By Mark E. Galiza, APIASF/GMS Scholar
A year ago, if someone asked me what my plans were after high school, I would have pondered on the question and optimistically said that I wanted to go to college and major in engineering. However, in reality, doing so would have been almost impossible. One of the biggest obstacles that I had to cope with throughout my senior year was my single mother losing her job over the summer. To this day, I can still remember the exact moment when my mother and I were sitting with her employer and hearing him fire her. I remember how devastated and mournful I was to see my mom in that situation, even breaking down into tears as we left. Senior year was very challenging because of it; however, never did I let that circumstance affect my academics or my hope for a better future. Reflecting back on it now, my mom losing her job was almost like a blessing because it taught me a lot about myself. Without it, I would not be the strong and resilient person I am today.[[MORE]]
I first heard about the Gates Millennium Scholarship during the beginning of my senior year from my student government advisor, Mrs. Glenda. Upon learning about my situation, she insisted that I try to apply for it. At the time, I had the belief that my chance of receiving this scholarship was impossible. I remember even thinking that I would just be wasting my time if I tried applying. However, because of Mrs. Joyo as well as another advisor, Mrs. Susan Gomes, they motivated me to apply for it. Without their belief and confidence in me, I do not think I would have applied. But because of them, I did. I still can recall sacrificing many hours and sleepless nights trying to finish all those essays and working on the application, at some points even breaking down into tears while writing them. I will forever be grateful to many people for helping me through this amazing and challenging experience. Without the belief of Mrs. Joyo and Mrs. Gomes, and the dedication and sacrifice from my academic counselor and English teachers, Mr. Tad Iwata, Ms. Kimberly Toso, and Mrs. Susan Takamatsu, who looked over my essays, I would have never completed the application. At the time, even completing the application alone was such an amazing and fulfilling experience for me.
Now it was just a matter of waiting. When the final decisions were sent out, I was in shock and disbelief! I was actually at a college fair when my mom called me saying that I had a big envelope from the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Upon hearing it, I was so anxious and nervous that I left immediately and drove home. Never in my life was I more nervous than the moment when I came home and saw the big envelope on the table. I immediately screamed, then slowly and carefully opened it! The first thing I saw was the phrase “Welcome to the GMS Family” on the folder, and from that moment I started screaming so loud and jumping. Even my mom began to cry, knowing that I just received a life-changing scholarship. Then I stopped and immediately prayed to God how thankful I was for receiving this prestigious scholarship. When I opened it I saw the certification that said “Gates Millennium Scholars Program certifies Mark Edison Galiza as a Gates Millennium Scholar for the Class of 2013”. From that moment, I thought to myself that all the hardships, struggles, and adversities that my mom and I had ever overcome were all worth it. Discovering that I was a Gates recipient was one of the most memorable and amazing moments in my life. To this day, at times, I still cannot believe that I am receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship because never would I have thought that I would be a Gates Scholar.
There are no words to describe how truly grateful and blessed I am for receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship. I am attending the University of Washington - Seattle where I plan to major in mechanical engineering. Without the Gates Millennium Scholarship I would not be where I am today. The scholarship has allowed me to focus on school without having to worry about any financial burden.
Furthermore, it not only allows me to focus on school, but also gives me an overwhelming sense of empowerment, understanding, and hope that one day I can achieve my goals and dreams. Early on in my life, one of the things I learned is to find purpose in any goal, dream, or aspiration. For me, one of my purposes in life is to make an impactful difference in people’s lives and in the community, especially those who are underrepresented. The Gates Millennium Scholarship has not only paved a way for endless opportunities, but also a path to success that I hope to one day share and be able to make a difference in the lives of others.

By Mark E. Galiza, APIASF/GMS Scholar

A year ago, if someone asked me what my plans were after high school, I would have pondered on the question and optimistically said that I wanted to go to college and major in engineering. However, in reality, doing so would have been almost impossible. One of the biggest obstacles that I had to cope with throughout my senior year was my single mother losing her job over the summer. To this day, I can still remember the exact moment when my mother and I were sitting with her employer and hearing him fire her. I remember how devastated and mournful I was to see my mom in that situation, even breaking down into tears as we left. Senior year was very challenging because of it; however, never did I let that circumstance affect my academics or my hope for a better future. Reflecting back on it now, my mom losing her job was almost like a blessing because it taught me a lot about myself. Without it, I would not be the strong and resilient person I am today.

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By Mark E. Galiza, APIASF/GMS Scholar
Often times we’re comforted with life’s endless blessings. However, life is also full of challenges and obstacles. It is up to us how we deal with these situations — give up or keep on going? I #repOpportunity by giving it my best, persevering through the challenges, and appreciating the journey!

By Mark E. Galiza, APIASF/GMS Scholar

Often times we’re comforted with life’s endless blessings. However, life is also full of challenges and obstacles. It is up to us how we deal with these situations — give up or keep on going? I #repOpportunity by giving it my best, persevering through the challenges, and appreciating the journey!

may 23/ facing obstacles
By Cherry Lim, APIASF Staff
I remember telling my mom I wanted to be a dentist when I was 7. Being a doctor meant dealing with a lot of blood, but as a dentist, I could support my family and help my community without all the guts. I applied to college and scholarships with Pre-Dental as my major and everyone who knew me in high school knew that I was going to clean their teeth one day.
Yet there I was – sitting in my dorm room, two years later, just about to sign a withdrawal form for yet another science class and facing the reality that dental school was getting further and further away. Was I not working hard enough? Why did I lack the passion that seemed to come so naturally for my classmates? Was the path to becoming a dentist not the right one for me?
College is supposed to be some of the best times in your life and a place where you can find yourself, but second semester sophomore year did not seem to be the right time to start looking. If I wasn’t going to be a dentist, what did I want to do?
I called my mom, as I normally do, absolutely sure that there would be yelling at the other end of the line. How would you support the family? We worked so hard to get you to college! But my mom simply said, “Whatever makes you happy.”
Turns out, I was putting too much pressure on myself to do something I didn’t have a passion for. I started taking classes that just sounded interesting instead of things I needed to take to apply to dental school and it showed. I was more engaged in my classes than ever before. My obstacle was to look past what I felt obligated to do and see what I really wanted to do.
As you can see in the picture above, after four tough years of “finding myself”, I finally graduated! It wasn’t easier because I was no longer taking difficult science classes, but it was worth it. I am now the proud owner of a degree in American Studies and a minor in Chinese. It was definitely not something I could have predicted for myself when I graduate high school!
What obstacles have you faced that you did not anticipate?

may 23/ facing obstacles

By Cherry Lim, APIASF Staff

I remember telling my mom I wanted to be a dentist when I was 7. Being a doctor meant dealing with a lot of blood, but as a dentist, I could support my family and help my community without all the guts. I applied to college and scholarships with Pre-Dental as my major and everyone who knew me in high school knew that I was going to clean their teeth one day.

Yet there I was – sitting in my dorm room, two years later, just about to sign a withdrawal form for yet another science class and facing the reality that dental school was getting further and further away. Was I not working hard enough? Why did I lack the passion that seemed to come so naturally for my classmates? Was the path to becoming a dentist not the right one for me?

College is supposed to be some of the best times in your life and a place where you can find yourself, but second semester sophomore year did not seem to be the right time to start looking. If I wasn’t going to be a dentist, what did I want to do?

I called my mom, as I normally do, absolutely sure that there would be yelling at the other end of the line. How would you support the family? We worked so hard to get you to college! But my mom simply said, “Whatever makes you happy.”

Turns out, I was putting too much pressure on myself to do something I didn’t have a passion for. I started taking classes that just sounded interesting instead of things I needed to take to apply to dental school and it showed. I was more engaged in my classes than ever before. My obstacle was to look past what I felt obligated to do and see what I really wanted to do.

As you can see in the picture above, after four tough years of “finding myself”, I finally graduated! It wasn’t easier because I was no longer taking difficult science classes, but it was worth it. I am now the proud owner of a degree in American Studies and a minor in Chinese. It was definitely not something I could have predicted for myself when I graduate high school!

What obstacles have you faced that you did not anticipate?

A Silver Lining

By Philip Bui, APIASF/GMS Scholar

For APIASF and GMS recipients, college is a testament to our hard-work and dreams of a better future. For many of us, our admission to college has been a twisting journey with bumps along the way. The path was probably not an easy one, but we still traveled it because college embodies the opportunity to realize our aspirations. College affords us the chance to bring our hopes to life.

Yet, the journey through college is not one without detours and speed bumps that will test the faith we have in our dreams and ourselves. For many of us, there will be life events that present themselves as obstacles between our dreams and us. Such proceedings can challenge our perceptions of who we are, and ultimately, force us to reevaluate what we want from our lives. For me, the past two and half years of college have tested the strength of my dreams, and the faith I have in myself as a student. My biggest challenge has come in the form of sickness.

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Rediscovering Math and its Place

By Philip Bui, APIASF/GMS Scholar

For many students, math is not a pleasant experience, myself included. To be honest, my relationship with math has been a tumultuous one since the very first days. For most of my childhood, I found math to be quite distasteful, and viewed it as hard mental labor for the mind. The dry and constant number crunching that characterizes the majority of my K-12 math education left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Over the years, it became a necessary evil in my life.

However, the past two years of college has abated some of this disdain. Between the ten different majors I have switched across since freshman year, I have slowly developed a greater appreciation for math. I grew to admire the elegance of math and its permeation in all fields: policy, public health, business admin, and of course, engineering. Regardless, the story of my relationship with math is far from complete, but it is a work in progress with twists and turns.

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Dr. Abdus Salam: A Forgotten Hero

By Faiza Zafar, APIASF/GMS Scholar


Dr. Abdus Salam, Steven Weinberg, and Sheldon L. Glashow were the three recipients of Nobel Prize in physics in 1979. Three of them worked separately but determinedly to achieve the goal of Einstein; which was to unify all the four forces of nature into a single one. Fortunately, these three great scientists unified two out of the four forces and achieved this great honor and distinction.

I chose to write about Dr. Abdus Salam because he was the first Pakistani to receive such an honor. As we all know, Pakistan is a prominent country in Asia. In addition to being the first Pakistani, he was also the first Muslim to receive Nobel Prize in Science and Asia has 70% Muslims. Dr. Abdus Salam despite being a first Pakistani and Muslim to receive such an honor is considered a forgotten hero. It is because Pakistanis and Muslims try to not give that much fame to him as he belongs to a sect in Islam which extremists consider Non-Muslims. In Pakistan, Dr Salam received some recognition at government level, but he was not allowed to visit universities and colleges to lecture and meet with students as he had wanted to because certain extremist students had threatened to burn down the halls where he was scheduled to speak since he belong to a different group of Muslims. These were the obstacles which he faced later in his life; now, let me start with his early life.

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