The ABAW and ABAWSSF and would like to congratulate all of our scholarship and fellowship recipients for 2020, 2021, and 2022. Please join us in congratulating:
2022 Scholarship Recipients
Takuji Yamashita Scholarship Recipient: Kathy Au
Kathy Au is a 2L student at Gonzaga University School of Law and started the first Asian American Union at Gonzaga University during her college years. In college, she endeavored to increase awareness of the API undocumented community and made Gonzaga more inclusive. After graduation from college, she committed to two terms as a College Access AmeriCorps member at Gonzaga University’s Center for Community Engagement, where she served in Northeast Spokane and continued creating spaces for API students within the institution. In her first year in law school, she, alongside a group of students of like mind, reformed the Asian Pacific Islander Law Caucus. Upon graduation, she intends to be an attorney that builds spaces for those after her, uses her voice to amplify others, and fights for an equitable interpretation of the law.
Sharon A. Sakamoto President’s Scholarship Recipient: Brianne (“Bree”) Zamora
Bree is a 2L student at Seattle University School of Law. Bree was born in the Philippines and raised in Hawaii. She is a first-generation professional in her family. She chose to go to law school with two purposes: to represent her community and to diversify the legal profession. At Tides Foundation, she designed a resource group for API+ employees and advocated and launched an API expedited racial justice grantmaking program to better serve the API community. By diversifying the legal profession, she aspires to showcase the API community’s diverse intersectional identity and challenges. As president of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association in law school, she has concrete plans to create a more inclusive environment for all API students. After graduation, she would like to seek a career in the public interest sector to bridge the access to justice gap and to make a difference by advocating for those marginalized, oppressed, and persecuted in the API community.
Spring Blossom Fellowship Recipient: Wendy Roman
Wendy is a 2L at University of Washington School of Law. Wendy is a leader and passionate advocate for immigrant rights. Inspired by her lived experience and her family’s immigration journey, she is pursuing a career in immigration law and is driven to promote justice by defending the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, advocacy, and community education. This past summer, Wendy worked at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) at their Tacoma-South Unit, where she focused on assisting trafficking survivors with U-Visa applications and providing representation before the Seattle Immigration Court and USCIS. NWIRP identified Wendy as a leader and passionate advocate for immigrant rights. After law school, Wendy hopes to develop an immigration law practice and become an advocate for our immigrant communities.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Gabriela Dionisio
Gabriela is an 1L student at Seattle University School of Law. As a daughter of first-generation immigrants from the Philippines, she is proud of her identity. Since Gabriela was a teenager, she has been actively involved with the Asian Pacific Islander community. Before law school, Gabriela worked for City of Seattle and National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. She worked with Seattle’s Chinatown International District neighborhood throughout college. In law school, Gabriela actively participates in various diverse student organizations, such as APILSA and Women of Color Coalition to help build an inclusive community at Seattle University. After graduation from law school, she will continue working with the API community.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Emily Vo
Emily is a 2L student at University of Washington School of Law. She is an Asian woman who speaks of breaking the bamboo ceiling in the legal field. Emily holds the leadership position at various API student organizations with goals to create space for students to build valuable connections and to foster a sense of community in the legal profession. Her involvement in the API community can be backtracked to college where she was an API student ambassador for her college and worked with several minority student organizations and. Following graduation from law school, she hopes to be further involved with the legal community and to mentor law students and to be a resource to API and first-generation law students. She would like to participate in the recruiting efforts of a law firm and help with the firm’s DEI efforts.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Jessica Yin
Jessica is a 1L student at University of Washington School of Law. In college, Jessica endeavored to raise awareness on campus about how misogyny and racism intersects to negatively impact Asian American women. As the student president, Jessica led discussions about addressing barriers to success for students of color. Prior to law school, she had meaningful work for the API community through employment: Jessica worked on the K-12 education policy team at a think-tank to highlight certain key educational needs of the AAPI community and to organize a virtual event where the AAPI educators, students and advocates could share their wisdom and perspectives directly to audience on issues the community is facing. Upon graduation from law school, she intends to be a public interest lawyer who represents individuals from historically marginalized communities and fights for systemic changes.
2021 Scholarship Recipients
Takuji Yamashita Scholarship Recipient: Jaclyn Sakamoto
Jaclyn Sakamoto is a 3L at Seattle University School of Law. Last year, during a trying year for the API community across the nation, Jaclyn led the SU Law API community as president of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association. As president, she provided a space for the entire SU Law community to honor the victims of the Atlanta shooting and allow people to grieve, reflect, and share their thoughts during a schoolwide event. Jaclyn also spearheaded Lunch with Lawyers, an event for API law students to learn about the experiences of local API attorneys. After graduation, Jaclyn intends to remain involved in the API community through the ABAW’s legal clinics, where she has volunteered since her 1L year.
Sharon A. Sakamoto President’s Scholarship Recipient: Felicia Hebner
Felica Hebner is a 2L at Gonzaga University School of Law and was born and raised in Spokane. Inspired by her Obachan, Felicia has been serving the API community since a young age. This past year, Felicia helped put together and co-emceed Spokane’s first-ever Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Day. Currently, Felicia is working with representatives from the Spokane API community, including the Hifumi En Society and the Spokane Chinese Association, to create two commemorative plaques to showcase the Japanese and Chinese American presence in city, and is also working to put together the first Lunar New Year festival in Spokane since 1933.
Spring Blossom Fellowship Recipient: Michelle Browne
Michelle Browne is a 3L at the University of Washington School of Law. She is interested in public interest, and specifically immigration, after working in the public interest sector for several years. Before her experience at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies this past summer, Michelle directly assisted clients as an Asylum Project Coordinator at the National Immigrant Justice Center and as an intern at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Last year, Michelle also participated in UW Law’s Immigration Clinic and the Adelante Pro Bono Project.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Myranda Buiquy
Myranda Buiquy is a 2L at Seattle University School of Law. Myranda is currently serving as president of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association at SU Law and externing at API Chaya, a nonprofit organization focused on combatting domestic violence and human trafficking in the API community. Myranda has also been involved in the local Vietnamese community since her youth and is passionate about community education. She currently teaches members of her Vietnamese youth group, Thieu Nhi Thanh The, and during this past presidential election, was heavily involved with VietFactCheck, an organization focused on combatting the spread of misinformation in the Vietnamese community.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Jamie Hearn
Jamie Hearn is a 3L at Seattle University School of Law. Jamie has been involved in the API community since high school when she served on the board of the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council and regularly volunteered at the local Okinawan Festival. During law school, Jamie has served as vice president of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association and focused on creating events for API law students to better grasp the intricacies of obtaining a summer position during law school. To that end, Jamie put together an information session on 1L diversity programs and an event to educate API law students on what to expect as a first-year summer associate.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Christine Nishigaya
Christine Nishigaya is a 3L at Gonzaga University School of Law. Christine is passionate about community engagement and maintaining cultural practices for future generations. Christine is a long-standing member of the Ching Clan Benevolent Society and See Dai Doo Society, which are organizations that promote the Chinese heritage of their respective ancestral villages and support the broader API community through community engagement, scholarship, and culture-based charitable events. Christine also served as a missionary teacher for the Maryknoll Majuro Mission in the Marshall Islands. Christine is currently serving as a student representative to the ABAW and is working to form an API-focused law student organization at GU Law.
2020 Scholarship Recipients
Takuji Yamashita Scholarship Recipient: Upama KC
Upama is a 2L at Seattle University School of Law. Upama is originally from Nepal and moved to Washington when she was 13 years old. Her personal experience as a first-generation immigrant and volunteer serving immigrant populations instilled in her a passion for public service and a desire to help those in her community. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Law, Societies, and Justice from the University of Washington, Upama became a volunteer with the Refugee Women’s Alliance, tutoring recently immigrated Bhutanese refugees. That position inspired her to join AmeriCorps, during which, she worked with the Asian Counseling Referral Service (ACRS). Upon the conclusion of her service, she decided to stay with ACRS full time as a Citizenship Case Manager and then attend law school to further help the communities she served.
Sharon A. Sakamoto President’s Scholarship Recipient: Jenny Wu
Jenny is a 3L at Seattle University School of Law. Motivated by her experience growing up in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, she has consistently been involved with the API community and is committed to making an impact for marginalized communities. In law school, she has served as the school’s liaison to the ABAW and to the Minority and Justice Commission this past year, as the president of the Asian Pacific Islander Law Student Association in her 2L year, and as a fellow for the Access to Justice Institute. In the community, Jenny has consistently supported attorneys and clients as a volunteer at the ACRS and Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC) legal clinics; worked as a research assistant to Professors Margaret Chon and Lorraine Bannai; and worked for the ACLU and Legal Voice.
Spring Blossom Fellowship Recipient: Laura Kirk
Laura Kirk is a 2L and a concurrent Sustainable International Development L.L.M. student at the University of Washington School of Law. She is interested in immigration and humanitarian law and her commitment to serving women and immigrant populations dates back more than a decade. Prior to law school, Laura volunteered with the Peace Corps in Guatemala, where she worked alongside community leaders to empower youth, women, and service providers from indigenous communities. She then worked for several years in residential foster care directly serving unaccompanied immigrant and refugee minors in the Seattle area. Once she starts practicing law, Laura hopes to use the law as a tool to support community organizing and to fight systemic oppression. For details on her fellowship experience, please visit the scholarship page on the ABAW website.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Jacqueline Nguyen
Jacqueline Nguyen is a 1L at the University of Washington School of Law. Having grown up in a tight Vietnamese community in Seattle and having learned of her parents’ experiences as immigrants, Jacqueline has been an active contributor to the Vietnamese community and greater API community. Since high school, she has assisted the Hong Bang Language School, teaching children to read and write in Vietnamese. Jacqueline has also consistently been a resource for the Seattle Vietnamese Buddhist Association, annually volunteered for Maison Chance’s annual fundraiser, and worked with the Refugee Resettlement Office as an ESL tutor and with the ACLU as a Political Strategies Associate.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Yanfei Wang
Yanfei “Faye” Wang is a 3L at the University of Washington School of Law. Yanfei transferred to UW Law’s JD program after graduating from their LLM program. Yanfei was a licensed attorney in China and decided to attend law school and continue her legal career in the U.S. She is a strong proponent of mentorship and helping law students develop their networking skills; in her 1L year, she helped develop the framework for a career advancement program now implemented at UW Law. Outside of school, Yanfei volunteers for the ACRS legal clinic and China Tomorrow Education Foundation. She also serves as vice president and mentorship chair of the Seattle Chinese Bar Association.
ABAWSSF General Scholarship Recipient: Yejin Kim
Yejin “Vanessa” Kim is a 3L at Seattle University School of Law. Yejin moved from South Korea to Guam when she was 11 years old and to Seattle when she was 15 years old. Her passion to support immigrants was ignited by her personal experience and sustained by her professional experience. She is a strong believer in volunteerism, having volunteered with the Seattle Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs, Kids in Need of Defense, and Seattle Youth Traffic Court. For the past two summers, Yejin has also worked for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) and, as part of a post-graduate fellowship after graduation, plans to partner with NWIRP to assist immigrants in removal proceedings and to provide education on policy changes, forms of relief, and protection from deportation, with a focus on family unity.