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APIASF: End of Week 3

posted Jan 31, 2015, 3:05 PM by Ezra Lockhart   [ updated Jan 31, 2015, 3:08 PM ]
We are approaching the end of week 3 of the review cycle. The total review period is 9 weeks and I am on track to review my target goal of 225 scholarship applications. As of today I assessed 85 submissions. Scholarship readers are only required to assess 40 applicants, but I enjoy being part of a process which awards future scholars the opportunity for higher education. Post-secondary education although considered optional can make a world of difference in the areas of long term career outlooks and personal enrichment. For many, including our needs based applicants, successfully completing university-level education is their ticket out of poverty.

I assessed 53 applicant submissions last year and felt it important to contribute more of my time this year. Scholars are required to compose a total of three 500-word essays accompanied with a letter of recommendation, financial needs statement, and volunteer/work experience list. Of the three essays, the last is on the topic of struggle and perseverance. Students are asked to write about the biggest struggle they overcame.

What I have found is a divide amongst the potential APIASF scholars. On one side of the divide are those who experienced hardships exclusive to immigrant populations. I read stories of refugee camps, political and religious segregation, cultural isolation and conflict, and language barriers. On the other side of the divide I read stories of family and personal pressure to maintain high grade point averages in a culture consumed with academic standards of success.

There is a common misconception in this country that Asian and Pacific Islander Americans excel at academics and therefore have an advantage at accessing higher education. Unfortunately, this demographic experiences poverty at a greater rate than the general population. Thus, making higher education inaccessible. I have included below and invite you to view an informational video produced by APIASF with the help of Southern California Edison on this very topic. 

APIASF Informational Video