Scholarship recipient lives Vietnamese proverb with words of thanks and noble actions
APIASF Scholarship recipient Hung Ta visited Washington, D.C., for the 2013 Higher Education Summit which focused on promoting and advancing higher education within the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
In spring 2013, Coastline student Hung Ta was one of five lucky recipients of an Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) scholarship in the amount of $5,000. Today, he is reflecting on the impact that scholarship has made in his life and his passion for educating, not only himself, but the Vietnamese community.
“There is a Vietnamese proverb that says ‘Gratitude is the sign of noble souls,’ and I want to demonstrate the significance of that by thanking Coastline for giving me a chance of competing for and tasting this sense of huge honor,” said Ta as he referred to his scholarship grant.
As a scholarship recipient, he also earned an exclusive invitation to the 2013 Higher Education Summit hosted in June by the APIASF in Washington, D.C. The meeting is attended by representatives from the White House, multiple representative from federal agencies, multicultural political leaders, policy makers, researchers, higher education administrators, and just 34 APIASF scholarship recipients across the nation. That experience, said Ta, “broadened my knowledge of current educational issues that are pressing in the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.”
At the Summit, Ta attended several presentations that painted a picture of the state of higher education within the Asian and Pacific Islander community. One particularly distressing report, Ta said, including statistics that only 16% of Vietnamese Americans have a college degree or higher. “Compared to other major Asian subgroups of India, the Philippines, China, Japan, and Korea, that data is not positive,” he reflected. “We need to immediately do something to raise awareness about the importance of higher education for the Vietnamese American community.”
Ta is already doing something by being a showcase example himself. At nearly 60 years old, he is pursuing his degree at Coastline Community College and encourages other Vietnamese students that he meets to complete their education, compete for scholarships, and take advantage of the student services that colleges offer to help them succeed.
“I always have the opportunity to socialize with much younger scholars from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds,” he said. “Honestly speaking, I could see in their hearts fires of determination to reach their higher educational and career goals and devotion to serving back to their communities. Learning is the social process, I think.”
This process continues as APIASF again is offering scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each to students who are of Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity, are a U.S. citizen, national or legal permanent resident, and will be enrolled at Coastline Community College as a full-time student in the spring 2014 semester. Complete scholarship information, as well as the online scholarship application, can be found at http://aanapisischolarship.apiasf.org.
“APIASF has dedicated scholarships for students at only nine colleges within the U.S.,” remarked Coastline President Dr. Loretta P. Adrian. “We are honored that they have chosen our college and our students to receive these grants, and Hung Ta’s testimonial proves that the impact of the spring 2013 scholarships is already being felt within our walls and within the Orange County Vietnamese community,” she continued.
For more information on the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, visit www.apiasf.org or call (877) 808-7032. For information on Coastline Community College, visit www.coastline.edu or call (714) 546-7600.
 Dr. C.N. Le, Director of the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program at the University of Massachusetts, writes that although 42% of all Asian American adults have at least a college degree, Vietnamese Americans have a degree attainment rate of only 16%.