Congratulations to the 2014 AAWA Scholarship and AAWA Recognition Award Recipients. These recipients were honored at our annual banquet on May 9, 2015 at the Milpitas Crowne Plaza Hotel.

1. Irene Chen

Irene ChenIrene Chen earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences and her Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. After graduating from Cal, Irene joined Teach for America where she taught middle school science and health in the South Bronx in New York City. While teaching full-time during her corps commitment, Irene attended Fordham University where she received her Master of Science in Teaching in Biology.

Upon completion of her two-year commitment, Irene transitioned into a role with the New York City Department of Education working on educational policy surrounding implementation of the Common Core. As exciting as living in New York City was, she couldn’t resist the almost perfect weather that Southern California had to offer, and she recently moved back to Orange County to be closer to her family.

Irene continues to teach middle and high school students in math and science and plans to attend USC School of Pharmacy in Fall 2014. In her free time, Irene enjoys being outdoors, especially hiking new trails, playing tennis, spiking some volleyballs, and running. When she is not doing some outdoor activity, she enjoys reading a good book.

2. SiLin Huang

SiLin HuangSiLin Huang emigrated with her mother from China at age 8. However, she had her last two years of high school interrupted due to illness. After her two-year recovery, she had aged out of high school. Nevertheless, she never relinquished her dream of pursuing higher education. She completed two years of schoolwork in one year to earn both her GED and high school diploma at Castro Valley Adult and Career Education.

In fall 2014, she will enter Columbia University. Because it is unusual for an adult school student to aspire straight to a four-year university path, her story has made her a visible educational advocate. This year, she is inducted into Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame, and invited to attend CAEAA-CCAE Legislated Day at the California State Capitol and speak at Building a GradNation Summit in Washington, District of Columbia.

3. Miki Rai

Miki RaiMiki Rai is a first generation Asian American immigrant raised in the Bay Area. Coming from multiple cultural backgrounds, Miki learned to speak and write Japanese, Chinese and English. As a young girl, she received the champion award for Impromptu Chinese Speaking as well as Chinese Recitation from the Association of Northern California Chinese Schools.

Outside of school, Miki is passionate about serving her community. She has been volunteering with the American Red Cross since the 6th grade, and is currently serving as the Co-Chair of the Silicon Valley Red Cross Youth Executive Board, where she is in charge of over 1,500 youth in the chapter. In addition, she is a member of the Silicon Valley Red Cross Board of Directors, and a certified CPR and First Aid instructor. Alongside that, she participates in supporting Asian American movements and the science community. In the future, she hopes to become an Asian American leader in the medical field.

She is also involved in the entertainment industry, and is a contracted model with Microsoft Skype and Apple. Miki takes part in many international projects. Her media coverage, prints and commercials are being utilized across the world.

Miki would like to thank her friends and family for providing unconditional love and support. She is honored to be recognized by the Asian American Women’s Alliance and would also like to thank their generosity in granting this scholarship to help pursue her career goals.

4. Angela Ma

Angela MaAngela Ma is a current high school senior at The Harker School in San Jose, California. Her favorite subjects at school are Economics, Computer Science, and French, and she is planning to pursue a degree in Economics at either Harvard College or Stanford University next fall.

At school, she has been involved in French National Honor Society as President and Editor-in-Chief of the club newsletter. One of her favorite projects this past year was organizing a school-wide “French week” fundraiser and selling baked goods, macarons, and crêpes to raise money for the earthquake-ravaged Holy Trinity Music School in Haiti. Angela is also a Harker John Near research scholar and has had her research paper titled “The Role of Musicianship in George Balanchine’s Enduring Impact on American Contemporary Ballet” published by her school history department.

Outside of school, Angela devotes much of her time to ballet training and performances. She began dancing at the age of four and has since been fortunate to pursue her passion for ballet through scholarships, performances, community service, and competitions. In the past two years, she has performed the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, and Arabian Coffee in the San Jose Youth Ballet’s Nutcracker production. This past year, she also danced the title role in the LaCademy Ballet School’s “Snow White & the Seven Dwarves” and trained at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School Summer Course in Seattle.

Angela would like to thank the Asian American Women’s Alliance for creating this wonderful scholarship opportunity and for supporting her university studies next fall. The AAWA scholarship is an important steppingstone in her educational journey, and she is very grateful for the foundation’s help.