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Berkeley JACL Holds Awards Ceremony

By June 7, 2024July 8th, 2024No Comments

Berkeley JACL celebrated its 2024 award winners on May 5. Pictured are (back row, from left) Jordan Go, Wada Nakahara, Baylor Fredrickson, Guo An Wang and Seiji Kamita and (front row, from left) Reiko Nabeta, Matthew Kojima, KG Ouye, Mari Nakamura and Cubby Nakamura. (Photo: James Takano)

The chapter presents its 2024 scholarship, Pioneer and Youth Leadership awards.

By Berkeley JACL Chapter

The Berkeley JACL chapter awarded scholarships to five high school senior students, honored its Pioneer award recipient and recognized its Youth Leadership honoree during its May 5 awards event held at the Richmond Country Club in Richmond, Calif.

Scholarships were awarded to the students to recognize their academic achievements, community involvement, school activities, work history, JACL involvement, written essay, letter of recommendation and group interview.

This year’s scholarship recipients are:

  • Baylor Fredrickson from Albany High School will attend California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, as a business administration major. He was the recipient of the George/Yoshimi Nakamura Memorial Scholarship.
  • Jordan Go of El Cerrito High School will attend the University of California, Berkeley, as a business major. He was the recipient of the Terry Yamashita Memorial Scholarship.
  • Seiji Kamita from Northgate High School in Walnut Creek will soon select the college he will be attending in the fall. He was awarded the Bea Kono Memorial Scholarship.
  • Wada Nakahara of Albany High School will attend the University of California, Riverside, as a business major. He was the recipient of the Dan/Kathleen Date Memorial Scholarship.
  • Guo An Wang of Acalanes High School in Lafayette will attend Diablo Valley College as a civil engineering major. He was the recipient of the chapter’s Scholarship Committee Award.

KG Ouye was presented with the chapter’s Pioneer Award. An Oakland native, Ouye obtained her undergraduate English degree from UC Berkeley and her master’s degree in library science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

During her 35-year civil servant career, Ouye worked for the Los Angeles Public Library, where she worked on the inner-city book mobile for Spanish and Chinese residents. She returned to Oakland as manager of the branch libraries, where she helped build five new branch libraries, and served as interim director of the Oakland City Library over the ensuing 17 years.

For the next 14 years, KG was selected as the City of San Mateo’s city librarian. During this time, she functioned as the city’s project manager to construct a 93,000-square-foot main library, as well as renovated two branch libraries.

The new library was awarded the Leadership in Energy Design environmental gold award. It was also during this time that the California Public Utilities Commission appointed her to chair a committee that distributed more than $200 million to encourage internet adoption for schools and libraries.

This appointment subsequently led to a seven-year appointment by the Federal Communications Commission as founding chair to provide more than $2.25 billion to encourage internet usage in schools across the nation. Now fully retired, Ouye gives back to her community by holding weekly reading groups with first- to third-graders in West Oakland. She finds time to read, support UC Berkeley’s women’s sports and assist with Berkeley JACL activities.

Matthew Kojima was presented with the chapter’s Youth Leadership Award. A 2022 UC Berkeley graduate with a B.S. degree in chemical biology, Kojima currently serves as the chapter’s president. Previously serving as UC Berkeley’s Nikkei Student Union representative, Kojima has lead the chapter in planning the annual Day of Remembrance, NSU visits to incarceration camps, membership enhancements and civil rights activities.

He is an associate consultant at Beghou Consulting, where he performs data analyses to advise pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

In addition, the day’s program also featured Jennifer Doi, a 2023 National JACL Kakehashi Project participant, who provided an overview of the youth exchange program that is sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Established in 2014, Kakehashi provides participants with a better understanding of Japan including politics, economics and culture, as well as builds relationships between Japan and Japanese Americans.

Born and raised in the Torrance and Palos Verdes areas in Southern California, Doi is a 2021 graduate from Santa Clara University (B.S. psychology) and is currently pursuing her doctorate in psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley.

This year’s Scholarship Committee was comprised of Jennifer Doi, Mark Fujikawa, Vera Kawamura, Karen Kiyo Lowhurst, Ryan Matsuda, Neal Ouye and Ron Tanaka (chair).