Tagged Asian American Scholarships

Congratulations to the 2019 ATG Scholarship Winners

Through our Scholarship Program, ATG proudly awards Artistic, Groundbreaker Leadership, #LiveLikeLyly and the Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarships to a select group of amazing Asian American high school seniors, college undergraduate and graduate school students who are shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain. Since 2011, we have awarded more than $65,000 in scholarships. Our selection committee reviews a combination of criteria: GPA, extracurricular activities, portfolio, essay, and letters of recommendation. Finalists were given a phone interview. This year, we will award $11,500 in scholarships to 6 amazing students.

The Scholarships Committee was led by Co-Directors of Community Outreach Hue Dao and Lisa Tran. Hue Dao has served on the Board since she was a college graduate. “Being a part of this scholarship selection committee and seeing the hard work and talent of these students has been very rewarding. Since the induction of this scholarship eight years ago, ATG has developed a community of leaders, artists and entrepreneurs, who have been struck with the spirit of paying it forward. They have donated their time and talent to fundraising and our projects on the horizon. I am inspired and very fortunate to witness the impact these young people are making and will continue to make for generations to come,” said Hue.

Lisa Tran also serves as ATG’s Advisor to Thailand and professionally as Managing Director of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships at SMU Cox School of Business. Said Lisa, “The quality of our applicants were exceptional this year. We received over 200 applications with diverse backgrounds and intended majors. Serving on the 2019 ATG Scholarship Selection Committee is one the highlights of being the Co-Director of Community Outreach, and I feel blessed and humbled to have met these six amazing young leaders. I have no doubt that a few, if not all, of the scholarship winners will change the world one day.”

Tammy Nguyen Lee, ATG Co-Founder/President, participates in finalist interviews and deliberations. Said Tammy, “Getting to review and talk to these young Asian American students is one of the most rewarding and inspiring parts of what we do. We get re-energized by seeing their work, hearing about their passions, and play a part in building that dream. ATG is very grateful to our scholarship review committee of Hue Dao, Lisa Tran and Carol Nguyen as well as generous scholarship donors like Bruce and Pat McRae and Ranier and Grace Pabilona for helping us keep alive the spirit of what it means to go Against The Grain. Through our scholarship funds, we are investing in these amazing students who will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the world.”

We are thrilled to announce this year’s winners…

  • Alina Dong – Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship
  • Andrea Liu – Bruce & Pat McRae Artistic Scholarship & #LiveLikeLyly Memorial Scholarship
  • Marty Loh-Deschaumes – Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship
  • Angelina Retodo – Artistic Scholarship
  • Kevin Tyan – Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship
  • Kevin Ung – Artistic Scholarship
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Alina Dong | Houston, TX | 18 years old | GPA: 4.0 | Intended Major: Political Science, Music, Economics | Harvard University| Chinese

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“To me, going ‘Against The Grain’ is when an individual chooses to resist the conformity of society’s preconceptions and expectations, and instead chooses to take pride in his or her unique passions. Being unafraid to stand out and be challenged in new and uncomfortable fields are what it means to go ‘Against The Grain.’”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“As an Asian American female in opera and politics (fields which are respectively dominated by non-Asians and males), I work to pave new paths in unexplored careers, create new opportunities for those like myself, and remain innovative so that I may serve as an example of someone who is unafraid to break the molds. I take pride in singing on opera stages and speaking at commission meetings in City Hall as an Asian American female.”


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Andrea Liu |Katy, TX | 18 years old | GPA: 3.91 | Intended major: Visual & Environmental Studies | Harvard University | Chinese

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“To me, going “Against The Grain” means listening to myself and diving head-first into my passion for art. As a mere college freshman, I have yet to determine where exactly this interest will take me, but I know with certainty that I cannot give it up. In the face of defaulting to a future with traditional security, I believe that only by understanding my own truth as a student can I then achieve personal growth. I want to make sure that every day, I challenge not only the “grain” of conformity, but also myself as well to become a better artist—and more importantly, a better person.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“During the winter of my senior year, I took a course called “Imagining Your Future.” To do so, we reflected on what made us the happiest as children and endeavored to look only at our own desires. I soon realized that my past was filled with art; thus, my future should be too. This simplistic, self-centric view of “what’s next?” felt selfish at first, however: would I repay my parents for their sacrifices by entering a supposedly insecure or superfluous field? Thankfully, my time in school has also shown me that art is, in reality, far from selfish. I never considered myself an activist before arriving at Exeter in eleventh grade. Yet, as I settled in to this new community, I realized the importance of having a space to acknowledge the current state of affairs. From designing stickers to build excitement for our school’s Martin Luther King Jr. day of discussions, to helping create the first edition of The Asian—the only Asian(-American) literary magazine on campus—to explore our identity, to founding a publication dedicated to uniting different on-campus affinity groups to start important conversations, I realized that going “Against The Grain” is a mindset: art is empowering.”


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Marty Loh-Desschaumes | Brisbane, CA | 24 years old | GPA: 4.0 | Intended Major: Real Estate & Built Environment | Harvard Graduate School of Design | Chinese/Thai/Indonesian

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ to me means creating nontraditional solutions to complex issues. The act of going against the grain usually involves completing something truly unconventional and perhaps even doubted by many. Moreover, going ‘Against The Grain’ refers to a leader or entrepreneur’s ability to proactively innovate solutions and think ‘outside of the box’ in the face of doubt and tradition. “

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“I go ‘Against The Grain’ by pursuing entrepreneurial solutions to complex issues. My ‘Against The Grain’ journey began in a volunteer role with the LA Conservation Corps to support their mission of empowering at-risk young adults and minority groups within the LA region through conservation workforce development. I brainstormed a native plant nursery concept, intended to supplement the city’s landscaping demands while also creating another LACC revenue stream. This would allow the organization to streamline their current operations with the City of LA and increase funding for their workforce development efforts. At first, various members within the management team were doubtful, citing the stringent rules that govern nonprofit organizations and the apparent operational risk. However, through integration, cooperation, and communication with stakeholders, the LA nursery garden concept became viable. What started as an experiential learning activity transformed into a business plan and then a pitch to social enterprise funds. Through these fundraising events, the nursery concept netted the venture over $150,000 in startup seed capital and proposed social impact lending.”


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Angelina Retodo | Castro Valley, CA | 18 years old | GPA: 4.26 | Intended major: Animation | California College of the Arts| Thai/Filipino

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?

“To go ‘Against The Grain’ is to challenge the expectations of society by carving your own path and taking risks so you can fully express an experience that is individual to yourself. Those that go against the grain often evolve into architects of our future, since they have the willpower to sculpt society to their vision and introduce the world to a new perspective. The battle against complacency is often difficult, and requires innovative thinking and experimentation without fear of failure. It is those that overcome this battle that become remarkable people who truly go against the grain.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“Throughout history, artists have remodeled their interpretations of the status quo into new ideas that reflect their own reality. In effect, the work of artists often sparks new ideas for the world and future artists to indulge in. Through this creative process, artists become natural forward thinkers who make it their prerogative to go against the grain and truly introduce themselves to the world. It is through this continuous staircase of artists building upon the vestiges of the past to create the new that has allowed art to cultivate the world that we live in today and the future we will live tomorrow. As an artist myself, I plan to leave my own footprints within society, by combining my own inspirations and experiences with the fascinating magic of animation. By pursuing a career that allows me to create stories and entire worlds for others to enjoy I hope to use animation to share my own wisdom and project my own interpretations of the human experience to others. As an aspiring animator, I hope to dedicate my life to creating something special and true to my own identity, while empowering future generations as well.”  


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Kevin Tyan | Somerville, MA | 25 years old | GPA: 3.84 | MD | Harvard Medical School | Taiwanese/Singaporean

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”  

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ means innovating in a space that is resistant to change while maintaining steady faith that your work will ultimately benefit the lives of many. It requires one to have the audacity to disrupt traditional industries, shed light on fundamental flaws in the system, and advance new solutions. Going ‘Against The Grain’ embodies the ethos of what I have strived for through entrepreneurship, and is the mindset that has helped me overcome failures, grow beyond inexperience, and contribute my unique perspective to some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“My experience as an inventor and founder of Kinnos has been intensely formative. From working to protect Ebola fighters to expanding our mission towards reducing healthcare associated infections, these past few years have allowed me to learn and grow beyond the traditional classroom. By inventing a new color-changing disinfection method and helping to deploy it on the front lines of Ebola epidemics, I have gone ‘Against The Grain’ through eschewing a traditional career path and bringing change to outdated methods in dire need of innovation.

Through this entire experience of starting Kinnos, both my perception of the healthcare field and my self-expectations have evolved. Initially, I viewed the physician’s role as the important, yet singular task of healing patients. Now, I see that I can contribute to medicine not just by treating my patients, but also by devising solutions to challenges in healthcare. Few are better equipped than physicians to live through and diagnose the shortfalls of the healthcare system. I hope to go ‘Against The Grain’ in the medical profession by not only treating people and saving lives, but also improving its methods and tools through entrepreneurship.”  


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Kevin Ung |San Jose, CA | 30 years old | GPA: 3.43 | MFA Film & TV Production | University of Southern California | Chinese-Cambodian

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ is doing something that scares you, because it isn’t expected of you. Asian Americans are supposed to be America’s ‘model minority’: smart and obedient to a fault. I reject this—this is not who we are—we are unique individuals with fascinating stories. With this scholarship, I will show the world that Asian Americans have unique stories that deserve to be told.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“I go ‘Against The Grain’ by never giving up my filmmaking dreams after almost a decade of working and always keeping film close to my heart. It is a dream that isn’t typically expected of a child of refugees, but it is one that I am intent on pursuing. There needs to be more Asian American representation in Hollywood and that is exactly what I plan to do. The Asian Americans before me paved the way, and I plan to further their progress so that future generations will be confident that people care about our stories. I will try to break down barriers to show the world that Asian Americans can and will be a driving force in cinema and entertainment. There are very real racial barriers in Hollywood, and there is a lot of work to be done. I’ve been warned by others from working in Hollywood because of my ethnicity, but if not now, then when? It’s about time the world sees Asian American stories, and I aim to help make this a reality.”