2005 Award Winners

Melanie Hui

Mountain View High School, Mountain View

Melanie is a leader and student activist. In her sophomore year, she organized the student-led protest against state educational fund cuts. She galvanized others so that it grew to include 20 schools, 1000 students and numerous legislators rallying against the reduction. She founded the Vision New America High School Chapter which promotes civic participation among Asian Americans; she also founded her school’s Peer Mediation program. Melanie plans to attend University of California at Los Angeles, majoring in economics with an emphasis on political science and international relations. She plans to become an attorney in the future.

Arisa Nakamori

Albany High School, Albany

Arisa is the recipient of the Inspiration Award due to her personal strength and perseverance enabling her to accomplish tremendous achievements in light of a difficult personal situation. She is an accomplished student and coach in Kendo, a Japanese martial arts. Arisa is trilingual in Japanese, English and American Sign Language and has used her skills to assist others and plans on using it for her future career plans of being an ambassador or professor. Arisa plans to attend University of California at Berkeley majoring in International Studies/Political Science.

Chi Nguyen

California High School, San Ramon

Chi founded Viet Nam Youth Interchange 7 years ago to help the orphans in Can Tho, Vietnam. Chi has raised over $34,000 through piano performances at music benefits, making candy and other fund raising events and the monies have been distributed to Vietnam educational programs and the orphans’ shelter. In addition, Chi is co-president of her school’s Speech and Debate Team and has excelled as part of the Mock Trial Team.  She has also founded her school’s Green Team, which focuses on a school-based recycling program. Chi plans to attend Stanford University, majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Nghi Nguyen

Bishop O’Dowd High School, Oakland

Nghi is the recipient of the Linda Chiu-Wei Wu Memorial Scholarship and is an accomplished scientist. During his internship and other work at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) researching thalassemia, he became the only person there able to run experiments in a highly sensitive computer program. Nghi was also selected to the prestigious summer program at MIT’s Research Science Institute. Nghi is active in school government and founded the school’s French Society. He plans to attend Stanford University, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Vidya Pai

Northgate High School, Walnut Creek

Vidya is the recipient of the Susan Chan-Lim Memorial Scholarship. She is a long time volunteer at Kaiser Permanente Hospitals in Walnut Creek and Oakland and has organized many events there. Vidya is first violinist with the Oakland Youth Orchestra and has also won numerous statewide awards for her piano performances. She is the founding president of her school’s A.P. Biology Club and is active in the South Asian Student Alliance, Model United Nations Club and Varsity Tennis. Vidya plans to attend University of California at San Diego, majoring in pre-medicine.

Amy Shi

Milpitas High School, Milpitas

Amy is an accomplished artist and won the first place prize in the Hong Kong Student Film Festival. She also was the only student representative selected for Beijing Olympics 2008 Delegation and gave a speech to the International Olympic Committee in Moscow. Upon arriving in the U.S., Amy has been active in the Kiwanis Educating Youth (KEY) Club and has organized numerous community events. She also is a Milpitas Volunteer Partner and works with Milpitas City Hall to organize city events. Amy plans to attend Columbia University with a major in both Economics and Film Studies.

IaOo Vang

Sunnyside High School, Fresno
IaOo is the recipient of the Inspiration Award for her ability to deal with the trauma of domestic violence and become a role model for others. IaOo is part of the vibrant Hmong community in Fresno and aspires to become a physician in order to provide medical and culturally competent care to the community. She is active in her school’s Doctor’s Academy Magnet Program and also tutors elementary school students on a weekly basis. IaOo plans to attend University of California at Los Angeles, majoring in Biology.