The Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association

2007 Los Angeles Chapter Scholarship Recipients

The Los Angeles Chapter of AAJA is pleased to announce eight winners in this year’s competition for local scholarships, which total $10,000. To apply for the scholarship, applicants needed to complete a six-part application that included a resume, official school transcript, two letters of recommendation, short essay and work samples. Students are selected based on the following criteria: commitment to the field of journalism; sensitivity to Asian American and Pacific Islander issues; journalistic ability; scholastic ability; financial need.

Alvand Abdolsalehi, University of Southern California
$2,500 AAJA Los Angeles Chapter

Alvand, a sophomore at USC, impressed committee members with the quality of his application package, notably his compelling personal essay. The committee was equally impressed with his broadcast work samples, commitment to journalism and strong letters of recommendation. “Alvand has exhibited a great hunger and talent,” one of his mentors writes. Another writes, “I greatly admire Alvand’s commitment to serving the public. He frequently speaks about the under-representation of Asian Americans in society and emphasizes his goal of better representing the Middle Eastern community through journalism, and I am positive that he is fully capable of accomplishing this task.”

Shuhei Matsuo, Pepperdine University
$1,750 Los Angeles Times Scholarship

Shuhei, a junior at Pepperdine, is receiving his second AAJA-LA scholarship. He received his first last year for what judges said was his “real thirst to learn and unlimited potential.” This year’s committee believes that Shuhei, who was born and raised in Japan and was 15 years old when he came to live in the United States, will one day fulfill his goal of being a bicultural journalist. He has shown vast improvement in his work samples this year. One of his instructors writes that in the last year, Shuhei has “become a key component in our [journalism] program. Shuhei has become an excellent reporter, writer and editor. He has a solid work ethic, and is enthusiastic both in and out of the classroom.”

Caroline Park, University of California, Los Angeles
$1,750 Peter Imamura Scholarship

Caroline, a junior at UCLA, believes that “accurately representing the Asian American community does not mean acting the direct opposite of stereotypes, but rather being candid about the customs that come from my heritage.” Caroline is one of the few students to make it into a UCLA TV program that consists of a “series of rigorous internship workshops offering no academic credit and no pay,” her instructor writes. “The students who pass through this process truly want to pursue a career in the industry.” Committee members believe that she has the dedication to become a professional journalist and, to use Caroline’s own words, “proudly honor this privilege by being myself around people of every color.”

Avni Mehta, Georgetown University
$1,500 Los Angeles Chapter Scholarship

Avni, an Orange County resident, is a first-year student at Georgetown University. Her stellar grades, strong letters of recommendation and personal essay convinced the committee that she has great potential in achieving whatever goals she sets her sights on. “Avni is a highly self-motivated student and leader,” one instructor writes. “A natural leader, she radiates competence, self-confidence and a dose of self-deprecating humor that has made her both popular and respected among her peers.” Avni is majoring in international relations but would like to continue working as a student journalist. “I have a passion for reporting and the desire to enhance my understanding of issues facing the community,” Avni writes. She shows her dedication to the Asian American community by participating in a number of extracurricular activities, including volunteering at the Chinmaya Mission and the Irvine Global Village Festival.

Edmund Lo, University of California, Berkeley
$750 Los Angeles Chapter Scholarship

Edmund, an Orange County resident, is a freshman at UC Berkeley. Edmund was almost disqualified from winning an AAJA scholarship because of a clerical mix-up at the national office. But his extra efforts to provide the missing pieces of his application package made all the difference, allowing the committee to award him a scholarship. Edmund had a strong essay, stellar grades and top-notch letters of recommendations, as well as excellent work samples. With more training, he has the talent to make it in our competitive industry. “I continue to be impressed by the depth of his thinking and the many facets of his personality,” one of his instructors writes. “I am left with the impression that this is a young person who will accomplish wonderful things.”

David Yi, University of Southern California
$750 Los Angeles Chapter Scholarship

David is a junior at USC. As a child, he says, it always bothered him to witness his grandparents, especially his grandfather, being belittled by others because of their ancestry. “Did they know how revered he was back in his hometown of Seoul, South Korea?” As a broadcast journalist, David wants to be the voice of Asian Americans who cannot defend themselves. “This is America, the land where diversity should be embraced and tolerated. And these are people whose voices are abandoned and shunned,” he writes. “I want to be their voice, one that will refuse to be ignored any longer.” David spent the summer interning as a print journalist in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Alyssa Dikitanan, California State University, Fullerton
$500 Los Angeles Chapter Scholarship

Alyssa, a junior at California State Fullerton, is interested in expanding and sharing her knowledge of Asian issues through her writing. In awarding her a scholarship, the committee notes that Alyssa has a good, varied background that shows her commitment to journalism and sensitivity to Asian American and Pacific Islander issues. Alyssa is of Filipino and Chamorro descent. She says that as a child growing up in Northern California, she had the opportunity to participate actively in both cultures through family gatherings. She continues to learn more about her ancestry by participating in local and school Asian and Pacific Islander activities. “I carry on my passion,” Alyssa writes, “so I can continue making a difference in my new community.”

Jacquelinne Mejia, University of Missouri, Columbia
$500 Los Angeles Chapter Scholarship

Jacquelinne, a resident of Downey, is a freshman at the University of Missouri, Columbia Jacqueline feels passionate about pursuing a career in journalism. “I love the thrill of the chase to find the answers to probing questions, finding new insight by interviewing an individual, and the feeling of accomplishment when my articles are printed,” she writes. The committee believes that she has a lot of potential and finds it interesting that she is a Latina who has an interest in Asian American issues.