Congratulations to the 2012 AAWA Scholarship and AAWA Recognition Award Recipients. These recipients were honored at our annual banquet on April 21, 2012 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

1. Maya Kavita Ramachandran

Maya Kavita RamachandranMaya was born in Fremont, California 18 years ago and has lived here all her life. With her penchant to excel in whatever she sets her mind on, she is graduating MSJHS as a valedictorian, an accomplished four year varsity basketball player who helped her school win the MVAL championships, took them to the NCS semifinals for the first time in their history and was recognized as the most outstanding player and athlete of the season. Maya is an accomplished Bharatanatyam – Indian classical dancer having trained for the last 12 years giving numerous solo performances, while raising money for educating young girls rescued from the slums and child labor in India. This dance form has also enabled her to get closer to her roots from India and understand the rich culture and values that is her legacy. Maya has always believed in the empowerment and equity of women and that women can do anything that men can do. She strives to mentor younger girls in her school to encourage them to take on challenges and be their best in academics, sports and other activities. She continues her passion to write about her convictions as a writer/editor of her school newspaper.

Maya is looking forward to a biological engineering and economics undergraduate program this fall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and is working towards a multidisciplinary career involving medicine, economics and journalism. She is honored to have been recognized by the Asian American Women Alliance for her achievements and will strive to promote their cause for women.

2. Madeline Nguyen

Madeline NguyenMadeline, 16 and a junior at Archbishop Mitty, loves to sing, spend time with her loved ones, and volunteer.

Madeline enjoys dedicating her time to her community through Sacred Heart and school clubs like Interact and GlamourGals. At Sacred Heart, Madeline works in the Clothes Closet where she organizes clothes, man- ages the store, and helps impoverished clients to quickly find clothes they need through her Spanish and Vietnamese speaking skills. Through Inter-act, Madeline helps organize events that raise money and awareness for poverty around the globe. Through GlamourGals, Madeline talks and plays cards with the elderly, bringing them joy. Due to her familial hardships, Madeline enjoys serving her community because she understands how painful hardships are and believes that everyone deserve support through their trials.

When she is not volunteering, Madeline spends countless hours practicing songs for her choir. In addition to singing, she enjoys theater, whether she is on stage performing or in the audience watching. Madeline hopes to further aid her community through her service and to continue learning about various aspects of the world throughout her life so as to help the people she encounters to have better lives economically, mentally, and spiritually.

3. Yanshuo Zhang

Yanshuo ZhangYanshuo Zhang is a second-year PhD student in Chinese studies from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford. Hailing from Sichuan, China, she is a published author and artist, and has a great passion for cross-cultural communication and fostering the well-being of the humanity in the 21st century.

Yanshuo grew up in one of the most splendid landscapes in China where the grandeur of nature opened up her mind and uplifted her soul. She came to the U.S. for college at age 18 and got her B.A. in English and French literature from St. Catherine University, a women’s college in Minnesota. This was a life-changing experience that taught her the importance of social responsibility and empowered her as a woman.

Yanshuo is active in charity work–she is starting a student charity group at Stanford to continue her childhood concern for the socially underprivileged; she is an artist who depicts the beauty of nature and humanity with her poetry and paintings. In addition, she aims at awakening the human conscience for our common well-being with her scholarly precision and meticulous research. She believes that all human beings have the same dreams, longings and sufferings, and it is only by joining our hands together can we face the future together. Women can particularly contribute to this effort with their unique attributes and sensibilities that cross over the fine boundaries separating human beings today. Yanshuo’s hero, Aung Shan Suu Ki, especially exemplifies how women can endure personal and social sufferings to bring peace to the world.