Outstanding Students UIAAAN Awards Recepients

Mia Xin

Mia is a junior, majoring in Agricultural Consumer Economics. She is highly involved in different RSOs and student organizations. She has worked in the Illinois Leadership Center as a paraprofessional for one year and takes charge of running different leadership programs with her colleagues. She is also the Co-Cultural Chair and Academic Chair in her sorority (Kappa Phi Lambda), which aims to spread Pan-Asian culture and serve the community.  Mia was also involved in the Asian American Student Housing Organization during her freshman year and sincerely loved the experience. Being an international student from China, Mia believes she can bring more original Asian culture from her home country and help more Asian Americans to learn about themselves.

She learned about the UIAAAN scholarship through Kenneth Importante,  assistant director of the Asian American Cultural Center, during an interview. Mia truly appreciates this rewards and the opportunity that UIAAAN gives to her. She wants to continually work with Asian American students and alumni in the future and evolve even more in this community.





Monisha Shah

Monisha Shah is a rising senior at the University of Illinois. She is a sister and executive board member of Delta Kappa Delta Sorority, Inc., serves as the secretary of the Asian Pacific American Coalition and was an intern for two years at the Asian American Cultural Center. She spent her first year at the AACC as an outreach intern and her second year as the APA Alumni Leadership Intern. Monisha had the honor of receiving the UIAAAN Scholarship this year at the AACC Leadership Awards. Winning this scholarship means so much more to her than just its monetary value. It has validated all the hard work and effort she has put in during her time at U of I, and especially her time as an intern at the AACC. Monisha works day in and day out, in everything she does, to make this world a better place for all minorities, and winning this award only pushes her harder and shows her that the work she is doing matters, and that she shouldn’t stop, no matter what. Monisha wants to express her thanks to the AACC internship program for lighting a passionate flame within her, and to UIAAAN for awarding her this scholarship and showing her that hard work never goes unseen and to keep working hard to make this world a better place for us all.






Marc Chua

Being able to cultivate his Asian American identity has been such an adventure for Marc. In high school, it always seemed like he was trying to fulfill a “How to be Asian” checklist. Whether it was being able to speak his own language, or live and breathe K-pop, being Asian meant being able to showcase “Asian qualities.” When he started his college career at UIUC, he was quickly able to discover that these “Asian characteristics” that he so highly strived to obtain played into a bigger system. He was striving to be the “model minority.” With the guidance of the Asian American Cultural Center, the Philippine Student Association, and the Asian Pacific American Coalition, he was able to explore his Asian American identity without forcing himself to submit to every “standard” needed to be Asian American. Marc began to understand that it was never about being able to dance or being able to play the ukulele because “every Asian could.” He was able to cultivate differences and began to foster the greatest quality about the Asian American identity: the ability to create a community, first, within the Filipino community, but then, by unifying the Asian Pacific American community within UIUC. Whether it was discussing Asian American issues around campus or just realizing how stressful college was, there was always someone there who would empathize with him. Building this supportive network was both stressful and time consuming, but Marc feels super-accomplished with the work that he has done and that he plans to do. The UIAAAN scholarship recognized the behind-the-scenes work of individuals who have dedicated time within their undergraduate careers to further fostering the Asian American community. Marc is deeply privileged to accept this scholarship, and he believe it motivates our underclassmen to take personal responsibility to contribute to the Asian American community.