Congratulations to the 2013 AAWA Scholarship and AAWA Recognition Award Recipients. These recipients were honored at our annual banquet on April 20, 2014 at the Santa Clara Hilton Hotel.
1. Sue Thao Do
From the moment she entered the world eight weeks short of her expected due date, Sue Do’s life was filled with overwhelming and heart-wrenching obstacles. Her lungs, in an effort to gasp for essential air, were worthless. The cerebellum apparently had been damaged, and would predict later seizures. It was only the beginning of time, years, trials, failures, and suffering joined together to form a plenteous package of adversity that taught her so much about living to the fullest. These challenges of being immobile, having seizures, and surgeries shape Sue’s character and enable her to conquer any challenge that comes her way. Her hardships made her the person she is today.
Sue was required to wear bulky orthopedic braces and walk with a steel walker. These things obviously gave away the fact that she was handicapped. In spite of the pain and fatigue, she finally surpasses her obstacles, after multiple operations on her ankles at ages 10 and 12. At tough moments, she kept her positive spirits. Giving up was not an option. Perseverance became her companion through difficulties. It is invisible, hidden in secrecy, and can only be uncovered through steadfast dedication in the face of wrenching fear. These experiences were not easy to overcome, but as time went by they became her motives to test her own potential. Sue owes the encouragements and the mentoring to her parents, grandparents, friends who believe in the possible, and teachers who foresee the opportunities that lay ahead. Today she wears her scars with pride, walks without the steel walker, her seizures are gone, and she is thankful for many blessings. Sue is determined to use her voice to speak for those oppressed by society.
2. Jennifer Phang
Jennifer Phang is a San Francisco based film and media maker with more than ten years of experience. Her award-winning feature film HALF-LIFE premiered at 2008 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed by the Sundance Channel and Warner Brothers Digital Platforms. Jennifer was then invited into the Sundance Screenwriting Labs to develop her next project, LOOK FOR WATER, a play adaptation. In 2011 Jennifer created the short film ADVANTAGEOUS, an ITVS commissioned project, starring Jacqueline Kim and James Urbaniak, concerning the future of American education and its impact on the social and economic future of women and girls in the United States.
ADVANTAGEOUS was launched on Futurestates.tv and PBS.org, and was then screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Comic-Con, Fantastic Fest, Asiana Film Festival, CAAMFest, Los Angeles Asian Pacific and numerous other national and international film festivals. It has been nominated for and won several of the festivals’ top awards.
In Fall 2012, Jennifer was selected to be a resident at the prestigious San Francisco Film Society FilmHouse program in support of her current undertaking, adapting ADVANTAGEOUS into a full-length feature film. A Berkeley-born daughter of a Chinese-Malaysian father and Vietnamese mother, Jennifer Phang is a graduate of the MFA Directing program at the American Film Institute and holds a BA in Media Studies from Pomona College. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and a certified scuba diver.
3. Angela Wang
Angela Wang is a first generation Chinese American born and raised in the Bay Area. As a young girl, Angela quickly learned to appreciate her cultural and ethnic background. She started taking traditional Chinese dance at the tender age of 5, won second place at her first Chinese calligraphy competition at the age of 7 and routinely published articles in the children’s section of the Chinese newspaper World Journal. During the summer of her freshman year in high school, Angela attended the World Expo in Shanghai where she sweat, ate popsicles and waited in line with thousands of other Chinese. Her proudest moment as an Asian American was when she wrote a first-place essay about that experience for a competition hosted by the Beijing Chinese Children’s Culture and Education Exchange Association.
In high school, Angela has enjoyed writing for her school’s nationally recognized newspaper El Estoque, developing her passions in business through the organization Future Business Leaders of America, and fostering the love of knowledge in other students by tutoring mathematics. In her free time, Angela plays the piano, reads novels and bakes sweets for her family and friends. She hopes to study finance and East Asian studies when she attends Columbia University in the City of New York this fall.
4. Emily Wong
Emily Wong is currently a high school senior at Monta Vista High school in Cupertino, California. She is a first generation Asian American, the daughter of Winnie Ho, a single mother immigrant from Hong Kong. At school she is a committed ASB Leadership Executive officer, having been in the Leadership program for four years, where she now serves as the Monta Vista Intra-District Representative for the FUHSD school district.
She is also a dedicated member of the student-run business organization, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), which has helped cultivate her aspirations in becoming a successful and well-rounded businesswoman. In FBLA she has competed and won multiple Local, State and National business awards in Parliamentary Procedure, Hospitality Management, and Network Design.
In her spare time she enjoys singing, snowboarding, and hiking. She would like to thank her friends and family, especially her mother and Kevin, in supporting her to the fullest for the past 18 years. Emily would also like to thank the Asian American Women’s Alliance in its generosity and granting this scholarship towards helping her pursue her career oriented goals.