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.