The scholarships were established to help Southeast Asian refugee students who had been displaced by the wars of the 20th century. So, I've seen firsthand the stories and the difference this scholarship means for many who were applying,
The funds were made possible by the families of those who'd been unjustly placed in the Japanese internment camps during World War 2.
It's only available in one state at a time, and this year it's being made available to students in Rhode Island and Eastern MA. In Rhode Island, there were an estimated 11,971 Southeast Asians living thiere including 5,961 Cambodians, 1,015 Hmong, 3,380 Laotians, and 1,615 Vietnamese back in 2010.
For many of the states where Lao, Khmer and Hmong resettled, fewer than 2 in 10 successfully complete college, and scholarships can play a key role in preventing financial distress from being a reason for students dropping out.
Historically, it's also been very important for us to actively help get the word out to these families because many the scholarship wants to serve most don't have a frame of reference for what and when to apply.
The deadline is February 1st but it can make a real difference in students lives, especially for those who are among the first in their family to attend college.
I strongly encourage you to please help spread the word and assist students in applying if you have relatives or friends in Rhode Island or Eastern Massachusetts.
Students will need to write a Personal Statement of 500 words or less (2 pages and typed) that will help the local committee understand why the student wants to continue their education or career training after high school. they are asked to select from one of the following topics as part of their essay:
– Are there any outstanding circumstances that may help the committee better understand you/your life and goals?
– What obstacles or challenges have you faced in getting an education?
– What are your personal and career goals?
– What contributions do you see yourself making to your ethnic community in the future?
– Describe how you have demonstrated leadership in or out of school.