By Demeturie Gogue, APIASF/GMS Scholar

Hello everyone. My name is Demeturie Gogue, a 2011 GMS Scholar. I recently graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in both Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies with a minor in Education. In the fall, I will be attending the University of Vermont to pursue a M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration.

Although walking across the stage at my graduation was a momentous achievement, it did not hit as hard as the moment the speaker at our commencement asked the first generation college students to stand up and point to their family and friends who were there in support of them. As I stood up and pointed to my family scattered throughout the audience, all I could think about was, “This is for you.” Not only my family and friends, but my community–the Pacific Islander community. Throughout my four years here at Cal, I have realized more and more the importance of both accepting and embracing my identity as a Pacific Islander. Given the small number of Pacific Islanders in higher education, I knew this diploma was not only for myself and my family, but for all of the PI folks out their striving for something greater.

This picture is just a small glimpse of the community that motivates me to continue in my education. All I am is because of them; all I do is for all of you.

Dream High

From my previous post I stated that there were many things that I wanted to do since I was little, but from all those door/opportunities I have only chosen one. That being said dreams are not just limit to family and career wise. Dreams are places that we want to travel, activities we want to do, and finally who we want to be. Over the course of time I have made many amends to my dreams.

First, places that I want to travel and write a book about them. There are many places that I want to travel to whether it be while I’m studying abroad or just for the fun of it I believe that there many more things to learn about a certain culture and experience than just watch movies about those places. I really want to travel to South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Switzerland, Greece and Italy. At first, I just wanted to travel to countries that were a bit well off as you can see from the above list. However, I changed my mind and added more countries that are 3rd world countries or developing countries. These countries are India, African, Indonesia, Philippines, and Mexico. My reason to travel to developing countries is that all my life even though there has been time when my siblings and I have to suffer financially with our parents, we were still lucky enough to have food on the table and a bed to sleep. For once I’m going to challenge myself and also help those in needs.

Next, is a list that I really want to do. I have actually never have in mind that I wanted to do these activities, but we only live once and we should do all the things we want to do while we’re still young. I want to go to Macau to do the bungee jumping (I’m pretty sure Macau has the world’s tallest bungee jumping). I also want to do mountain climbing, sky diving, and windsurfing. Usually, I stick to safe activities, but for once I just want to experience some thrills.

Lastly, if I become a pediatrician I want to open my own clinic one day and work with my friends who are getting their nursing degree/doctorate’s degree. I also want to open a yoga and/or meditation practice clinic so that people can have time to distress. In all, I just want to have fun while I’m young.

“Before you can be old and wise, you must first be young and foolish.”   ~ anonymous  

A letter to my family about my own dreams

By Ngan Nguyen, APIASF/GMS Scholar

To my family,

I want to tell you all a secret. I am double-majoring in American Studies and Educational Studies. As much as I enjoy Educational Studies, the classes I’ve taken in American Studies have shaped me into who I am becoming. I have struggled to find what I really care about and who I really am for a long time. Although I studied and worked on issues of educational equity and justice, I never really understood the true value of my work until I became aware of my identity as an Asian American woman. 

Last semester, I took a class called Asian America: A Social History, which inspired me to be open to, and have the courage to discuss, race and racism with my peers at Macalester. The class helped me become aware of my identity and the role I play as a person of color in my own community and the country as a whole. However, I was bothered by the fact that I couldn’t bring up these discussions over the dinner table.

I hope that it is not too much of a shock that my view on race and racism is totally opposite from everyone in the family. I want to explain why I decided to study something that none of you have heard about. I want to study something that will let me stay in touch with my identity, challenge my thinking about society, and use what I learn to teach the young kids at home to be proud of their identity and be aware of the role they play in society as people of color.

Keep reading

mana'o nani -- beautiful dreams

By Kehaulani Vaughn, Doctoral Candidate in Ethnic Studies at University of California at Riverside

Aloha no kakou,

It is my pleasure to be this month’s contributor to re/present. This month’s blog theme is about dreams – dreams for our families, our communities, our world, and for ourselves.

My dreams for myself are largely shaped by my educational journey. It was not too long ago when I started my undergraduate studies and realized how empowering education can be, not only for myself, but for my family and for my community. Being one of the few Native Hawaiian students at my undergraduate college, I realized that few from my community made it to college largely due to educational pipeline issues.  Because of this realization, I began to think and to dream about creating a higher education system that is more culturally relevant, is more engaged in community based research and scholarship, and can create researchers who can do the work that is needed in their own communities. As a current doctoral student with the goal of becoming a professor, I see this as even more important.

The training that higher education provides and the research it produces will enable the creation of programs needed to help our communities. In the education realm, we can create classes that empower underrepresented students that will enable them to feel that higher education is relevant. And by feeling empowered, one learns that they can take their education and knowledge, and make positive changes for the present and for the future.

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By Gretchenrae Callanta, Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing, Emmanuel College

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Lucy from Charles Schulz’ “Peanuts.”

I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I knew I wanted to be a doctor of some sort, but I didn’t like blood. Hospitals and doctor’s offices also gave me the heebie-jeebies. I liked the idea of having my own comfortable office with a couch and talking to people all day. I wanted to help people through their troubles.

march to your own beat

As you go through life, your interests, hopes, goals, and dreams will change. Your dreams will not remain constant because they are rooted in your current space and time. As a kid, you may have aspired to be a doctor but now you’re not so sure. And that’s okay! As long as you stay true to yourself and your dreams, anything is possible.

March is here and it’s time to #repDreams! Dreams help to motivate and inspire us.  And our follow through can help change the world.  Follow along this month to see how Scholars dream big and what they are doing to make their dreams a reality!

  • March 1/ Professional dreams

As scholars, we are all too familiar with being asked about our future plans.  While this can sometimes be bothersome, it is also an opportunity to reflect and expound upon your professional dreams.  What are your professional dreams?

  • March 3/ Personal dreams

 Although it is important to think about your professional goals, career success alone will not lead to happiness.  What are your dreams for your personal well-being and happiness?

  • March 8/ Dare to Dream

 “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”- Jesse Owens

 Dreaming is important, but in order to make effectual change, it is only half the battle.  What tangible steps do you plan to take in order to make your dreams a reality?

  • March 10/ AAPI Dreamers

 The AAPI community and the world as a whole has benefitted tremendously from AAPI dreamers.  These individuals have made strides in a variety of fields.  Share a picture of an AAPI dreamer that inspires you and tell us why.

  • March 15/ Dream of a better world

 Oftentimes, the news media focuses on problems facing our world and generation.  While it is certainly important to bring awareness to these events, it is also important to focus on the positives working to overcome these injustices.  Share a news story that inspires you to help make the world a better place.

  • March 17/ Have a dream

 On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said he wanted his children to “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.“  On the same day, asserted that “It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.”  After 53 years, what progress has the nation made in fulfilling this “promissory note?”  How much further does the nation have to go?  Feel free to share as much or as little as you like with the APIASF community.

  • March 22/ Are dreams symbolic?

 Throughout history, many have attributed symbolic meaning to the dreams we have while we are sleeping.  While the science behind dreams is still uncertain, some people still attach heavy meaning to their dreams.  Have you had a dream that you considered symbolic or sparked a revelation?  Share it!

  • March 24/ Dreamer or realist?

Many of history’s great leaders and artists were visionaries that thought you could never dream too big.  Others made their mark on history by being realistic, grounded thinkers.  Which are you?  Find a quote from a famous dreamer or realist.

  • March 29/ Dream of community

Attending college can often be overwhelming: a multitude of people, a multitude of courses, and a multitude of activities.  In order to create safe spaces, we can turn to various communities to make ourselves feel welcome.  Share a picture of one of your safe spaces and discuss how community has helped you realize your dreams.

  • March 31/ Create an acrostic poem of five dreams you have for your future:






My Timeline & Me

By April D. Rongero, APIASF Staff

When I was in third grade, we were given an assignment to create a timeline for our lives in two-year increments, starting at birth. As an 8-year-old, I took the task and ran with it.

Replete with drawings and one-sentence life goals, I have an unofficial custom of referencing this childhood masterpiece every now and then to see if I’m on track. Get my driver’s license at 16 – check. Go to college at 18 – check. But as my timeline progressed, my goals became less typical and much more fantastic.

Undoubtedly a reflection of my upbringing and whatever I learned from the five TV channels we had, my simple goals morphed into wild dreams for my then distant future. Among them were dreams of becoming a medical doctor, bearing twins, becoming a lawyer, and buying a mansion – and all in a span of 10 years!

I never did check off any of those things. In fact, my aspirations have changed almost completely since then, but I have to say I’m touched by the gumption and innocence of my third-grade self. Though adulthood and life may have tempered some dreams, I still try to maintain daring stretch goals for myself – dream jobs, bucket list entries, flights of fancy. The difference is that I now understand the kind of work, passion, and drive it takes to make dreams come true.

If you’ve never made a timeline for yourself, I think you should try it. I don’t mean writing out your literal 5-year, 10-year, or 20-year plans; I mean busting out poster board, crayons, and markers, and letting your inner 8-year-old dream big for you.

A Growing Tree

As a young kid all I ever wanted to do was play with my friends and enjoy every moment of life. Actually I was afraid that my time would be wasted if I don’t do some sort of activity; however, the real question here is have I ever thought of what I wanted to be when I grow up. 

I cannot recall any of my exact answers that I said for the past 15 years to my teachers, classmates, and family. In fact, I know for sure that each time when I was asked what I wanted to be I would give a different answer. There was so many things that I wanted to do as a young kid and so many professions that I wanted to become that it ranged from being an Actress to  Zoologist. Maybe because I was always constantly playing “House,” “School,” or “Doctor” that I was inspired to become an actress. If you look at it one way being an actor/actress you can play all sort of profession that you never had the chance to work for. And sometimes I just thought of professions that earn a lot of income so that I wouldn’t have to worry about earning money to eat and live for the following year.

One day I went to a Chinese restaurant with my friends and inside of my fortune cookie it said “There are many doors waiting for you, but you will only open one door.” I kept the fortune (since I always keep the good fortunes and throw away the bad ones), but I never gave much thought of it. Only a few days ago I was only beginning to question myself, what else out there is waiting for me and what door have I decided to open. All I know is that I’m a hardworking third year college with a Biology major and just enjoying life like any other regular person. 

So, what did I wanted to become when I was younger and why? My answer is there were so many professions that I wanted to become when I was younger. However, I now have opened the perfect the door for myself; although, I still question myself “why I opened this door and will my effort pay off at the end.” Even when I asked myself this same question over and over again, there’s a part of me that feels happy because I know that the best profession for me is one that I can make others and myself happy. 

/present Voice of the Month: Cindy Le

Every month, we feature a different member of our blog team as a /present Voice to formally recognize the value of his/her voice and their commitment to the blog.

This March we are excited to announce Cindy Le as our /present Voice of the Month! After participating in the #repOpportunity sign campaign at the GMS Leadership Conference in October,  Cindy has been a contemplative re/present blogger. From her posts on becoming more than statistic to her dedication to the STEM field and wanting to give back to her homeotwn of Camden, NJ, Cindy’s writing demonstrates her strong committment to live, learn and lead in the spirit of critical thinking and reflection.   If you haven’t read her previous posts, we encourage you to do so! But first, here’s Cindy in her own words–

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Cindy Le and I am a first generation college student who is a proud part of the GMS Class of 2014. I attend Rutgers University New Brunswick, hoping to earn my Physics degree with a minor in Social Justice and perhaps also in Comparative and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. Aside from my studies, I do my best to be a part of the Rutgers community. I am a member of the Vietnamese Student Association, shadowing to be the Webmaster and/or Event Coordinator. I am part of the Public Relations volunteering team for the Mark Conference, a leadership conference that invites over 20 speakers from all over the world to share their mark and inspire students to do so as well. I occasionally participate with Verbal Mayhem, an organization that promotes a welcoming environment to share artistic passions, and the Rutgers Science Mathematics Engineering Outreach, an organization that provides local communities with STEM demonstrations and lesson plans. With all my efforts, I aspire to become a physics professor or teacher, start a non-profit organization to help inner city minority students with exposure to STEM, and work with a civil rights organization to advocate for minorities. These are big dreams, but as Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.”

Keep reading

By Brenda Khor, APIASF/GMS Scholar

My family’s dreams for me were to go to graduate high school with honors, surpass college with flying colors, go to medical school, and become a doctor. After my family listened to me talk about how stressed I was, they told me that they would be happy with whatever career I chose. After the reassurance of their words, most of my stress has been released. With the support of my family, I feel as if I can conquer the world. I did not make compromises about my dreams, and that is the best feeling ever.

/present Voice: Brenda Khor

Every month, we feature a different member of our blog team as a /present Voice to formally recognize the value of his/her voice and their commitment to the blog.

We are so happy to have Brenda Khor serve as our /present Voice for the month of March! As a first year GMS/APIASF Scholar, Brenda has been an enthusiastic blogger. Her dedication to youth and community development has inspired us, and we hope all of our readers too. Here’s Brenda in her own words:

Tell us about yourself.
Hello amazing readers! Let me start off by saying how thankful I am to be featured as the /present Voice of the month for March. My name is Brenda Khor. I am a Gates Scholar from the Class of 2013. I am a Capricorn! I was born in Montreal, Canada on December 22. I have awesome parents and three sisters. My hobbies are volunteering, traveling, playing volleyball, cheerleading, rock climbing, zumba, taking pictures, and sleeping. I love to explore and try new things. I love the smell of food and also being in a spirited and energetic environment. Right now, I am studying at The College of Wooster and have yet to declare a major, but I plan to minor in Spanish because me encanta hablar español. After completing my first semester in college, I am unsure about what I want to major in, but I do know that I will love whatever career I go into because it will be related to making a difference in the world.

Keep reading

By April D. Rongero, APIASF Staff

My friend and colleague, Prema Chaudhari, was in Albuquerque recently for the Gates Millennium Scholars Alternative Spring Break program, and she surprised me with this awesome magnet from the Pueblo of Jemez.

“Everyone who is successful must have dreamed of something.”
- Native American Proverb

I put the magnet in a place where I can see it easily, so it can serve as a powerful, daily reminder that our hope for progress contributes to our success. So, whether your dreams are for yourself, your community, the world, or all of the above, don’t be discouraged and don’t let them go! DREAM ON! (And I mean that in the least sarcastic way possible!)

Pursuing the American Dream

By Reeba Monachan, APIASF Staff

Who has ever heard of a doctor making $3.00 an hour? I have. In fact, my mother made just a bit more - $3.40 - after she came to the US. Her medical degree and previous life unrecognized, my family came to live the American Dream.

Many Asian American families come to the US only to serve in areas and positions that essentially require them to start over. I can’t tell you how many cab drivers I’ve met who have terminal degrees! Regardless, they have worked hard, and define their own success because of perseverance, luck and - as Mummy likes to say - lots of prayers. 

We are a resilient people! The American Dream wasn’t only meant for those who were born here, raised here or educated here. The American Dream was built on the backs of immigrants that came to this country to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Today, my parents live comfortable lives. My mom loves to garden and my dad enjoys writing. I guess you could say we are a ‘typical American family’ (whatever that means). And their daughter is doing the work she loves having been inspired by them. It is because they pursued the American Dream that I can now pursue my own.

Dream of Becoming a Star

By Iyleen Ismail, APIASF Scholar

My childhood dream was to be a singer/actress/dancer. When I was kid, I would watch movie musicals like the Sound of Music and idolize the Spice Girls and sing their songs over and over again until I drove people crazy…or get them to sing with me. I would dream of becoming famous and lighting up the stage and performing in front of an audience and signing autographs after. I just thought that life as a performer was something really fabulous and wonderful. (I kind of still think that!)

When I was in school, I would try to take part in every school play from You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown to The Music Man and participate in show choir. I also played the violin for seven years until I got busy in high school. In high school, I became part of the school choir for two years and took private voice lessons.

During high school, however, I realized a lot of dedication, passion, and drive are needed to become a performer as I watched my drama geek friends push themselves (not to mention you start out as a starving artist). It becomes your life and you eat, sleep, and breathe it until you earn enough and become successful…which takes a long time.

Then I realized I am more of a patron of the arts rather than the actual entertainer…which is okay with me.

dreams of my youth

March is here, so that means spring is just around the corner. Soon, the weather will start to warm up, plants will start to bloom, and animals will wake from their hibernation. It is in this season of change, birth, and growth that we will be exploring the theme of dreams, hopes, and aspirations (#repDreams).

Just as a plant grows from a seed, we all start somewhere. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?