Ajay Liu – Fullerton, CA
Computer Science, University of California, Santa Barbara
Hello! My name is Ajay Liu and I’m from Fullerton, California. I was born here in California but when I was around 4, I moved back to Hsinchu, Taiwan, where I spent 10 years growing up with 7-Elevens, YouBikes, and 50嵐 around every corner. When I decided to come back to America for high school, I felt disconnected from my “home country”; I was homesick, isolated, and struggled to fit in with my new environment. During this rough transition, I learned the importance of mental health and self-care. When COVID struck, I noticed many people were struggling from the same isolation that I felt when I first moved back. Hoping to help out, I developed Inspiration Jar, a website where users could share kind and encouraging messages to any visitor who needs them. While it may not have saved the world, I’ve learned the importance of gratitude and kindness and also picked up some web development along the way. In my spare time, I enjoy dancing, coding up projects, and hanging out with my childhood friends in Taiwan.
This fall, I will be attending UC Santa Barbara for Computer Science. I look forward to joining the Taiwanese American Student Association as well as the student dance company—perhaps even the breakdancing club. I will continue creating new projects on my website, ajayliu.com, whether it be funny games or useful tools. I hope to someday start a business where I can use my skills in software engineering to bring more awareness to mental health and help people smile more in their lives.
Computer Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology
My name is Charles Wang and I’m from Livingston, New Jersey. My mother is Taiwanese and I was born in America but spent a lot of time in Taiwan soon after as my younger brother was born in Taiwan. I have spent almost my entire life in New Jersey with trips back to Taiwan whenever affordable. Taking my first computer programming class in sophomore year of high school, I was immediately hooked. On top of problem solving, planning out how my code interacts with other parts of my code is extremely satisfying. In Fall 2022 I will be a sophomore at New Jersey Institute of Technology continuing my pursuit of a BS in Computer Science. With this major I aim to create a career for myself where I can write meaningful code that helps other people no matter how small it may seem. In all of my experiences with part-time jobs and volunteering, the most exciting part of the work is when I’m able to connect with other people. With computer science’s seemingly infinite scope of impact, I aim to make the work I do with computer science achieve a lasting positive impact no matter how small. As I progress deeper into my career in computer science at NJIT I continue to explore the many different subfields of computer science. Artificial intelligence and the generation of otherwise difficult, time consuming, and expensive to create data is currently my main interest. I draw my current inspiration from recent works like DeepMind’s AI which was responsible for a major breakthrough in solving protein structures. The computer science behind their project is/will be directly responsible for speeding up developments in medicine and chemistry. I hope to achieve the same impact with my career and to do so I’m working as a lab assistant writing code to analyze MRI scans under a lab that studies neuromuscular adaptations.
Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Hi! My name is Crystal Tang (唐士潔) and I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I love dancing, playing the piano, camping, and sports like Spikeball, football, and ultimate frisbee. At school, I am involved in the Astronomy Club, Women in STEM Club, and the German National Honor Society.
With my dad being born in Taipei, Taiwan, I have always considered Taiwan to be my home. I started learning traditional Chinese at the Tzu Chi Foundation from a young age, which allowed me to learn about and embrace my Taiwanese identity. Every summer, my family and I would visit my relatives in Taiwan. We would spend our days trekking the vast and beautiful mountains, wandering around night markets, and bonding together as a family. While the pandemic has made me unable to go back for almost 3 years, I hope that I will be able to surround myself with the Taiwanese community and become an active volunteer at Tzu Chi once again.
This fall, I will be attending MIT, where I will be studying mechanical engineering. As a kid, my dream was to work at NASA. Now that I’ve grown older, that dream has still stayed with me, as I hope to engineer autonomous air vehicles and rovers in space. While I strive to enter the space industry in the future, I hope to do research in college and design rehabilitation exoskeletons for stroke patients, as my grandfather suffered two strokes before he passed away.
I am incredibly grateful to the Taiwanese American Scholarship Fund and its directors and staff for their kindness. With their support, I will not only be able to pursue my passions but also show how proud I am to be Taiwanese-American.
Elliu Huang – San Jose, CA
Networked and Social Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania
Hello! My name is Elliu Huang, and I am from San Jose, California. Both my parents were born and raised in Taiwan. My mom grew up in Keelung and on the Penghu Islands (澎湖本島), and my dad grew up in Tainan. They moved to the U.S. to pursue higher education. In the fall, I will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I plan to major in a special program called NETS (Networked and Social Systems Engineering). I see myself in the future leveraging networks and machine learning to create a safer and more secure online world. Having lived in the Bay Area my entire life, I’m excited to study at Penn. Of course, I will dearly miss my parents who have introduced so much Taiwanese culture to me, my brother who always helps me, and free public tennis courts. Nevertheless, I’m excited to explore the urban lifestyle in Philadelphia, improve my tennis, learn Taiwanese, and try a vegan Philly cheesesteak.
Music Therapy and Computer Science, University of Georgia
My name is Cindy Cheng. I will become a freshman at the University of Georgia in this fall. I am a new Taiwanese immigrant, building my new sense of belonging in Athens, Georgia since January 2022. I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, where I grew up with my Christian, lovely and supportive family. My father is a Chinese-English translator, and my mother is an English teacher; however, they have always lived in Taiwan. Because I did not like to interact with others when I was very young, my parents introduced music to me, and it has since then become not only a tool to help me speak out my mind but also an indispensable part of my life and soul. I use music to find friends, and I worship and communicate with the Lord through it as well. I participated in the special music program (音樂班) in Taipei for seven years before graduating from junior high school, and then attended the Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University, where I received my high school diploma. To grant me more advanced musical training and expand my global horizons, my parents, especially my mom, have been supporting me in staring my new life in the United States. I plan to explore the fields of music therapy and computer science in greater depth during my college years to learn more about how the combination of both can help people with autism spectrum disorder to strengthen their connection to the world around them.
Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Dartmouth College
Born and raised in El Paso, TX, Joanna identifies as a Taiwanese-American with both parents from Taiwan; her dad is from Taipei and her mom is from Chiayi. Joanna recently graduated from Harmony Science Academy and is thrilled to be attending her dream school Dartmouth College this fall. Throughout high school, Joanna volunteered every summer at her local hospital where she has contributed over 850 service hours. Additionally, Joanna also served as the President of the Student Board of Directors over her four years, making her the youngest and longest-serving in this position. At Dartmouth, Joanna intends to pursue a double major in Biological Sciences concentrating in Human Biology and Environmental Studies modified with Sociology, and a Philosophy minor on a pre-med track. Joanna is very passionate about the intersection between how environmental policy affects the human body and society; a goal of hers as a future physician includes addressing healthcare inequities by serving disadvantaged communities in order to help close the gap in healthcare disparities not limited to economic, political, social, and environmental forces. In the long run, Joanna also aspires to teach at a graduate level and become a professor of medicine as she believes in passing down her knowledge and sharing the passion for the importance of multidimensionality to future physicians in training – she credits her educators, Mrs. Murray and Mr. Ekinci, for inspiring her with these values. Most importantly, Joanna would like to thank her parents for instilling Taiwanese culture and values that have taught her to appreciate her roots and background that have shaped who she is today.
University of California, Los Angeles
I was born in the US, but grew up in Taiwan for 10 years until 2015, when my family immigrated back to the US in Daly City, CA. After immigrating, my family faced many challenges, both in the workplace and at home. However, we were able to adapt and learn from those obstacles. In school, I’ve always had an interest in biology and loved doing lab work, which encouraged me to become a bioscience researcher in the future. I’ve had wonderful leadership experiences in high school, notably as the Lead Programmer of Robotics Club and as the co-founder & president of Science Club. I also enjoyed doing community services, particularly on food distribution and the environment. I will be attending UCLA this fall, and I can’t wait for this next chapter of my life.
Biology and Business, University of California, Berkeley
Hello! I’m Curie and I’m from Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Having lived my whole life in Taiwan before starting college at the University of California, Berkeley, I’d say that Taiwan truly has a special place in my heart. Despite its humidity and extreme heat, the passionate greetings of the pork butchers in the market every morning, the convenient transportation system that makes everywhere nearly within walking distance, and mom’s homemade fried cuttlefish balls never fails to infuse within me a sweet taste of home. As I hope to work in the healthcare field, specifically in the biopharmaceutical sector in areas related to neurodegenerative disease drug discovery, Taiwan’s universal healthcare coverage system built a strong foundation for me to understand healthcare equity that I deem indispensable in advocating for better healthcare delivery reforms in the future. In Fall 2022, I’ll be a sophomore at UC Berkeley pursuing a double major in Biology and Business. In contrast to high school where all my peers share more or less the same cultural background as I do, studying in the United States helped me realize how profoundly a voice our cultural experience bestows on us. By giving me a critical eye in decorticating global issues from multiple cultural lenses, my Taiwanese American identity allowed me to make more insightful political, economical, and sociocultural connections. Carrying forward, I aspire to draw on the tenacity my Taiwanese heritage has taught me and the creativity that my American identity has inspired me, integrating soft and hard skills both cultures have opened my eyes to to contribute to even more innovations in the global biotechnology landscape.
Computer Science, University of Washington
Hi! My name is Sophia Lin (林思雅) and I am from Seattle, WA. My hometown is Fremont, CA. My parents are from Taiwan: my mom is from Taichung and my dad is from Taipei. Almost every summer we visit our extended family in Taiwan, however, due to the pandemic, we have not returned to Taiwan for two years and a half. I hope to be able to visit soon!
In the fall, I will be a freshman at the University of Washington majoring in Computer Science to achieve my career goal of building accessible technology for people with disabilities. As a first-generation student, I grew up with a hearing disability and discovered the power of assistive technology devices like the FM system which transformed my learning experience. I am determined to advocate for people with disabilities by advancing inclusive design. I deliver accessible education to young students by hosting the STEM League Developer Program every summer, a virtual summer coding program for 6-10th grade students from underserved communities which has reached 500+ students globally during the pandemic. During the summer of 2021, I was a NASA High School Intern on the Emergency Preparedness Team where I conducted remote sensing analyses on natural disasters using Python and Google Earth Engine. Having the opportunity to learn from and interact with scientists and engineers who share a passion for STEM further sparked my interest in Aerospace Engineering, which is also a field I plan to explore in college.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the investors of the Asian Pacific Community Fund and the Taiwanese American Scholarship Fund for believing in me and my dreams. I am forever grateful to you.
Neuroscience, University of Alabama, Birmingham
My name is Spencer Chin and I am a 1st Generation Taiwanese-American who calls Montgomery, Alabama home. Growing up, the biggest supporters in my life were my mother and brother. Being the 2nd in my family to attend college, my brother was a huge influence and invaluable resource in navigating both college and my Taiwanese-American identity.
I am a graduate of Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP) in Montgomery, Alabama where I graduated with advanced honors, a member of Mu Alpha Theta, and a member of Latin Honors Society.
I am a rising sophomore currently attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham where I am majoring in Neuroscience where I hope to eventually become a physician. As a physician, I hope I can continue doing good and providing affordable healthcare to my community as there are many in our nation who are unfortunately unable to get access to healthcare.
With the TASF Scholarship, I will be able to focus on my goals and ambitions while not having to burden my family with constant worry. This scholarship is an investment in my future and I am sincerely thankful to the Board Members of the Taiwanese American Scholarship Fund for allowing me this opportunity to exemplify the best of the next generation of young Taiwanese-American professionals. Thank you TASF!