Colette Mira Masunaga

June 20, 2012

Dear Kona-California Scholarship Committee,

My name is Colette Masunaga and I was the 1st place recipient of the Kona-California Scholarship in 2009.  I am currently a senior at the University of California Davis, working as a student assistant for the State of California Employment Development Department, and just returned from the UC Davis Quarter Abroad Program in Kyoto, Japan.  I am majoring in International Relations with a concentration on Global Environment, Health, and Natural Resources and minoring in Asian-American Studies.  In the future I plan on taking a gap year to participate in the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) and then attend law school.

Since graduating from Konawaena High School in 2009 and relocating to Northern California, I have become a member of a national lobbying organization for civil rights, the Japanese-American Citizens League.  I am currently serving as Youth Representative for the Florin JACL Chapter, represented them during the 2010 National JACL Convention in Los Angeles, and was a recipient of their $1,500 scholarship this past spring.

The Kona-California Scholarship gave me the opportunity to better fund and enhance my undergraduate experience.  Scholarships, like the Kona-California Scholarship, are vital in the current economic environment students live in today, and I personally know how tough it is to make ends meet while still working towards a good education.  There are so many financial burdens put on college students today that without scholarships such as the Kona-California Scholarship, the prospect of even leaving Hawaii and attending school in California seems overwhelmingly daunting.

My deep and humble gratitude goes out to the Kona-California Scholarship Committee and donors for believing in the youth of Kona and continuing to support them in their higher education endeavors.

Mahalo Nui Loa,

Colette Mira Masunaga