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APIASF: Reader for 2015-2016

posted Jan 14, 2015, 7:11 PM by Ezra Lockhart
The 2015-2016 APIASF General Scholarship application closed on Friday, January 9. The scholarship fund received a record number of 8,953 applications, an increase of over 2,000 from the previous year. This is my second year serving as reader for the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. I am grateful to be part of the process to select the next cohort of APIASF Scholars. 

For the next nine weeks, I plan to review at least twenty-five applicant submissions a week. My target and goal this year is to assess 225 scholarship packets. I understand how important this role is and the impact it will have on the ability for applicant to access much needed funds. I posted a year ago some of the alarming facts regarding poverty rates in the Asian and Pacific Islander American communities. That same year I reviewed and marked 50+ applications and was impacted by the heartfelt stories and self-determination of those scholars. I found the process personally rewarding and welcomed this year's opportunity to increase my level of contribution. I am glad to say I am already halfway through my target for this week.

With the desire to increase my assessment volume I want to equally increase my care in considering each packet. I aim to provide an unbiased and thorough review of each of the applicant's materials, while being mindful of my personal bias and the experience of these students and their communities. I understand that English proficiency might be potentially impeding since 79% of Asian Americans and 43% of Pacific Islanders speak a language other than English. I plan not to be too critical in this category as I am naturally inclined to. I also appreciate, understand and acknowledge that the strength of these communities is grounded in kinship, culture and resilience. I must reorient my perspective on leadership, which is heavily influenced by westernized notions, to encapsulate a more culturally-relevant definition. As a Native Hawaiian and member of this community I believe I will have an easier time achieving this task than those without this background. I wish all the applicants and readers luck in the weeks to come.