1. Valerie Faith Tsang:
Valerie Tseng is a graduating senior at San Ramon Valley High in Danville, California. She lives with her parents and sister in the Bay Area. As the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Mandarin Chinese was her first language growing up in the United States. Besides Chinese, Valerie speaks Spanish and English.
Throughout her high school years, has been involved in many clubs such as Science Alliance, the WolfPrint Newspaper, and Generation for Change. As an officer of the Generation for Change club, Valerie led discussions about global affairs with her peers and organized fundraisers to support developing third world countries. Last year, she and her club partnered with the Invisible Children Organization to stop child trafficking in Africa. Valerie’s most cherished moment as a part of her club was experiencing firsthand the importance of team collaboration. She was able to see her club grow from a mere five members to a powerful group of more than thirty students due to each member’s passion and willingness to contribute to a common cause.
Besides helping out at her school’s clubs, Valerie’s hobbies include: designing holiday cards for her family and friends, listening to The Script and Ed Sheeran on the radio, and playing with her cat, Tuchu. She is especially passionate about each of the three instruments- piano, violin, and organ- that she plays. On weekends, she enjoys performing at senior centers as part of a community service group called the Tri-Valley Youth Ensemble. Valerie hopes to continue her involvement in her community in college and beyond.
Valerie will be attending UCLA in the fall as a chemistry major. She aspires to become a forensic scientist due to her dual interest in the field of science and law. She hopes to find work in southern California after completing her Master’s degree in graduate school. From the strength and determination exemplified by her parents in their journey to immigrate to America, Valerie understands the importance of working hard in life. She hopes that she will exhibit that same unwavering perseverance in order to reach her goals in the future.
Valerie would like to thank her family for their unwavering love and support throughout the years. She would also like to give special thanks to the Asian American Women’s Alliance for this important scholarship opportunity that will help fund her education.
2.Emily Megumi Kobayashi.
Emily Kobayashi is currently a high school senior at Summit Public Schools: Rainier, a small charter school in San Jose, California. She is a huge science geek and enjoys planning science related activities and field trips as president and founder of her school’s Science Club. Emily also enjoys Computer Science, and after taking the class in her sophomore year, decided to become a teacher’s assistant for the following two years. Her interests reach into math too; a statistics lover, she often spends spare time learning how to use spreadsheets. Emily will be pursuing a degree in bioinformatics, a major that combines science, computer science and statistics, at UC Santa Cruz or UC San Diego next fall. Afterwards she hopes to earn a master’s degree in the same field. Following her education, she hopes to be hired as data analyst to compute the differences in sets of scientific data.
In her free time, Emily likes to read. She decided to combat illiteracy through her Girl Scout Gold Award project. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book, ran a book club, hosted a book drive, founded a library at her high school, and created a website: iheartbooksproject.weebly.com. After distributing 100 copies of her book she saw how intrigued students were by her story and realized that she accomplished the goal of her Gold Award, to encourage others to appreciate books. Through her project, Emily discovered her ability to contribute to a larger purpose, addressing illiteracy.
During her sophomore year, Emily and her peers realized the power of combined knowledge and motivated each other to finish projects. By meeting in small groups, offering encouragement, and teaching each other, the group quickly mastered the content. In her junior year, she learned that the rising seniors were going to be moved to a sister school. After creating a proposal that would allow the rising seniors to stay on campus, she collaborated with her peers, the staff, and administrators to successfully convince the school that the rising seniors should remain on their campus.
She is also involved in the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Japanese American Citizen League (JACL) and volunteered at Suzume no Gakko, a Japanese American summer school, as a childcare provider.
3. Yue Ting Lu:
Yue (Victoria) Lu is currently a senior at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, California. She transformed immensely through the years while balancing her rigorous advanced placement classes along with her extracurricular activities.
In high school, she broadened her horizons beyond academics. She founded her school’s first writing club, Writer’s Circle and led the publication of her school’s first and now yearly anthology, Seedling. She also immersed herself in a unique culture by living with a host family in Germany for a summer after being awarded a scholarship from Youth for Understanding.
Victoria, though once a shy, humble girl who was terrified of public speaking, found her catalyst for change in the realm of speech in debate, and specifically in the event international extemporaneous speaking. Within just two years, she was the only girl to reach the final round of the California State Tournament. She placed 7th in the state.
This enormous growth and firsthand knowledge that anything can be accomplished with dedication motivate her to achieve more, for both herself and others. Victoria sets aside time to helping others discover their true potential and succeed. In speech and debate, she personally coaches members, shares her knowledge, and unifies her speech team into a speech family. Outside of speech and debate, Victoria guides fifth graders in completing their science fair projects and, as the experienced member, works with others in Mock Trial team to prepare the pre-trial motion.
She was able to further develop critical leadership skills at Haas’s Berkeley Business Academy for Youth, a selective summer program. She and a team of five others acted as a game theory and strategy team to analyze a mock case and finalize a business recommendation for Apple Incorporated. She connected her group with friendship, clarified responsibilities, and guided discussions to set the team vision. She learned the importance of collaboration in striving for excellence, as every person in her group contributed to and gained pride from their final result.
She plans to pursue her passions for business and economics at University of California, Berkeley in the fall of 2015. There, she hopes to create crucial connections and network with future and lifetime friends. With this support base consisting of her family, friends, and relatives, Victoria hopes to shatter the drawbacks usually associated with introverts, the bamboo ceiling for Asians, and the glass ceiling for women in the world of business.
4. Ky Gia Huynh Pham:
Ky Gia Pham is currently a senior at Oakland High School in Oakland, CA. She is also a first generation Southeast Asian who immigrated to the US when she was five years old. She left Vietnam with her dad and sister; she never got the chance to know her mom.
She likes being involved in school and community activities. She is currently the National Honor Society President where she organize meetings and provide community services needed for the members. She also encourages the officers and members to be involved in outside activities to better the community. For outside activity, she is a Summer Search Ambassador; Summer Search is a program that provides educational resources and emotional support for low-income students in high school and onward. As an Ambassador, she helps recruit underclassmen and organize any events with the staff members.
She is planning to double major in Sociology and Business Management and eventually earn an MBA. Her dedication to providing high school students with opportunities to succeed extends to all those from communities that traditionally have little access to education. She plans to seek internships that will enable her to better understand the positive and negative factors that are affecting youth. Eventually, she can help address high school dropout rates and support more successful educational completion among the next generation. Furthermore, she wants to address the big issue of limited resources by supporting government-funded programs that are devoted to helping students reach their college destination.
Her goal is to become the Executive Director or C.E.O. of Summer Search. She intend on expanding the organization for students in California and other states. Because students from her community have traditionally become high school dropouts, this and similar cultures, represent a large portion of students missing out on their education.
She understands the struggles of overcoming challenges in life. However, she knows that she has supportive and loving people in her life who are willing to give help. She created a family, something she can never feel with own; over the years, she has gotten closer to her sister, and now her sister is her only family. Her family dysfunctions did not held her back. Instead, she became more determined to make a better living situation for herself. It is the reason why she is self motivated and determined to address education, the one thing that no one can take away from her. She wants people to feel that way as well.
5. Vi Luong
Vi Luong is currently a high school senior at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, California. She plans to study Business Administration (with an emphasis in International Business) at Chapman University in the upcoming fall, and would like to utiliz her degree in the fashion/design industry sometime in the future.
At Fremont, Vi is involved in many extracurriculars and embodies the diversity that her school is known for. A few of her most prominent roles include being a Board Member in the National Honors Society, section leader and the student leadership team’s Social Chair in her school’s marching band, and a cabinet member and activities commissioner in ASB (leadership). She also volunteers extensively with the Interact/Rotary Club, American Red Cross, YMCA, through NHS, and at various elementary and middle schools’ after school learning programs.
In addition, Vi is an avid athlete, musician, and scholar. In between her participation in marching band, wind ensemble, and varsity track and field, she has found time to enroll in Business courses at De Anza College in addition to her strenuous high school class load. She has won the Scholar-Athlete Award, Athlete of the Month, and Principal’s Honor Roll throughout all her years at Fremont, and believes that it is her participation in athletics and music that has taught her how to succeed in all other aspects of her life.
6. Andy Hung-Quoc Tran, 17
Apollo High School
Hi my name is Andy, and I myself am one of those students who have fallen behind the pack and given up. However, with the help of my family, friends and my teacher, Mr. Redmon, I have driven myself back on to the path to success by attaining 3.5 GPA.
I started off high school falling behind my classmates which, as a result, caused tension between me and my parents. This tension caused me to look for an escape —an escape which was done through gaming. Through these games, I found myself stumbling upon a development forum in which I met Justin Kwak. Justin helped me start off my career, and in no time, I excelled beyond his skills and developed a passion for website development. With these skills, I found myself helping around the community that jump started my career. Unfortunately, these new skills came with a cost. That cost was my academics dropping even further than before.
Fast forwarding, I ended my junior year with a GPA below 1.0, completely giving up on my education. However, nearing the end of the following summer, my mom received a phone call from “Apollo High School”, where they explained that I wasn’t on track to graduate, but if I do still consider on trying for my High School Diploma, I should come to the orientation. It was a tough decision to make since I have given up, but I pushed myself into going, and therefore, I realized that it was still possible, that I could still graduate high school and keep a promise I made to my best friend, Christine Pham, a few years back. The news of me still being able to do such a feat motivated me.
Driven by determination, I did beyond what was asked in the registration package and personal essay, making my way into the school. At Apollo, I was put into Mr. Redmon’s classroom, where for the first time in 12 years, I actually liked school. Mr. Redmon was not some teacher you see at school; the amount of effort he puts into his students is beyond what you could imagine. Seeing that there was a teacher that actually cared for my success, I was even more motivated and driven. From that point on, I turned my life around, regaining my parents support alongside with my teacher’s, I realized that I can graduate high school and further my education by going to college and aim for a doctoral degree, as well as continue my doing what I was passionate about by starting up my very own company with my two friends, Justin and Andrew, using the skills I have obtained throughout my years.