Scholar Success Stories

APIASF Alumni Creates APIASF / TAA Scholarship to Help Other Students

Boosaba Pananon

In 2006, Boosaba Pananon from Silver Spring, Maryland was selected to be one of 200 students who received a scholarship from APIASF. Just like her fellow Scholars, Boosaba demonstrated in her application a desire to give back to her community and to make a difference for others.

With the help of her scholarship and the support of her family and friends, Boosaba embarked on her journey at the University of Maryland where her community focus continued to grow. Upon graduation from the University of Maryland, she decided to pursue an internship with OCA, an organization focused on advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of the AAPI community. Each of the OCA interns were challenged to develop a Campus Action Plan that would address an issue faced by Asian American students at their university and propose some kind of solution.

"Given that I had already graduated, I adjusted my project's focus to the Thai youth at large here in the Washington, D.C. area instead," said Boosaba. "I could think of many people in my community, myself included, who could have used academic scholarships to ease the financial burden that comes with pursuing higher education. Fortunately, I had received a scholarship from APIASF prior to beginning college, and I wanted to help Thai Americans obtain the same kind of opportunities."

Boosaba began conducting research to see what types of opportunities existed for Thai students and many, if not all, were scholarships restricted to certain states. She discovered that there was a great need for a national scholarship. Boosaba then reached out to the Thai Alliance in America (TAA), an organization that she had served as a volunteer, to see if they would support her idea. As she prepared her presentation, she reached out to other community members and gathered best practices. Her hard work paid-off as her presentation gained support from the TAA Advisory Council.

When internal support had been gathered, I reached out to APIASF, the organization that had once graciously granted me the financial support that I now wanted to extend to other Thai Americans like me," said Boosaba. "APIASF assured me that my dream of creating a Thai American scholarship was entirely possible, and soon after we embarked on a partnership with APIASF that provided scholarships of $2,500 to two students for the 2011-2012 school year that were administered by APIASF. I hope that TAA and APIASF will be able to provide this financial award to Thai American students nationally for years to come… because sometimes, that small award makes a world of difference. In my case, my APIASF award gave me a sense of confidence that I was on the right track and was a gift that I could present to my mom to help in the cost of tuition.

While the APIASF / Thai Alliance in America scholarship is continuing to make a difference for students, Boosaba's drive doesn't stop there. She recently left the United States and moved to Thailand to focus on her goal of working for an international non-governmental organization (NGO). She plans to use the opportunity to continue her work with youth.

For more information or to apply for the APIASF / Thai Alliance in America scholarship, click here.