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.

Writing Process

Writing your story for scholarships is scary! I remember not knowing what to say and how to say it. The best thing I can tell you, is to write from the bottom of your heart. Tell your story the way you want to tell them. Always have someone look over your essay. They can give you a new perspective and help fix things that are unclear. Most importantly, make sure you take the time to reflect on your experiences. It will make the writing process so much easier! Think about all the things you have done and how they have impacted your life or others.

Good luck!

GMS 2010

Ps. The Scholarship Night went super well! I hope I motivated the students!

Hawaiian Raindrops Mosaic

By: Rebekah Loving, APIASF Scholar

Raindrops formed an opaque mosaic on my eyeglasses as I ran through the sheets of sweet, acidic Hamakua rain to my house, sitting on a slope of Maunakea. One step in front of me was all I could see, but, fortunately, my eyes were not my only vision. In my community, there were always many eyes watching over me. Despite my community being as far removed from homogeneous as honey is distant from poi, the bland, slightly sour ground taro root that was a staple of the ancient Hawaiians’ diet and is still widely eaten, we looked after one another, like families in a siege bound together through adversity. I am Rebekah Loving, recipient of the AANAPISI-APIASF scholarship in the Spring of 2016 and a rising sophomore at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. As a young woman of Native Hawaiian and Japanese descent with a multitude of other heritages, including African American, Puerto Rican, and Swedish, to name just a few, I’ve never per se fit into an ethnic community. I’m an oddball, but my community didn’t care.

When I began attending the University, I had two main goals in mind. One: I must take every opportunity to improve myself both intellectually and as a person. Two: I must be an encouragement to those less blessed than me through tutoring, mentoring, encouraging, and inspiring, but most importantly through loving. With these objectives in mind, I began to actively engage with my fellow students, which made me realize that I desired to build a community, not based on ethnicity or academic excellence, but founded on giving care and support. I wanted to create a community, as my family had in the neighbourhood I grew up in–one that managed to overlook differences and create an environment for growth and collaboration. My first goal has been surprisingly successful considering this year’s outcomes. I have collaborated on a paper published in the European Journal of Physics and will be participating in the Summer Program in Biostatistics and Computational Biology in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). My second goal is much more difficult to quantify success in, but examination showed me that the community is maturing.

In my first couple of weeks attending college, I was depressed by the lack of communication and influence the upperclassman practiced with the underclassman in the different disciplines, especially the computer science and mathematics centers where I spent most of my time. Therefore, I began, somewhat subconsciously, to work in a group for scholarly and personal support; at first, I was the only link. The connections gradually increased to include more individuals who subconsciously supported my effort in both the upper division students and my fellow underclassmen. This community was birthed by the contributors. The growth I have seen stemming from the love poured out within my community at the University is invigorating to witness. I am blessed by communities. Through raindrop stained glass, they’ve shown me miracles.    

By April D. Rongero, APIASF Staff

I #repOpportunity by always looking for the silver lining.

Sometimes a change in perspective is all it takes to turn an obstacle into an opportunity. I’ve learned to embrace the idea that “[a]dventure is but a collection of detours” (Andrew X. Pham, Catfish and Mandala), and I know that looking on the bright side has helped me navigate the more challenging moments in my life.

A Sense of Empowerment

By Tiffany Vang, APIASF/GMS Scholar

The mentality that I could achieve anything if I put my mind to it was not ingrained in me by my family; it was developed through my own experiences of success and failure. I grew up in Saint Paul in the Mount Airy housing projects, where gang violence and poverty was rampant, with my six siblings in a single mother household. Most of the people in my neighborhood, including my parents, never went to college or finished high school, so the whole process of getting into college was hard for me.

During my senior year, because of the encouragement of my Admission Possible Coach, I applied for the Gates Millennium Scholarship. When I received a large envelope from APIASF for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, two thoughts were running through my head: 1. This must be the largest and longest rejection letter in the world, or 2. I am going to be a Gates Scholar. When I opened the envelope, and realized that I was awarded the scholarship, I was shocked. To tell the truth, I don’t think I understood what it meant to be a Gates Scholar at that time or how much it would impact my life.

Fast forward to now, and I am a Senior in college. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In the past four years, I’ve been able to do amazing things that I would never have thought possible. I am a student leader on my campus where I founded the Hmong Americans Involving Students (HAIS) club, presented my own research at the Notre Dame Peace Conference, worked for a development social enterprise in India, created my own urban youth program for my community, and now am currently planning an international student conference in South Korea. By being a Gates Scholar, everyone’s expectation of me, as well as my own, rose. It was this expectation that changed my own mindset about myself. I wanted to be a better person and improve as a leader.

Keep reading

By Simone Jacobson, APIASF Staff

I #repOpportunity by making time to say THANK YOU to every person and organization that helps APIASF grow!

Each day I come to work at APIASF, I aim to help mobilize resources and communities so that our Scholars can ultimately contribute to a more vibrant America. Throughout this process, of course there are obstacles and challenges. This month, I’m happy to #repOpportunity by voicing my personal gratitude to APIASF’s many generous supporters who share our vision and invest in our Scholars’ successes. I am also truly thankful for all of the APIASF Scholars who make my job so profoundly rewarding – each new opportunity you seize is like a powerful high-five to the entire APIASF team!


By Jennifer Huynh, APIASF/GMS Scholar

I will always remember the afternoon the big envelope reached my mailbox. I was about to go out with my friends and was in the process of applying for more scholarships. I had known for the majority of my life that scholarships and financial aid were the only way I’d be able to afford a higher education. On top of that day’s mail was a large envelope marked “Gates Millennium Scholars”. I ran inside and yelled to my dad, “Oh my gosh. It’s here, it’s here. This is it.” Opening the envelope and revealing a large folder with a certificate marked “Congratulations!” inside made me tear up. My dad sat there and smiled, realizing that he didn’t have to worry anymore. For me, it had been this overall feeling of everything coming together. The late nights, the challenges and obstacles of high school, the mental stress associated with “what if I can’t pay for it”; everything had paid off. I became a Gates Scholar.

Now that the financial stress of paying for a higher education was virtually gone, it is time for me to pay it forward. I consider myself an opportunity enthusiast. With every opportunity I’ve been able to earn, I’ve always been driven to pay it forward. The Gates Millennium Scholars award is not just a scholarship, it’s also a leadership and development program. I’ve grown my leadership skills through outreach as a Gates Millennium Scholars Ambassador. I’ve done presentations for my high school and mentored prospective applicants. It’s allowed me to not only pay it forward and hopefully open the opportunity to someone who truly wants it, but also reflect and feel humbled for what the scholarship offers. It’s inspired me to do more outreach and mentoring, and even conduct outreach for a larger area. In addition, I’ve been active in establishing closer bonds and friendships through event planning and a task force with fellow Scholars in the Greater Boston area.

Keep reading


For October 2013, re/present will be exploring opportunity – whether that means being prepared when an opportunity arises, making the most of a situation, or proactively seeking opportunities for growth.

We invite you to participate by printing any of the above images, filling in the blank, taking a pic, and telling us how/why YOU #repOpportunity!

Submit your photos here!

APIASF staff will also be sharing how they #repOpportunity throughout the month, so stay tuned!

Living in a Dream

By Jamie Peng, APIASF Scholar

I am happier than I’ve ever been. I love my college. I am learning and growing every day. I am blessed with the company of new friends, as well as the love and support of my family and friends at home. Most of all, I am struck by the realization that I have so many opportunities and have so much potential.

If it weren’t for the APIASF/Coca-Cola Foundation scholarship, I wonder if I could say with this much confidence that I am living in a dream. Not only did the scholarship ensure that I am going to college without financial burden, it also made me feel like I had the ability to make a difference. It’s a powerful feeling when people I have never met believe in me enough to offer me that much money for school.

Every day I go to class - discussing Russian literature, analyzing late imperial Chinese law codes, peering through a microscope at plant cross sections - and I am immersed in a world of knowledge. I learn to think, to question the material, to question my questions, to write, to record and to analyze, to deal effectively with life’s changes. This experience is rigorous, at times overwhelming, but I know that it will take away my ignorance, open my eyes, temper my faults and flaws, and reveal my true abilities. I hope I will be ready to help others, just as the APIASF/Coca-Cola Foundation scholarship helped me, after this journey is over.

One day, I want to be part of the reason why someone else is as happy as I am now.

By Anne Y. Kim, APIASF/GMS Scholar

GMS/APIASF allowed me to develop the breadth of knowledge and cultivate my analytic skills in preparation for a moment like this. After a summer of scanning and memo writing, here I am with the policy team in Senator Feinstein’s office. They gave me a chance to grow and learn what it takes to make a Senate office run and how to create a bill for Congress. The financial security of our scholarship to pursue degrees in spite of the continuing struggles at home - giving us one less problem in the constrained pool of worries - is what makes it possible to soar in the clear, blue sky of opportunity.

Know Your Audience.

As you reflect on your own experiences and goals, it is important to understand what company/institution/entity you are applying to - what is their mission? How do you see your experiences and skills being transferable to the opportunity you are applying for? What would you gain from getting this opportunity? How do you see yourself giving back to a community of choice? That said, how are your goals relevant to the mission of the opportunity you are seeking?