Press Releases

June 15, 2016

Leilani Pimentel
Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives

APIASF Hosts 7th Annual Higher Education Summit

WASHINGTON, DC (June 15, 2016)—The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) will host its seventh annual APIASF Higher Education Summit tomorrow, June 16th, in Washington, D.C. convening hundreds of the nation's education leaders to address the needs of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) students. This year's theme, "Service, Technology and Culture: Preparing Our Future Students," will highlight the important role that experiential education, access to new resources, and cultural spaces play in preparing APIA students for success.

Hosted annually at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, the APIASF Higher Education Summit Series is the most widely-attended national higher education event aimed at raising awareness about the unique needs of the APIA student population and the institutions they attend through the release of new data, panel discussions, town hall meetings, and a series of concurrent sessions submitted by leaders in higher education, government and the community.

"As the future of America's fastest growing population, APIA graduates will become critical contributors to their communities," said APIASF President and Executive Director Neil Horikoshi. "Central to APIASF's mission is the ultimate goal of developing future leaders who contribute to a vibrant America, and a key component of this mission is to create linkages among community leaders, policymakers, foundations, and corporations to support the institutions serving our students."

"The APIA community has a rich history and a mosaic of languages, values and traditions that are all part of a community tied to a higher education network of Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) working together to improve the lives of APIAs across the nation. In preparing APIA college students for the future, institutions must consider how to best serve our community given the changing landscape. This year's summit will identify the specific needs within our community, how organizations are supporting students in innovative ways, and what leaders can do to support the future growth of the APIA community."

In its brief seven-year history, the pioneering summit has provided non-profits, federal agencies, corporations, and institutions of higher education a forum to strengthen existing collaborations and develop partnerships. Attendees engage with top practitioners and policymakers on scalable best practices, successful institutional capacity-building initiatives, new research and data, and evidence-based recommendations to strengthen students, families and communities.

"Walmart and Sam's Club have always been places of great opportunity for our associates, and we believe investing in education and training is essential to the future of our business," says Seong Ohm, senior vice president of merchandise execution for Sam's Club. "We are proud to support the scholarship program at APIASF which helps provide a stronger start to the workforce of the future."

Arati Randolph, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications for Wells Fargo adds, "Wells Fargo has partnered with APIASF to address college access through financial education workshops nationwide and through scholarships. Through this partnership we have helped hundreds of students gain access to higher education and we have helped hundreds of families overcome the challenges of applying to and accessing financial aid. As we continue these efforts, we must also ensure we are supporting students' progress through their educational journey and onto future success as professionals and as leaders in their communities."

The event will kick off with an opening discussion with U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. and culminate with a community call to action to boost leadership and skill development for APIA students. The Summit will also be livestreamed in an effort to broadcast and elevate this important conversation on a broader scale.

To conclude the day's events, there will be a special tribute commemorating the life and service of Don Nakanishi, former professor emeritus at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center who passed away in March. The summit will also honor Congressman Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, to recognize her support of higher education access and service to the APIA community.

The 2016 APIASF Higher Education Summit is made possible through the support of: Walmart, Wells Fargo (Presenting Sponsors); McDonald's (Gold Sponsor); The Kresge Foundation, ACT, General Motors, Nielsen, United Health Foundation, and Abercrombie & Fitch (Silver Sponsors); and Teach for America (Bronze Sponsor).

For more information about APIASF's 2016 Higher Education Summit, visit the event's website at or email Also, follow APIASF on Facebook ( and Twitter ( to receive live event updates.


Based in Washington, D.C., the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA). APIASF works to create opportunities for students to access, complete, and succeed after post-secondary education; thereby developing future leaders who will excel in their career, serve as role models in their communities, and will ultimately contribute to a vibrant America. Since 2003, APIASF has distributed more than $100 million in scholarships to deserving APIA students. APIASF manages two scholarship programs: APIASF's general scholarship and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.