2017 Yonsei Scholarship Recipients


Congratulations to Kendall Kikkawa, Keiley Kuwahara, Kaitlyn Chu (pictured with Yonsei President Jim Matsushita) and Mariko Rooks!

Sue Kamiyama Scholarship – Kaitlyn Chu

Kaitlyn gratuated from Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) with a 4.0 unweighted GPA. She will be attending USC, majoring in Arts – Technology and Business of Innovation.

Kaitlin participated in numerous community service activities, including OCO Octagons as President, V.P. of Activities, and Community Service Director, #HASHTAGLUNCHBAG Orange County making 750 lunches for the homeless, Kizuna Counselor for the Nikkei Discovery Camp, and Wintersburg Vacation Bible School Youth Counselor.  In addition to her academic accomplishments, she has been active as Founder and President of Art for a Cause (OCSA school club) that created multi-sensory boards for children who are vision-challenged at the Blind Center in Santa Ana. Kaitlin participated in the Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program, and for the past four years, she has run her own company, “Love Chu Designs,” a cell phone case designer and e-commerce website programmer.

In one letter of recommendation it stated, “I am impressed by her passion, dedication, devotion, and excitement for community service. She is an exceptional leader, volunteer, and student.”

Yonsei General Scholarship Funded By AMNET – Kendall Kikkawa

Kendall graduated from Flintridge Preparatory School with a 3.9 unweighted GPA. He will be attending the UC Berkeley, majoring in Pre-Mathematical Science.

Kendall’s community service activities include his participation for the past two years in the Nicaragua Summer Homestay Exchange Program where he volunteered at a sister school, hospital, and built stoves for those in need. He is one of the co-founders and organizers of Changing the Community Giving Circle, a group of high school students that raise funds to support change makers in the Asian Community in LA and Orange County. He is a member of the Athletic Council on Leadership that provides support and raises funds for the Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club, local homeless shelters, and a hospital in Nicaragua, and he is a member of various organizations as a counselor or volunteer to help children with special needs. Kendall was active in numerous school organizations, and he received the JP Blacksmith Memorial Award presented by the Flintridge Preparatory School Administration and Faculty as a rising senior who embodies the qualities of leadership, scholarship, athletic commitment, and public service.

“Kendall has been a positive force on campus and beyond. He is a young man who learns with enthusiasm, plays with passion, and gives from his heart,” said in one of his letters of recommendation.

Yonsei General Scholarship Funded By Kiboh Giving Circle –
Keiley Kuwahara

Keiley graduated from John F. Kennedy High School with a 4.0 unweighted GPA. She will be attending UCLA to pursue a degree within the Life Sciences.

Keiley’s commitment to giving back to the community included her participation in the OCO Octagons, by preparing and delivering Thanksgiving baskets to low-income families, donating and collecting warm clothing for the homeless, and many other fundraising activities. She volunteered in the Rancho Los Amigos Rehab Center’s Summer Robo Camp (use of new therapeutic practices redesigned by robotics), working with and entertaining patients who are disabled, and assisting as one of the head coaches at the Fighting Irish and VFW Keiki Kodomo Summer Basketball Camps where she taught the kids fundamentals, teamwork, and sportsmanship. She was a Board Member on the Kennedy High School Raising Student Voice and Participation Club that coordinated student suggestions on improving the school with the School District Board.

One of her letters of recommendation noted, “With all her community service and academic achievements, I believe Keiley will no doubt continue to succeed in college and serve her community throughout her college and adult life.”

Yonsei General Scholarship Funded by Changing the Community Giving Circle – Mariko Rooks

Mariko graduated from Culver City High School with a 4.0 unweighted GP. She will be attending Yale University majoring in History of Medicine, Science, and Public Health.

Mariko’s numerous community service activities included her role as a camp counselor for the Kizuna’s Nikkei Discovery Camp for the past three years leading elementary and middle school-aged children in cultural activities and weekly field trips to Little Tokyo. She took part in the Nishi Girl Scouts’ numerous community service activities, completing her Silver Award Project. She volunteered numerous hours coaching kids in Culver City Softball Little League Clinics. Other ways she has demonstrated her involvement with the Japanese American Community and her dedication to community organization and education have been through her participation as a Panelist at the Smithsonian Museum of American History Summit in 2016. She has been passionate on educating others on: the relevance of Japanese incarceration during WWII to today’s youth and community and what students can do to address racism in their communities; she was a Guest Coordinator for the Sexual Harassment and Assault Awareness Month Campaign working with Girls Build LA Club at Culver City High creating a weeklong awareness campaign; and working with the Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches team of students who created outreach tools to use at bone marrow recruitment drives and a new brochure outlining the procedures and benefits of donating blood and bone marrow. In addition to Mariko’s academic and community involvement, she has been a two-time All League Varsity Girl’s Water Polo recipient, participated on the Varsity Softball Team for four years, has been the President of the Speech and Debate Team for four years, and has been a participant in the Kizuna Youth CAN Leadership Program since 2013.

In one letter of recommendation it stated, “Mariko is, by far, one of the single most incredible individuals in her charisma, her passion, her intelligence, and most importantly in her drive to be a change for her community.”