Jeff Yang Memorial Scholarship 533 Floral Park Ter South Pasadena, CA 91030

2020 Recipients

Jason Gonzalez

San Gabriel High School
Yale University

Jason Gonzalez possesses the intellect, work ethic, and passion to accomplish great things.  He graduated with a weighted GPA of 4.47 while juggling numerous extracurricular activities, including serving as Captain of the Tennis Team, Vice President of the Math Engineering Science Achievement student group, and Co-Section Leader of the Marching Band.  He also volunteered at the Monterey Park Hospital.  The selection committee was particularly impressed with Jason’s care of a sibling diagnosed with dyslexia – giving additional tutoring at home and fighting the school district for additional resources.  From his volunteering experience and his advocacy on behalf of his sibling, he learned about the inequities in our health care system.  Jason plans to major in Chemistry at Yale University and hopes to become a neurologist, devoting his practice to serving the immigrant community.  We intend to cheer Jason on every step of the way!

Zoey Hsu

Temple City High School
Yale University

Zoey Hsu is a future leader with limitless potential.  Zoey graduated with a 4.0 unweighted GPA.  She served as Editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper and a member of the Temple City Youth Committee.  Zoey is also an accomplished pianist who has won numerous awards.  More impressive, Zoey led efforts to increase pedestrian safety measures at her high school after a car hit a student.  She hosted a seminar, collected signatures for a petition, and presented victims’ testimonies to the City Council.  She persuaded the City Council to relocate the crosswalk, add yield signs, and increase a landing pad – undoubtedly stopping countless future accidents.  Zoey intends to major in Political Science and Public Policy at Yale University, attend law school, and eventually go into politics.  She wants to be a policymaker who “support[s] and fight[s] for those who face discrimination and unequal opportunities, such as minorities and immigrants.”  We cannot wait to see Zoey’s name on a ballot soon.

Angel Mendoza

Montebello High School

Angel Mendoza has an indomitable drive to succeed.  He wrote, “Perseverance and resilience describe me.  I work hard.  I have done that my whole life.”  Growing up in a working-class family, he saw his father having to juggle three jobs to support him and his siblings.  Angel himself worked in house construction and bicycle repairs and sales to contribute to his household.  During high school, he took a bus for hours in order to attend a school located far from his home, but one that offered him better educational opportunities.  Despite these obstacles, Angel excelled academically and socially.  He was ranked 7th out of his graduating class of 575 students.  He was President of the California Scholarship Federation, Co-founder and President of the Leadership Experience Opportunity Club, a member of the Varsity Cross Country Team, and a member of an award-winning Marching Band.  Angel plans to major in Business Economics at UCLA and hopes to lead language and entrepreneur programs for immigrants.  We are incredibly proud of his accomplishments and look forward to seeing him lead the business world.

2019 Recipients

Rosana Maris Arias

La Puente High School
Stanford University

Rosana Maris Arias will undoubtedly achieve great things in her life.  She graduated Valedictorian from La Puente High School.  In addition to excelling academically, Rosana was President of the Warrior Field Corps, the school marching band, and President of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A.), a student-run program that encourages students to reach higher education and to explore Latinx culture.  She also founded Students For A Successful Transition (S.F.A.S.T.), an organization that aims to get more high school students into college.  Rosana plans to study Political Science at Stanford University in order to “make real and powerful change through policy.”  She hopes to create educational reform, expand access to higher education, and increase funding for disadvantaged schools. We look forward to seeing her accomplish all of those goals and so much more.

Luke Kyaw

Alhambra High School

Luke Kyaw has a deep commitment to advance the rights of immigrants and to challenge discrimination.  Luke immigrated to the United States from Myanmar when he was 14 years old.  Despite the language and cultural challenges he faced, Luke nonetheless graduated near the top of his class at Alhambra High School, with a weighted GPA of 4.18.  Outside of the classroom, Luke was involved in the VoteAt16, a campaign to increase student representation and promote civic engagement, and worked as a tutor.  He intends to double major in Public Affairs and Economics with a minor in Spanish at UCLA.  Luke wants to build a career in law or public service and to use his position to advance the rights of immigrants like his family.  We are so happy to help him make those dreams a reality.

Leslie Ramirez

South El Monte High School
U.C. Berkeley

Leslie Ramirez is an inspiration.  She has overcome tremendous barriers through hard work and tenacity.  For the first 14 years of her life, her family lived in a house with three other families.  Nonetheless, Leslie feels grateful for her parents – both Mexican immigrants – who tirelessly worked to feed and house Leslie and her siblings.  They taught her the importance of respect, kindness, and perseverance.  With those values, Leslie graduated at the top of her class with a GPA of 4.13.  She plans to pursue Global Studies at U.C. Berkeley to learn about the histories and cultures of underdeveloped countries and to eventually help promote the development of those countries.  Leslie does not plan to wait until after graduating from college to make a change.  She wants to put on workshops and web posts to address and tackle the issue of food insecurity in Berkeley. We have no doubt she will the world a better place.

2018 Recipients

Alejandro Moreno

John Marshall Fundamental High School
Indiana University Bloomington

Alejandro Moreno excels at everything he attempts.  During his time at John Marshall Fundamental, he played Varsity Football, Varsity Cross Country, and Varsity Track and Field.  He was elected President of the Junior Class and Vice President of the Associate Student Body.  Alexandro also founded ForFood, an organization that helps feed less fortunate families.  He accomplished all of these amazing feats while maintaining an impressive weighted GPA of 3.82.  Alejandro attributes his successes to his father who, as a farmworker and later as a gardener, “was able to overcome all the negativity in life and give [Alejandro] a better life, one with limitless opportunities.”  Alejandro was motivated to go to college because his father “always emphasized the importance of an education,” and he is determined to represent his father’s character and his Hispanic heritage with pride as he blazes a path through higher education.  We have no doubt that Alejandro will succeed.

Jaclyn Ng

Mark Keppel High School
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jaclyn Ng is going to be a pioneer in science and technology.  As an immigrant, she had to overcome a language barrier.  As a woman, she had to challenge assumptions that she did belong in the fields of math and science.  Jaclyn knocked down one obstacle after another and proved wrong those who doubted her – being the only girl on the Math Bowl competition team, getting a perfect score in Math and Chemistry on the SATs, and graduating Salutatorian of her graduating class.  We were extremely impressed by her sheer determination “to show the world that you don’t need to be born rich or privileged to achieve your dreams.”  She said, “In my world, there are no glass ceilings. Language barrier?  No problem.  Judgment from others?  Bring it on.  No one else has done it before?  I’ll be the first!”  We cannot wait to see Jaclyn break down barriers, and likely win a few Nobel Prizes along the way.

Karen Olivares Lopez

Bell Gardens High School
University of California – Los Angeles

Karen Olivares Lopez is committed to improving her and her family’s “standard of living by having a great career.”  Previously, her family of nine members lived in a one-bedroom in Boyle Heights.  Growing up, Karen saw her immigrant parents struggle to pay for health care services they received for emergencies.  These experiences inspired her to take advantage of every opportunity and to work hard in school.  For instance, Karen aced several Advanced Placement classes, in part, by staying up past midnight to finish homework.  It is no surprise that Karen graduated fourth in her class, which was composed of over 600 students.  She plans to major in biology at UCLA and hopes to become a pediatrician.  Karen would like to give back to the community by helping community clinics provide low-income families access to health care.  We are extremely happy to help Karen achieve her dreams.

Zhen Xi (Kyle) Rong

Arcadia High School
Harvey Mudd College

Zhen Xi (Kyle) Rong moved from China to the United States in the eighth grade and powered through early language barriers through sheer determination, dedication, and some Criminal Minds.  He soon discovered the universal language of mathematics and dove into mathematical modeling.  Kyle’s passion led him to found the Game Theory Club, win Bronze in the USA Mathematical Talent Search, winning Second Place in the Science Olympiad Southern California State Chem Lab, and First Place in the Bay Math League.  Kyle also made time to give back to the community by tutoring recent immigrants, while maintaining nearly all straight A+ grades.  Kyle will be attending Harvey Mudd College in the fall.  He hopes to use mathematical modeling to study conflicts and develop proper human behavioral modeling and fair division techniques to resolve the conflicts of resources allocation across the world.  We have no doubt he will have a huge and positive impact on the world.

2017 Recipients

Hoyt Gong
South Pasadena High
University of Pennsylvania

Hoyt Gong’s accomplishments are incredible and his passion to help the underserved is an inspiration. Hoyt graduated as a valedictorian for his graduating class. He obtained this honor while juggling numerous extracurricular activities, including being Editor-in-Chief of his high school yearbook, President of the Leo Club, and Youth Board Executive President for the Los Angeles American Red Cross. Hoyt has been a laboratory intern for the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, where he researched cancer tumor suppression, and a laboratory intern for the Geological and Planetary Science Department at CalTech, where he researched on climate change. We were, however, more impressed with Hoyt’s empathy for the underprivileged and his sincere commitment to help others who grew up disadvantaged, as he did. We are thrilled to help Hoyt achieve his goal of pursuing a career in nonprofit management.


Sheena Horiki
Gabrielino High School
U.C. Berkeley

Sheena Horiki has a steadfast commitment to serving others. Sheena plans to major in molecular cell biology and eventually go to medical school. Her hope is to serve the Japanese American community, especially seniors, through her language fluency. She also intends to break professional barriers. We have no doubt she will succeed based on her past achievements. Sheena graduated first in her class while sitting as first violinist for the Olympia Youth Orchestra and while performing as a ballet soloist. She was a student researcher for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where she nurtured beating mouse embryonic stem cells. Sheena also interned for San Gabriel City Councilmember Jason Pu and strategized on ways to encourage collaboration between businesses and city government.

John Hua
South El Monte High School
U.C. Irvine

John Hua has achieved incredible success in the face of tremendous adversity. Growing up, John’s family moved around frequently, forcing him to change schools on numerous occasions. He was raised by his mother and they, along with his siblings, had to rely on social programs and food banks. Rather than allow these circumstances to limit him, John has used these adversities to motivate him to do better. He graduated valedictorian of his graduating class with a weighted G.P.A. of 4.29 and was elected California Boys State Representative by the American Legion. He was also captain of his Varsity Tennis team. John intends to major in computer science or engineering at U.C. Irvine. We cannot wait to see John’s continued success in college and beyond.

Laura Martinez
Nogales High School
U.C. Berkeley

Laura Martinez has an individual voice that shines through, and we know her strong sense of identity and history will carry her far toward her goals. Laura recalls how she and her family escaped a dangerous life in Mexico and began again as newcomers in California. Despite these difficult beginnings, Laura has racked up an incredible raft of accomplishments, including serving as ASB Executive President and student representative to the District Board, obtaining a GPA well above 4.0, and having a dedicated record of volunteering. Laura hopes to one day help future immigrant communities by creating full service shelters for those in need. We know she will do everything she sets her mind to do.

2016 Recipients

Alejandra Hernandez
Nogales High Schooll
University of California, Los Angeles

Alejandra Hernandez has an impressive record of volunteerism and an equally impressive academic record. She has earned a 4.29 weighted GPA while giving back to her community by volunteering many hours at the local library and community center, tutoring, helping with environmental non-profits, and promoting the International Baccalaureate program. Alejandra got her drive to succeed from her mother, and Alejandra hopes to show her mother that her mother’s hard work raising their family on her own were not in vain. Alejandra has high hopes of achieving her doctorate degree and becoming an optometrist, and we have no doubt she will do all that and more.

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2015 Recipients

Eli Canseco
Montebello High School

Eli Canseco is unstoppable, and he will not let anything-not his immigration status, not the bullying he experienced as a child, and not the fact he was raised by a single mother-prevent him from achieving his dream of becoming a physician. Eli was salutatorian of his graduating class, which consisted of 675 students. He was also Vice President of the Montebello Scholarship Federation, helping to raise money for scholarships for graduating seniors, and a mentor in the Montebello High School Mentoring Program, tutoring underclassmen in Algebra.

Eli will be the first in his family to attend college. Eventually, he hopes to return to the City of Montebello and open a clinic for immigrants and low-income Californians. His motivation comes from his mother and grandmother. He wants “to complete [his] education and make them proud by repaying them for everything they ever did for [him].” We have no doubt that Eli will make everyone he meets, including us, proud of him and his accomplishments.

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2014 Recipients

Elaine Cheung
Mark Keppel High School

Elaine Cheung will undoubtedly accomplish great things. She graduated from Mark Keppel High School with a 4.23 weighted GPA and earned many academic honors, like being an Advanced Placement Scholar and winning first place in the National Ocean Science Bowl. Elaine achieved these successes while working part-time at her parents’ small accounting business and volunteering at various community organizations.

She served food to the homeless with Union Station Homeless Services and organized events at the Los Angeles Public Library’s Chinatown Branch. We were also impressed by her leadership. She is president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Youth Council and vice president of the City of Monterey Park’s Youth Advisory Board. After losing her father to a stroke, Elaine dreams of becoming a dependable doctor who improves the lives of patients. We are happy to help her reach her goals and are excited to see how she’ll pay it forward.

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2013 Recipients

Xiao-Yi Chen
Mountain View High School

Xiao-Yi Chen is fiercely determined and unstoppable. Despite having arrived in the United States only three years ago, Xiao-Yi Chen graduated from high school at the top of her class. This was no easy task. Xiao-Yi struggled to learn English and a new culture. In addition, she had to work in her parents’ restaurants on the weekends, serving as hostess, peeling shrimp, folding dumplings, and cutting fruit. Often, her feet would be numb from having to stand all day and her hands would itch from having to prepare meat. She juggled these burdens with extracurricular activities, like serving as President of the Pacific Horizon student club, which helps assimilate recent immigrants into American culture. She hopes to help raise funds for schools in the future so that they can provide SAT preparation courses for recent immigrants. Xiao-Yi entering UCLA and plans to major in Business Economics. We cannot wait to see what she will accomplish in the future.

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2012 Recipients

Tiffany Calero
Covina High School

Tiffany Calero exudes determination and courage when she speaks about her calling as a physician. Her interest in medicine emerged when she had to care for her sister. Instead of fussing over the Homecoming football game or studying for an upcoming test, Tiffany was by her sister’s side during lengthy visits to the emergency room. This burden borne out of love and selflessness for her familia did not prevent her from graduating near the top of her class. She believes that we have a “moral obligation to aid other[s]” and wants to break down “the limitations placed on Latinos.” With such conviction, we are sure she will succeed in all her endeavors, including being the first in her family to graduate from college.

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2011 Recipients

Armando Espinoza
Montebello High School
U.C. Santa Barbara

Armando Espinoza has an unshakeable commitment to better his life and his community. Raised by a mother who taught him “that a woman can play the role of father and mother for her family,” he knows first hand the sacrifices we all must make for our loved ones. His drive to succeed, “to be the one who made it to college,” was formed after witnessing his mother work as a domestic worker. We believe Armando has achieved tremendous success.

He graduated in the top 5% of his class from Montebello High School. The selection committee was also moved by his promise to help others in his community. He hopes to one day become a role model for Mexican youths in Montebello, to inspire and motivate them “to do better in their schooling.” Armando wants to lift them out of neighborhoods where crime and substance abuse are common and to empower Mexican youths to reject “the negative stereotypes” that are often placed on them. We are deeply honored to help Armando be the change he wishes to see in his community and to name him as a scholarship recipient.

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