Scholarship Awardees


Congratulations to our 2018 APIQWTC scholarship awardees, Caroline and Lori Lee!

CarolineCaroline is pursuing a B.A. in Human Biology with a concentration in community health policy at Stanford University. On campus, she has worked to increase the accessibility of mental health resources, both as a trained peer counselor and as co-director of the Mental Health & Wellness Coalition; off campus, she works with St. James’ Infirmary, a free health clinic for sex workers in SF, to provide queer and trans-inclusive healthcare to underserved communities in the city. As a queer child of immigrants, Caroline has seen firsthand how the American healthcare system has failed and continues to fail marginalized communities, especially queer and trans communities of color; at the same time, however, she also has always recognized the knowledge and power these communities have (and have always had) to care for their own and be spaces of transformative healing in the face of systemic injustice. In the future, she hopes to pursue a degree in medicine in order to put herself in a position where she can provide compassionate and culturally-competent care to her communities, speak and act out against systemic queerphobia/trans-antagonism and racism within the medical institution, and fight to ensure these communities have the resources and power they need for lasting, sustainable healing.

Lori LeeLori Lee is a 3rd generation Chinese-American Lesbian is pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology in Alameda. Lori Lee decided to make the scary leap of quitting gainful employment to return to school after many years working as a child protective social worker in San Francisco, serving communities of color, queer, disenfranchised, disabled and marginalized people including issues of child abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, substance abuse, and low socioeconomic status. Lori Lee believes that life is too short and feels it’s important to do things to bring joy to your life. Lori Lee believes that no matter how old you are it is never too late to go back to school and wants people to know that no matter your age it is important to take care of your mental health. Since belonging to the APIQWTC community for many many years (yes over 20!) Lori Lee is grateful for the scholarship and all the years of support, fun and lifelong friendships.


Congratulations to our 2017 APIQWTC scholarship awardees, Victoria Cheng and Renae Moua!

VC2017Victoria Cheng is a radical person with strong beliefs in sustainability and justice. As a graduate student at UC Berkeley, Victoria studies energy systems controls and optimization in hopes that we, as a society, can achieve energy equity and energy sustainability in the near future. Outside of coursework and research, Victoria is an active and vocal advocate for womxn in STEM, LGBTQ+ rights, and racial equality, reminding and educating others about intersectional issues. Victoria is also one of the organizers for the Empowering Womxn of Color Conference, held annually in the spring at UC Berkeley.

RM2017Renae Moua is a queer Hmong American womxn, artist, curator, writer and Ethnic Studies M.A. candidate at San Francisco State University (SFSU). She received a dual bachelor degree in Ethnic Studies and Sociology from UC San Diego in 2014. Now residing in San Francisco (Ohlone Territory), her current academic research concerns a close reading of oral narratives by queer and transgender Hmong American womxn who detail their connection to refugee and diasporic history. Since 2015, she has served as a trained domestic violence counselor and survivor advocate, and is currently the Assistant Director and Curator at SFSU’s Associated Students’ Art Gallery. She is passionate about educating womxn, queer, and non-binary people of color on the practice of DIY ethics and self-publishing as acts of resistance, placemaking, and healing. Through nurturing her various interests, she hopes to continue the life-long journey of centering the resistance and resilience of queer people of color and API communities.


Congratulations to our 2016 APIQWTC scholarship awardees, Tracy Zhao and Lauren!

Tracy Zhao is pursuing a Master’s degree in Asian American Studies at UCLA. She received her B.A. from Pomona College, where she majored in Asian American Studies and Psychology. As an undergraduate, she was inspired by radical mentors and ethnic studies classes to participate in student activism around workers’ rights, sexual assault, students of color coalitions, and queer and Asian American student groups. After moving to Los Angeles, Tracy has worked with many progressive coalitions and community groups, including Summer Activist Training and API Equality-LA. Through her academic and community work, she hopes to build strong coalitions among queer and trans APIs, immigrants, and people of color. In her spare time, Tracy helps the Free Radicals collective maintain the website, a resource dedicated to critically examining science and its role in social justice.


Lauren is pursuing a Master’s in Social Work at the University of California at Berkeley with a concentration in Community Mental Health. After graduating with a BA in Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies from UC Berkeley, she participated in Public Allies Silicon Valley/San Francisco, which placed her at a non-profit where she provided case management services for formerly incarcerated, homeless, and low-income residents of Richmond and Contra Costa County. Two summers ago, Lauren participated in the Seeding Change Fellowship Program for Asian American Organizing and Civic Engagement, where she learned about community organizing and worked on grassroots community campaigns at the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco Chinatown. Afterward, she continued working at CPA as the coordinator for their queer youth program, Gender Sexuality Diversities and facilitated a weekly space for queer, questioning, and ally Asian youth.  Lauren hopes to provide healing-centered mental health support for young people of color, supporting them toward finding their own liberation from trauma and toward becoming agents of change in their communities.


Congratulations to our 2015 APIQWTC scholarship awardees, Bo Luengsuraswat and Sammie Wills!

Bo Luengsuraswat is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Comics at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He received his Master of Arts in Asian American Studies with a concentration in Gender Studies at UCLA where he graduated summa cum laude. His Master’s thesis examined the artistic production by Asian American FTM transgender artists. Bo’s comics, cover art, interviews, creative and non-fiction writings, articles and reviews have been featured in many publications. His exhibitions, performances, and film screenings have been seen internationally in Cuba and Switzerland as well as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Bo’s areas of research include critical ethnic studies, feminist studies, queer & transgender studies, popular culture, and comics studies. Born and raised in Thailand, Bo immigrated to the U.S. in 2003. In addition to attending school, writing, and doing research, Bo also started a small food business called Medina-Huang Kitchen which produces and distributes homemade peanut sauce. Bo looks forward to turning his passion for comics and illustration into a full-time career. Through his work, he looks to make a difference within the queer and trans of color communities and push the boundaries of ‘LGBT’ comics and representations. His work can be viewed on his website at

Sammie Wills is pursuing a B.A. degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity with a Minor in Education at Stanford University. Sammie also works as the Program Assistant at API Equality – Northern California, where she started as an intern in the Summer Internship Program. At API Equality, she co-founded the Communications Committee, served on the Leadership Team, and compiled curriculum to train young leaders on community organizing skills. Her senior honors thesis documents an oral history of API Equality – Northern California and aims to examine how the organization has changed over time. Currently, Sammie is a Board Member for the Stanford Asian American Activism Committee where she launched a long-term oral history project ‘Tracing Movements’ to document the immigration stories of Asian Pacific Islanders and rallied students to start a campaign focused on the need for faculty diversity. Sammie has served as the Executive Editor for Stanford STATIC, a progressive publication, and was the Kababayan Co-Chair of the Stanford Pilipino American Student Union. While at Stanford, she was also an Instructor for the course entitled ‘Revolution and the Filipino Diaspora’. As a mixed-race Filipina student, Sammie is committed to highlighting the narratives of the LGBTQ API community in her school work, through her activism, and with her organizing.


Congratulations to our 2014 APIQWTC scholarship awardees, Landyn Pan and Tõ Như Đào!

Landyn Pan is a high school senior, artist, and activist based in Seattle, Washington. As a sophomore at Bothell High School he restarted the Gay Straight Alliance club and served as president for two years, running support groups, discussing queer politics, screening LGBTQ videos, and building infrastructure for the organization. Currently, as the Director of Resources and Activism for his GSA, he leads campaigns and projects to educate students, teachers, and administrators, and visits surrounding high schools to present on various trans* topics. Landyn is also the Development Director and Graphic Designer for Trans Student Equality Resources, a youth-led nonprofit organization that works to end trans discrimination in education. Through TSER he has designed dozens of infographics on topics such as trans* terminology, school safety, and visibility. These images have appeared on prominent blogs sponsored by organizations such as, Trevor Project, Buzzfeed and Transgender Law Center. Landyn immigrated to the U.S. at the age of six with no English ability from Nanning, China with his single mother and brother. He has overcome tremendous hurdles as trans* and Asian, and has dedicated himself to taking on leadership positions to create change for marginalized communities. In the fall, he plans to attend Chapman University or University of Washington, Seattle and hopes to forge a career using media to continue his anti-oppression work in the mainstream. His infographics can be viewed at

Tõ Như Đào is pursuing a M.S.W. at UC Berkeley, with a concentration on Community Mental Health. There, they work as a Research Assistant for an LGBTQ Youth polyvictimization project. They are also President of their School’s Graduate Assembly, a leading member of the Queer and Trans* Advocacy Project, and a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Communities. Alongside their UC Berkeley work, they provide mentorship with Queer Youth Arts and collaborate with community members on a short film visibilizing the daily experiences of a Vietnamese-American trans*masculine teenager. As a UC Davis undergraduate, Như organized with queer, trans* and culturally-specific student organizations such as API Queers and Aggies of Color. After graduating, they worked at UCSF on a bilingual, health disparities research project, as well as a Community Health Intern with Asian Health Service Youth Program. Their work and activism has been featured in Ms. Magazine and independent films. Như has received the national Undergraduate Social Action Award from Sociologists for Women in Society and the UC Davis Chancellor’s Student Achievement Award for Diversity and Community. This summer, they will be returning to UCSF to join another project. As a 1st-generation Vietnamese-American graduate, Như pushes for multi-level transformation that not only centralizes the lives of marginalized peoples, but is led by those closest to struggle. They have deep faith in resiliency and the infinite possibilities of collective power.


Congratulations to our two APIQWTC scholarship awardees Alyssa Lerner and Vanessa Coe!

THANKS to all of you, for your donations and your participation in the silent auction to keep this scholarship program running. To learn more about Alyssa and Vanessa see below.

Alyssa Lerner  is a Filipina and Jewish queer womyn in her third year as an undergraduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. She is majoring in Ethnic Studies and minoring in Dance and Performance Studies. Alyssa has been interning at Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office in Oakland on projects addressing housing and homelessness. She was a founding member of the Labor Justice Project, a student organization dedicated to workers’ rights struggles and economic justice which has campaigned for Alta Gracia and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. She is currently a Director and Choreographer for Thrive Dance Company. Alyssa is interested in how dance can be a site of resistance as well colonization. She believes in the transformative power of dance in marginalized communities and hopes to open a donation based, non-profit dance studio that offers a safe space for queer youth to grapple with challenging identities through movement rather than words.

Vanessa Coe is the Lead Organizer at API Equality – Northern California an organization dedicated to mobilizing API community members to effectively advocate for LGBTQ rights in their own communities. She has a BA from University of California at Berkeley, an AA from Laney College, and will be matriculating into the Master’s in Social Work program at University of California at Berkeley in fall 2013. As a teenaged queer Asian woman, Vanessa started the Gay Straight Alliance at her high school and interned at LYRIC. As an undergraduate she volunteered as an electoral organizer mobilizing hundreds of people to halt the passage of propositions 6 and 9, two proposals aimed at funneling more funding into the prison industrial complex and disenfranchising communities of color. Vanessa also served as the Executive Director of the Multicultural Resource Center at her university. After graduating, she worked as a labor organizer on the Justice for NBC Workers campaign, fighting to win back stolen wages for Chinese immigrant workers. For API Equality she initiated an internship program specifically tailored to politicize and support young queer Asian Pacific Islanders. As a social worker she hopes to provide accessible and culturally competent care to low-income communities of color and queer and transgender people.