2009 APIASF Scholar Profiles

photo Ka Zoua Vang
APIASF / Farmers Insurance Scholar
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Institution: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Intended Major: Anthropology
Ethnicity: Hmong

Coming from a low-income family, I know this Scholarship will help reduce my reliance on loans and financial obstacles in college. I will be the first generation to attend college. Now my parents will really look up to me because they were never given the opportunity to gain an education. This Scholarship will help me achieve my goals and come back to help out my parents and my community.

I will be attending the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities this fall with a major in Anthropology. I really enjoy studying history and cultures that is why I am planning to pursue a career in journalism and cultural studies upon graduation. Thanks to this Scholarship, I am one step closer to that goal.

By awarding me this Scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of Institution: learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.

photo Brendan S. Zhang
APIASF / Sodexo Scholar
Hometown: Eugene, OR
Institution: Willamette University
Intended Major: Biochemistry
Ethnicity: Chinese

I am one of the many who have suffered greatly from the present economic situation. My father was recently laid off from his job and my unemployed single mother has difficulty making ends meet while attending a community college. However, my situation has not discouraged me from pursuing my goal of attending college and becoming a scientist.

Throughout my high school career, I have obtained nearly flawless grades while taking some of the hardest courses offered by South Eugene High. In addition, I have been active in my community through two years of National Honor Society service. I have lessened hunger through my church and helped children in activities. Even with my hard work in school, I was still overwhelmed with the future expenses of college. Though I entertained the notion of attending Willamette University, I never took this idea seriously. Through this Scholarship, I can now realize my dream of attending a small private college, Willamette University. There, I believe classes will be small enough for me to receive the best educational experience from my professors.

I plan on majoring in Biology or Chemistry at Willamette. I am also interested in Economics. After undergraduate school, I plan on pursuing graduate studies at a larger university. After my education, I will hopefully become a research scientist in Biotechnology, an emerging field. Though I have lofty goals, I must never forget the first steps toward success.

photo Kayelynn Kohatsu
APIASF / USA Funds Scholar
Hometown: Waimanalo, HI
Institution: Azusa Pacific University
Intended Major: Social Work
Ethnicity: Native Hawai’ian and Japanese

Upon receiving this Scholarship my dreams of being able to attend Azusa Pacific University in Southern California became a reality. As I begin this new season in my life as a college student, I am blessed to know that some of the financial burdens are lifted.
My desire to provide a caring environment for children who may come from dysfunctional families and to ensure that they do not live a life that has cheated them is the passion that drives me to accomplish my educational goals. I am fortunate to have experienced foster care because my parents are foster caregivers, and this drives me to pursue a college education to become a social worker.
I look forward to being able to give back to the community once I begin my career in social work, because I want to make a difference in the lives of the young people in my community. I thank you for investing in my future; your confidence and willingness to help me achieve my goals are most appreciated.

photo David Tse
APIASF / Walmart Scholar
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Intended Major: Psychology
Ethnicity: Chinese

This fall, I am attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a focus on psychology or a similar major—I am interested in the human psyche as it relates to perception of others and its deleterious effects on society.

Having the opportunity to go to college with less of a burden, financially, allows me to better concentrate on my academics and attaining both personal goals and academic ones—researching mental illnesses, studying abroad in China for language acquisition, and maintaining a 3.7 GPA or above.

In high school, I was the president of math peer tutoring at my school and I intend to continue providing free tutoring services and academic workshops to underprivileged children. Fulfilling the academic needs of underprivileged minority students in the public school system will inevitably lead to positive aspirations and their reciprocation of efforts to contribute to their own communities. New York City and Boston have a considerably large population of immigrants and minorities in need of academic assistance due to lack of financial funds. Their ability to succeed should never be compromised because of money.

My family originally came from a small town in Southern China, and I am also the first in my family to attend college. Personally, I feel that I am leading as a role model for my younger cousins and friends.

photo Tram L. Tran
APIASF / Target Scholar
Hometown: Pace, FL
Institution: University of Vermont
Intended Major: Biochemistry
Ethnicity: Vietnamese

I want to thank the supporters of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. I was incredibly ecstatic to be notified as a winner. Words cannot describe my appreciation towards your generous donation.

With the help of this Scholarship, I am now very eager to start college in the fall. I am planning to declare biochemistry as my major. I have a strong passion and curiosity for science. In the future, I aspire to attend medical school and become a physician or a surgeon. I know it will take many years of hard work and dedication. By receiving this Scholarship, I feel more confident about my educational goals.

Growing up in a poor family, I was expected to fund my own college education. This Scholarship means the world to me. Being able to attend college, with as little loans as possible, is an opportunity of a lifetime that I will never take for granted. Thank you for relieving some of the stresses that college will bring. I strive to learn everyday in college and become the person I aspire to be. With the help of this Scholarship, I can concentrate on my studies without having to worry about money all the time. Thank you again for your generous donation.

photo Rothpanhar Ross
APIASF / United Health Foundation Asian Health Scholar
Hometown: Stockton, CA
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Optometry
Ethnicity: Cambodian and Chinese

My parents cannot afford my college education nor did anyone believe that I would do well in school or go to college. However, through hard work and dedication I have overcome these barriers.

Many people have said that I am a success story because I graduated as the salutatorian and got into the number one public university in America coming from a background like mine. I am so very enthused and exited for the future ahead of me and this Scholarship has opened a door for my future. It only takes little to make a difference, and this Scholarship has made a huge difference in my life.

I remember getting the letter saying that I have won the Scholarship, I was speechless. I was speechless because it showed me that great people support me and believe in me to achieve higher education.

photo Julienne J. Paraiso
APIASF / Walmart Scholar
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Institution: University of Las Vegas
Intended Major: Biochemistry and Pre-Medicine
Ethnicity: Filipino

The APIASF Scholarship will be the start of a hopeful and successful future for me. The triumph of actually deciding to attend college and follow-through signifies an open gate for a wide variety of opportunity.

The Scholarship will make it easier for my attendance in college and will enable me to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor one day. Thankfully, the Scholarship will also reduce my reliance on college loans and work-study. I plan to major in Biochemistry and Pre-Medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

I want to become the first doctor in my family. I want to be the first to make an impact within my family and make our lives better as we all deserve it. As a doctor, I will be given the opportunity to give back to the community through sharing my knowledge and abilities to assist the individuals in need. I want to prove to my family and friends that I can achieve my dreams with great hard work and perseverance.

photo Frank C. Herrera
APIASF / Southern California Edison Scholar
Hometown: Apple Valley, CA
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Intended Major: Pre-Political Science
Ethnicity: Guamanian/Chamorro

This Scholarship means a great deal to me and my family. The opportunity for a college education, especially one at the University of California, Los Angeles is very important to me. This Scholarship will make it easier for me to attend college in that it will help me reduce my reliance on loans, which is crucial in our current economic status. As a result, I will be able to concentrate more on my studies and less on worrying about how I am going to pay for college.

At UCLA, I plan to major in Pre-Political Science. I chose to major in this because I am very interested in politics and I believe I can truly make a difference in this world. After graduation, I plan on going on to law school, and hopefully, starting my own law firm in the future. With this, I hope to help my community by aiding the less fortunate with their legal matters.

For college, I am looking forward to meeting new people, and continuing my education at an outstanding institution. I am proud to be a Distinguished Scholar, and graduate at Apple Valley High School class of 2009, with honors. I am also fortunate to have participated in our Mock-Trial program at Apple Valley High School. I learned a lot in the field of law and I know I am going to use that knowledge in my near future. Lastly, I believe I have grown as a person being President of the Computer Technology Club where I learned a lot about leadership.

photo Doris M. Lee
APIASF / Wells Fargo Scholar
Hometown: McKinney, TX
Institution: Rice University
Intended Major: Undecided
Ethnicity: Chinese

I greatly appreciate your involvement in the community by sponsoring young students in pursuing their dreams. I will be attending Rice University, the school of my dreams. I plan to continue many of my hobbies and clubs from high school. During high school, I was very involved in Key Club, a student-led community service club. I was first president of my home club and then became Lt. Governor for the North Dallas division. I have already looked into service opportunities in college and plan to help mentally disabled individuals.

After living in South Africa for two years, I plan to center my career on alleviating the situation in Africa. I am unsure of the best method to help as most of Africa's problems arise from internal unrest. I am looking into an internship with a program in Venezuela, El Sistema, which places children of low socioeconomic backgrounds in youth orchestras, preventing children from criminal activities and giving them the gift of music. During college, I will explore a variety of classes to learn more about Africa and find the most effective way of helping. Without having to hold up a part time job because of your Scholarship, I will be able to focus on my studies. Thank you for this opportunity.

photo Justin Yang
APIASF / USA Funds Scholar
Hometown: Sylvania, OH
Institution: Columbia University
Intended Major: Economics
Ethnicity: Taiwanese

The APIASF Scholarship will help me significantly to pay for the costs at Columbia University and help relieve a financial burden. With this Scholarship, I can be sure that money will not be an issue when pursuing higher education.

Next year I will be majoring in economics to study finance and pursue an internship at Wall Street. I hope to be a banker or analyst in the future after I graduate. I may also pursue law school.

This Scholarship means a lot to me because it reflects my culture and heritage. I hope to continue to contribute to the Taiwanese American Foundation by being a counselor and one day a program director. Supporting my community is very important to me and I hope that college will prepare me to give back to my Taiwanese American community in diverse ways.

Thank you for recognizing my hard work in speech and debate and student government. It is good to know that the APAISF considered all of my accomplishments beyond my grades. I am honored to receive this Scholarship. Thank you for continuing to help make students' dreams of higher education come true.

photo Carly M. Toia
APIASF / AT&T Scholar
Hometown: Pago Pago, American Samoa
Institution: American Samoa Community College
Intended Major: Nursing
Ethnicity: Samoan

The Scholarship has greatly impacted my ability to attend college. I come from a family of meager means. While my family has always provided me with strong support, college tuition would not have been possible without your generous contribution. With this Scholarship, I plan to give back to my community and our world in a way that offers my services to their needs. I will be majoring in nursing, the field of my passion, when I enroll in college.

While growing up, I have witnessed my parents struggle many times with financial needs. This causes a delay in having provisions for school and family needs. So, if I could buy the moons and stars for you, I would, because your support has really made my burdens a lot lighter. The only thing I can do is put your generous gift to good use by striving to overcome my obstacles. I am prepared to conquer the educational mountain that leads to success.

photo Yun M. Chang
APIASF / Hilton Scholar
Hometown: Tarpon Springs, FL
Institution: University of Florida
Intended Major: Biology
Ethnicity: Korean

I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to compete for the APIASF / Hilton Scholarship. The opportunity itself has made me more confident of my goals in life. Despite the economic slump, you have awarded many of us great sums of money. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

The award that you have given me will tremendously help further my goal by providing aid for college expenses. My goal is to double major in Nuclear Radiological Sciences and Biology. This Scholarship awarded to me has truly made my goal a reality and I will use this award to pursue ambitions. I will continuously stay active in the community and will work hard to succeed in all that I do. This valuable award will be a speed train to the finish line. I pledge to not let you down. Thank you very much for truly giving me the opportunity to reach my pinnacle: becoming a great oncologist in the future.

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