

Prioritizing family is a quality that my mother exemplified all throughout my childhood, and I have come to identify closely with this trait. My maternal family has been and continues to be a major driving force in my growth as a person. With the knowledge that my mother and her siblings immigrated to this country in order to create better lives, I find inspiration to achieve my fullest potential. I grew up watching a family of strong-minded colored women work tirelessly to establish stability for themselves in times of systemic misogyny and racial oppression. They taught me true resilience; what it means to persevere even at times when the world seems to be working against you. All of these aspects only made hardship more apparent in my family's life. I witnessed the ongoing financial struggle that everyone in my family works to overcome. Like many immigrant families, my relatives stressed education as a means of survival in a rapidly advancing world. "You don't want to end up working manual labor like us..." was a common narrative that my aunts used to emphasize their point.

Aside from this, my upbringing ingrained in me the value of hard work and dedication. It was also something with which I did not completely agree because of the work ethic they epitomized. By applying that mentality to my life, I have been able to balance academics, extracurricular activities, and a part-time job. Regardless of their insistent dismissal of their accomplishments, I am humbled by the countless sacrifices my family has made so that I have the chance to pursue a better life. While American ideals were prominent at home, my heritage was never undermined. As I am grateful to my family for pushing me to create pathways and solutions, I am endlessly thankful to the APIASF/ Wells Fargo Scholarship. This scholarship will enable me to further myself not only as a student, but as an Asian-Pacific American. In a world that is plagued with inequality and injustice, I am honored to represent a minority with the opportunity you've made available to me. Thank you, once again.

The Walt Disney Company/APIASF Scholarship

Ke'olani Kahale
Hometown: Kailua, Hawaii
Institution: Chapman University
Major: Biological Sciences

I would like to immediately start off by saying how utterly thankful I am to the APIASF/The Walt Disney Company Scholarship.

My name is Ke'olani Kahale. I am classified as an independent student, meaning that preparing for college was exceptionally difficult for me financially. Being one of four children under my grandparents' legal guardianship was a struggle and forced my grandmother to put her career on hold to care for us, while my grandfather spent his days hard at work to ensure we had enough to live comfortably. Their dedicated mentalities have created such an impact on my life, and I aim always to make them proud. Throughout my time in high school, under gracious financial aid, I was able to focus on my academics and challenge myself in and out of the classroom. This year I have graduated with an academic honors diploma and several letters of recognition that I am proud to have earned. I am also an active member of my community and always strive to remain heavily involved in extracurriculars through being a part of clubs and volunteering.

Not wanting to burden my grandparents with any additional costs, I took on three jobs while I was in high school so that I could care for any personal costs and begin to save for my future college education. This fall, I will be attending Chapman University and major in biological sciences. I intend on applying to veterinary school after my undergraduate studies. To accomplish this goal, I will have to work diligently. This scholarship serves as a strong sense of foundation for me and my goals because it motivates me to pursue my studying without having to worry about going into debt. I have been interested in working with animals clinically for as long as I can remember. Throughout my childhood, my family has encouraged me by fostering my love for animals, and through more recent research experiences, I have been able to strengthen this aspiration further.

Coming from a Native Hawaiian background, I would also like to work on giving back to my community. I would like to be able to utilize the knowledge that I learn about working with wildlife not only to educate but also to take care of my home's endemic species like the endangered monk seal, etc. Work like this is essential to ensure that these factors in our community are around for generations to come. Finally, I believe that it is extremely important for Asian and Pacific Islander American students to pursue higher education so that they may create better options for themselves and also experience critical exposure; they can share their unique cultures and diversity and celebrate its integration amongst the majority in the United States.

My family and I cannot thank you enough for granting me with this amazing scholarship. I hope to convey my appreciation through success in and out of school, so that I may represent not only Pacific Islanders but also this scholarship organization well. Mahalo.

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2011 APIASF Scholar Profiles

Shirirang Ajvalia
APIASF / USA Funds Scholar
Hometown: West Orange, NJ
High School: Seton Hall Preparatory
College: Rutgers University
Major: Biology

Anticipation. Concern. Anxiety. Excitement. These are a few words that have described my senior year in looking forward to the college experience. Being a part of the first generation of my family to be born in America, everyone has always stressed the importance of college and getting a good education. Since my parents were immigrants from India I have visited their homeland many times and have seen the poor health and sanitary conditions of rural areas. As such, with the encouragement from my family, I aspire to one day become a Pediatrician in hopes of helping the underprivileged children of the world. Back to my emotions during senior year: I not only was excited in taking the next step toward reaching my goal but at the same time nervous about how my family and I would be able to afford higher education. I remember when my counselor first advised me to apply for the APIASF Scholarship. Despite my doubts about receiving a nationally esteemed award, I wrote the required essays with optimism. This school year began with concern and anxiety but I am happy to say that with the help of APIASF I will be attending Rutgers University this fall and am majoring in Biology for Pre-Med. I would like to thank APIASF for awarding me the USA Funds Scholarship and helping me ease the financial burden of going to college.

Ashley Chand
APIASF / Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation Scholar
Hometown: Portland, OR
High School: De La Salle North Catholic
College: Portland State University
Major: Education

Being an award recipient from the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund has given me more motivation and hope to succeed as a Pacific Islander. My family was very proud to see me being noticed as a winner, it's a huge honor in my home, because I will be the first in my family to leave home, and go to college. I will be attending a four-year university in Oregon. I will be majoring in Political Science, and minor in public health. I want to work toward being an immigrations attorney. I want to be able to assistant and educate people who are not familiar with American laws a way to start and build their lives here in America. My family came here from the Fiji Islands so I can understand how hard it is to start in the United States coming from a different country. I also have a passion for educating the youth, so I would like to work with them as a way to giving back to the community when I receive my education. I am a very hard working student in school. I always push myself to get the highest grade I can get in all my classes. I want to be able to make a voice for myself and family in college as a young ambitious striving woman. I want to gain independence in college being away from home. Asian and Pacific Islander students barely get the recognition as a race; we have a lot of different back grounds and cultures to offer in the higher institutions as leaders.

Shong Yang
APIASF / Sodexo Foundation Scholar
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
High School: Harding High School
College: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Major: Computer Engineering

As I plan on continuing my education at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, I plan on majoring in computer engineering. Throughout my college years, I hope to gain more knowledge in the IT industry. Within four years, I hope to receive my bachelor's degree to pursue my lifelong career. Once I graduate from college, I plan on becoming a computer engineer at a professional business. When I received my award letter from Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, I was full of happiness. My heart broke out into a cry of happiness. My parents wouldn't believe me until I showed them proof. I never expected that they were going to be happier than I was. At my high school, I was announced an award winner on our senior honor day. I couldn't feel more proud than I had at that moment. Not only should Asian and Pacific Islander American students pursue higher education, everyone should aim for higher education. As I always say, "education is the answer to everything." With lots of education, one will go further and be more successful in life. With little or no education one will have less success and struggle for a better future. I just want to take this time to thank all the donors of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. Without your generosity, Asian and Pacific Islander American recipients would have less of a chance to continue our education. Thank you for all your support.

Marisch Perera
APIASF / AT&T Foundation Scholar
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
High School: CSI High School for International Studies
College: Pace University
Major: Communications

As a first generation South-Asian American, I learned that education is the foundation of a bright and successful future. Knowing that, I strive to accomplish all my educational goals, to live above the influence, and to give back to my community. I will be attending Pace University in Manhattan this fall. As an undergraduate, I will be majoring in Communication Studies. I am interested in learning about mass media and how I can incorporate fields of communications studies and apply them to law, politics, and government, while being qualified for entry-level positions in broadcasting and public relations. In college, I plan to play an active room in my school and local community. As an Asian and Pacific Islander American student, it is important for me to take control of my education and my life. I will not sit back and expect everything to work out, because the responsibility for acquiring the education I seek rests ultimately on myself. When I found out I was selected as a recipient of the APIASF/AT&T Foundation Scholarship, I never felt so proud of all I have accomplished. This scholarship showed me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and it encouraged me to challenge myself to make a difference. Ultimately, the award served as an opportunity for me to go out and achieve my best.

Keali'I Ka'aikala
APIASF / Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation Scholar
Hometown: Kahului, HI
High School: Kamehameha Schools Maui
College: University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
Major: Horticltural Science

Showing my family and friends that my future goals means something to people that care, and that they're people that are willing to give me a chance to pursue my future career plans by giving me a scholarship such as this. It is important that Asian Pacific Islander students pursue higher education to help make a difference in the world and community. Receiving higher education shows that we are able to compete for important jobs in the community. Education is very important to me because I personally know people who only went to get their high school diploma and the community impact they did wasn't as tremendous as people who got their Bachelor's, Master's, and Associate's degrees. As a Hawai’ian and coming from a background with parents doing drugs, I realize I can make a difference once I set my mind to it. I plan on going through college, meeting new friends and finish my major in Agriculture and Hawai’ian Studies. Using these majors and gaining new experiences as a journey off into the real world, I will become something greater than my parents. My future career goal is to start farming agriculture back on my home island on Maui, teaching others the importance of Hawai’ian agriculture and how it relates to Hawai’ians and the cultural importance.

Shao Cong Mo
APIASF / UnitedHealthcare Scholar
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
High School: Abraham Lincoln High School
College: University of California, San Diego
Major: Computer Science

Being a Chinese immigrant was not something I appreciated when I first came to the United States. Knowing only the 26 letters when I stepped onto this land, I could not imagine how my future is going to be. Fortunately, three years ago, my neighbor gave me a chance to apply for a youth scholarship program. There, hope started to shine its light on me. Through the scholarship program, I joined a youth program called Youth for Single Room Occupancy (YSRO). In YSRO, I learned about the history of Chinese Americans and the importance of being active in my community. One of YSRO's projects was to teach Chinese seniors how to use computers. As a youth teacher, I feel that computers are not very easy for seniors to learn and get helpful information. Thus, I was delighted that I was admitted as an incoming freshman majoring in computer science in University of California, San Diego because I want to become software engineer and make computer easier for all ages to learn. Nonetheless, financial burden makes my goal seem unapproachable. My family's low income level will not be able to support my education fully, so I have to rely heavily on loans. This scholarship supports my education and eases my family's financial burden. Meanwhile, my parents and YSRO's supervisor are so proud seeing that I am one step closer to my goal.

Joanna Huang
APIASF / Frances Sonn Nam Memorial Scholar
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
High School: Lowell High School
College: University of California, San Diego
Major: Cognitive Science

Finding out that I was a recipient of the Asian & Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund left me in disbelief because I have never received a scholarship before. I am truly honored and thankful for the generosity of APIASF/Frances Sonn Nam Memorial because with the financial assistance this scholarship will provide, I will be able to fulfill my dream of being the first in my family to attend and graduate from college. I am currently attending the University of California, San Diego as a Cognitive Science Major with a minor in Public Service. One of my major goals is to successfully create a Critical Asian American Studies Minor here at UCSD. I realized that it is completely unacceptable for an institution that has an over 40% "Asian" student population to not offer a concentration of courses to inform APIA students about where they came from, their histories and their APIA identities. My career plans for the immediate future is to pursue graduate school in public policy. Ultimately, my all-time goal in life is to start a non-profit organization to serve communities in need such as low-income, underrepresented, under-served, communities of color. I believe that it is important for APIA students to pursue higher education because to me, education opens doors and opportunities for self-betterment and empowerment. APIA students have historically faced many structural barriers to access these institutions of higher education but, if they are able to overcome systems that were meant to exclude them, the process of learning about APIA history and self-identity as well as student empowerment as college students will help them foster spaces of community, take control of their educational experiences, define the process and outcomes of their education and will then hopefully make an impact for future APIA generations.

Antoronnie Manglona
APIASF / Coca-Cola Foundation Scholar
Hometown: Columbus, OH
High School: Bishop Hartley High School
College: Miami University
Major: Medicine

When I was younger, I used to be embarrassed of being a Chamorro because I believed many of the Chamorro people were poor, uneducated, and overall insignificant. However, I came to a point that I realized that Chamorros are truly beautiful people. They cherish their culture, embracing anyone and everyone. They love life. However, the people in my community (Rota, Marianas Islands) don't experience the breadth of knowledge that lies ahead of them. I want to go back to Rota and advocate the importance of higher education. I don't want the people to lose their roots but to embrace it, not only loving life but also living life. I plan to make a name for myself in Medicine. I am going to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Before I can go back to the Marianas Islands, I want to establish myself as an OB/GYN. Once again I thank ASPIASF/Coca Cola Foundation for giving me some financial assistance to reach my dreams. I am humbled and honored to have the title APIASF Scholar.

Andrew May
APIASF / Thai Alliance in America Scholar
Hometown: Midwest City, OK
High School: Midwest City High School
College: University of Oklahoma
Major: Engineering

Thank you again to TAA for this generous scholarship. Although my local Thai community is relatively small, I still have found simple ways to help out where I could. Every year my mother and I assist our local Buddhist temple while they celebrate Thai festivals and honor Thai cultural traditions. During The Songkran festival I assist the temple in setting up for the festivities as well as bringing food to the monks. The temple also celebrates Loi Krathong, beauty pageants are set up at the temple, I help set up tables and tents and as families start arriving at the temple I welcome them and assist any elder that needs help. For the older Thai people who need assistance but do not have family members close, I help them with daily tasks, such as mowing their grass, taking out their garbage, or anything else they need done. During my senior year of high school many choices had to be made, but most importantly I had to decide what college I was going to attend and what my major would be throughout my college career. After much consideration I decided to choose Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering as my major, a very difficult yet rewarding degree to have. I hope to succeed in my college endeavors; to graduate from a university would make my family very proud. My future career plans are to hopefully get my officers commission in the United States Air Force so I can help protect the country that has given my family so much. The reactions I received from my family and community was of amazement, many tear filled congratulations, and joyous well wishes. Once I found out I was chosen I was in a state of disbelief, I was finally recognized for all my hard work and commitment I put into my education. I believe it is important for Asian and Pacific Islander American students to pursue higher education because most of us didn't have it easy growing up, our parents wanted us to grow up in America to have a better shot at succeeding then they ever did. Finally I want to thank all the donors who contribute to APIASF, without your support many students wouldn't have the means to go to college.

Sean Gilmore
APIASF / MetLife Foundation
Hometown: Columbus, KS
High School: Columbus Unified High School
College: University of Kansas
Major: Pre-Medicine

I would personally like to thank APIASF and MetLife for this wonderful scholarship! When I found out that I received the scholarship, I screamed for joy. My twin sister and I both received an APIASF scholarship. We were so extremely happy and my family was very proud of us. This scholarship will help tremendously in my pursuits for a higher education. I will be attending the University of Kansas for a focus in pre-medicine. As of right now, I intend to major in secondary education. I'm very excited for the road ahead! While in college, I hope to be involved in many various activities like marching band, Young Democrats, Campus Christians, and more! I hope to maintain a high GPA and to work to help pay for school. I plan to receive my bachelor's degree and attend medical school shortly after that. After I complete medical school, I hope to become a pediatrician. I would love to open my own business! I also plan to travel overseas to volunteer for educational or health purposes. My goal is to visit places all over the world and to help them with the knowledge and skills that I have been blessed with! I am truly so thankful for your help in funding my education. Thank you to all the contributors that make these dreams possible for many. I want to specifically thank MetLife and APIASF. Thank you for selecting me as a finalist and seeing potential in me.

Anthony Nguyen
APIASF / FedEx Scholar
Hometown: Seattle, WA
High School: West Seattle High School
College: University of Washington
Major: Pre-Medicine

As the oldest child in my family, I will be the first to attend college and one of the few in my community to pursue higher education. Coming from a single-parent household and a low-income Vietnamese family is tough, but I want other youths to see the possibilities of success they could attain through motivation and following their hearts. It has always been my dream to attend the University of Washington and I am excited to attend in the fall of 2011. I will be experiencing life in a different environment and hope to accomplish many achievements there. I hope to major in chemistry or biology and apply for medical school to obtain a M.D. to become a physician. Healthcare and dental care resources are not always available within low-income communities, and I would like to provide for everyone, including those within my community. I would like to personally thank the APIASF and other donors for selecting me as a scholarship recipient. It is an honor to be chosen among thousands of eager applicants. Upon seeing the email, I thought it would be another notice of rejection. However, it was the opposite! I was so happy that I informed all my family, mentors, community members, and teachers. They were all proud of this opportunity given.

Kha Hong Sok
APIASF / Farmers Insurance Scholar
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
High School: Lincoln High School
College: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Mathematics

This scholarship really means a lot to me and my family because the cost of tuition was always my first worry about going to college. It has always been my lifelong goal to become a math teacher. Math means everything to me and I am very passionate about the whole concept and idea of learning math. In the coming years as I pursue my studies at University of California Berkeley and major in mathematics, I will know exactly whom to thank for making my dream and goal possible. This scholarship will help to lessen the financial burden on my parents. Learning English is like learning how to walk. Step by step, climbing up from one level to the next; full of tragedies and obstacles. But I become stronger every single day since I first walked in to my ESL class three years ago. Moreover, all of the experiences and determination reaching from one level of English class to another lead me on a very successful path and encouraged me to take AP English Literature class. During these four years in high school, I learned the necessity of improving my English skills in order to continue my education in college and to reach my long term goals. I am very passionate about math and want to be a math teacher.

Jenine Ly Garcia
APIASF / Southern California Edison Scholar
Hometown: Cerritos, CA
High School: Gahr High School
College: University of California, Irvine
Major: Environmental Studies

Believe it or not, I was actually more excited to receive a scholarship from APIASF then I was when I received my first college acceptance letter. Receiving the APIASF scholarship just pushes me harder to reach for my dreams. My goal in college is to major in Environmental Studies and work with local and international water companies to purify and find ways to clean water for communities locally and all over the world. I feel as though the less than 2% of water we have left in the world needs to be put to good use, and in order to do so, action must be taken. In high school, I was in a program called Model United Nations, a class that opened my eyes to all the world wide issues dealing with poverty, human trafficking, and even nuclear war. In all essence, I was hooked into the program when I started my freshman year. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to save the world one way or the other. This coming fall, when I start my first year at the University of California, Irvine I hope to become the best I can be. I hope to succeed in keeping up good grades, and eventually grow into an amazing leader, for my family, friends, and my community.

Edward Igarashi
APIASF / Hilton Scholar
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
High School: Okinawa Christian School International
College: Santa Monica College
Major: Business Administration

I am humbly thankful for the greatest opportunity that APIASF has given me to achieve my goal. I cannot thank more for what APIASF has given me and this will change my education at Santa Monica College significantly. I was overjoyed when I received a message that I was selected as a recipient of the APIASF scholarship. All the people around me congratulated me for the scholarship. In fact, at my high school graduation, I was the only one that has been announced for having a scholarship and that was the moment where I felt that my hard work has finally paid off. I am proud that my family, friends, and the community have finally recognized me as a hard worker. I have just graduated an international school in Okinawa, Japan, and looking forward to move to California. I will be attending Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, majoring in Business Management. Since I was a little boy, it has always been my dream to own my own company and applying my knowledge from college and job experience to succeed. I will continue to work harder to achieve my goal as a business owner and give back from what I gained from my family and the community.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Han
APIASF / UnitedHealth Foundation Scholar
Hometown: Cresskill, NJ
High School: Cresskill High School
College: Barnard College
Major: Psychology

This gracious award means I can continue to pursue my dreams to achieve the best education possible as a college pre-med student. I've dreamt of becoming a doctor for many years, but the financial hindrance of attaining an education was always an obstacle I constantly worried over; I have found a new hope to achieve my dreams. I plan on majoring in psychology once I'm in college. I hope that I can further my understanding of human emotions, whether they are verbal or nonverbal, so that I can better treat my patients. By grasping the different possibilities of thinking occurring in a patient's mind, I can become a better physician. Now that I am one step closer to becoming a doctor, I am also one step closer to contributing to my community. I can provide health care as a service through free clinics or through trips to underdeveloped nations, especially those Asian nations in need of medical care. I strive to meet and then exceed the expectations to display a commitment to learning, a willingness to serve without compensation, the wisdom and self-confidence to lead, and a dedication to demonstrate responsibility, trustworthiness, and citizenship.

Kingsley Gibbens
APIASF / Walmart Foundation Scholar
Hometown: Eustis, NE
High School: Eustis-Farnam High School
College: Southeast Community College, Milford
Major: Electronic Systems Technology

When I found out I received this scholarship, I was amazed since I was selected out of thousands of qualified individuals. I was proud that my hard work paid off and thankful for this scholarship money. I plan to study in the program of Electronic Systems Technology. I chose this program because of my love for technology ever since I was a little boy. I enjoyed taking things apart to see how they worked and I have always enjoyed working on our family computer. After I graduate, I plan to find a job involving Alternative Energy Technology. I want to someday use my love for technology to make the world a healthier, more efficient place to live. I am looking forward to college because I want to influence my friends and family by showing them that a secondary education is vital to being successful in life. As I get older, I don't want to have to struggle or see my own family struggle. My life has been full of challenges including me being adopted, but who doesn't struggle in their day to day to life? It's how I approach these stressful situations that will help me be successful. I have to always have a positive attitude and work hard in everything I do and never give up. That's my philosophy in life I and I try to live this way in everything I do. Last but not least, I want to thank the donors, corporations, and foundations that made APIASF possible.

Aulola Moli
APIASF / Honda Scholar
Hometown: West Valley, UT
High School: Cottonwood High School
College: Weber State University
Major: Forensic Science

When I received the news that I had gotten the APIASF scholarship, my mother and I jumped in excitement and gratitude that I was receiving help with my payment for college. I want to pursue a major in either Forensic Sciences or in English and as I study in these fields I hope that I can make the world a better place; whether it be by helping my community in the Law Enforcement by decreasing crime rates, or by teaching others about the amazing complexities of English Literature. I know that it is vital to pursue a higher education because we need all the knowledge that we can obtain to be successful in this extremely competitive world. As we pursue a higher education, we are pushed to new limits that will make us think and work harder and as a result we will be the best that we can be in helping this world become a better place. We will also be able to help our future families and we will set an example to younger generations about the importance of going to college after high school. I am truly grateful to APIASF for creating so opportunities for students to achieve their goals and their dreams by aiding them as they struggle to pay for college.

Matthew Cha
APIASF / USA Funds Scholar
Hometown: Portland, OR
High School: Roosevelt High School
College: Pacific Luthern University
Intended Major: Mathematics

My first objective in college is to accomplish everything necessary to become a mechanical engineer. I would like to be a part of the Nike crew and find innovative ways to use technology in order to support athletes in competing at their highest potential. Afterwards I then plan on receiving a certification in secondary education and coaching. I want to return to my high school, Roosevelt, and teach mathematics while at the same time using basketball as a method to coach young men on the important life lessons I learned in my youth. I was very touched at the realization that there were others outside my family and community that supported my dreams of higher education. I think that more Asian and Pacific Islander American students should understand the significance of continuing their education after high school. The generations of our families that came before us have worked hard so that we could have the significantly easier life we all know. I have watched both my parents, and my grandparents, strive to provide their families a good life while financially struggling. This has driven me to do great things so that I could return their gestures.

Adeem Tahira
APIASF / Darden Restaurants Foundation
Hometown: Knightsdale, NC
High School: Knightsdale High School
College: East Carolina University
Major: Biochemistry

I plan on attending East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. While attending ECU I am hoping to attain a degree in Biochemistry and American History so that I may apply to medical school after college. Eventually I hope to become an endocrinologist and serve those in medical need. While at college I plan on being involved in many student organizations including one meant for Asian students and those that give back to the community. Being awarded this scholarship has motivated me to give back just as the APIASF/Darden Restaurants has done for me. When I found out I had received the scholarship I was very excited because this scholarship meant the most to me out of any other because I related to the feeling of being an Asian American student. It's important for Asian and Pacific Islander American students to pursue higher education because most of us come from areas where education is not as valued as it is in the United States. To all the individual donors, corporations, and foundations I would like to say thank you! It is because of organizations like those involved in the APIASF that students, like me, are able to pursue a higher education.

Anthony Phan
APIASF / Target Scholar
Hometown: Longwood, FL
High School: Seminole High School
College: University of Florida
Major: Pharmacy

I am very honored to be a recipient of the APIASF Scholarship, and I would like to thank APIASF as well as the donors, corporations, and foundations that gave me the opportunity to attend college. It means a lot to me and especially to my parents. I am a first generation Asian Pacific Islander American, and attending college has been a huge step for my parents and myself. They are very proud and grateful. My parents have told me that hard work always pays off at the end. We were ecstatic when we found out I was selected as a scholarship recipient. With the help of this scholarship, I hope to pursue a career in the field of pharmacy. I think it is very important for Asian and Pacific Islander American students to receive a higher education, especially the first generation students, because we are representing our past generations, and our parents have worked so hard to get us this far, which they never had the opportunity to do so before. Again, I would like to thank APIASF for this opportunity and congratulations to all APIASF scholarship recipients.

Samiha Azam
APIASF / Sara Lee Foundation
Hometown: Keller, TX
High School: Central High School
College: Southern Methodist University
Major: Biology

Throughout my senior year, I was overwhelmed with the obstacle of paying for college and my inability to fully succeed because of the lack of money for college. However, I am greatly honored to be awarded with the scholarship APIASF offered me and will surely put it to good use in furthering my education. After I found out that I was selected for this scholarship, I was overcome with joy and relief. Not only was my family proud, but my whole Asian American community was excited about this opportunity that APIASF offered me. I knew with this scholarship, I wouldn't have to worry as much as I did before about paying for college. I hope to attain a Bachelor's degree in Psychological and Biological sciences at Southern Methodist University and then go on to pursue a Medical degree. My exposure to different plights and volunteerism at hospitals has inspired me to live a life of giving back to the community through the practice of healthcare. As far as my career is considered, I wish to become a Pediatric Physician Assistant at a hospital or clinic, and then go on to work with UNICEF in developing countries. I know with this scholarship, I will hopefully accomplish my dreams of a graduating from medical school and having a career as a Physician Assistant. I greatly appreciate this wonderful and renowned opportunity that the APIASF and donors are funding. Because of APIASF's gracious effort to support Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, students will no longer be overlooked and will be able to pursue educations that are crucial for their development of their communities.

Jimmy Du
APIASF / Verizon Foundation
Hometown: El Monte, CA
High School: Temple City High School
College: Stanford University
Major: Electrical Engineering

I am currently an Electrical Engineering major at Stanford University, but am beginning to lean more toward Computer Science and Mathematics. I am challenging myself as much as possible so that I can make a positive difference in the world someday. I am extremely grateful toward APIASF and the Verizon Foundation, as well as the other donators who have helped fund APIASF's scholarships. Thank you so much for your support. I will continue to do everything I can to make use of the time and financial assistance that you have entrusted to me.

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