Date: 2001-08-14
Washington, DC - The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), a national Asian Pacific American (APA) civil rights and education organization has chosen the 12 winners of the 2001 OCA/Avon Foundation Scholarship for APA women entering their first year in college. Winners will receive $2,000 for college expenses provided by the Avon Foundation. OCA scholarship programs endeavors to enable all APAs of all socio-economic backgrounds to obtain a higher education.

OCA has administered the annual scholarship for the Avon Foundation since 1994. This year, the OCA/Avon Foundation Scholarship was larger than ever before; OCA received over 500 applications nationwide. "These twelve young women have overcome the hardships that come with being both APA and female," remarked George M. Ong, OCA National President. "OCA is proud to work with the Avon Foundation to administer this scholarship program. We are thankful to the Avon Foundation for providing the funding that allows these young women to finance part of their education." "These talented students are well on their way to becoming leaders and role models for the APA community," said Jean Wood Chang, OCA Vice President for Education and Culture. "Our scholarship winners have exhibited excellent academic achievement, as well as taking on tremendous responsibilities outside of school. The accomplishments of these young women are an inspiration to us all.

The 2001 OCA/Avon Foundation Scholarship winners are:

Thuy Uyen Bui (Vietnamese American), from Oakland, California, taught third graders Vietnamese at St. Anthony's Parish and taught English as a second language to Vietnamese elders and students at the Vietnamese Community Center. At her school, she founded the Vietnamese Club and played on the varsity volleyball team and the varsity badminton team. Thuy will be a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley in the fall of 2001 and hopes to major in computer engineering or computer science.

Diana H. Chan (Chinese American) is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, and the Academic Team; she also competed with the Speech Team in her hometown of Gurnee, Illinois. She helped with fundraising programs with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and volunteered her time to the St. Therese Hospital. Even with a heavy courseload, Diana graduated fifth in her class. She will be at the University of Chicago next semester.

Nancy Chen (Taiwanese American), from Aurora, Colorado, will attend the College of Arts and Science at Cornell University. She has received many academic awards as well as awards in art and photography. Her extracurricular activities include Key Club, tennis, and National Honor Society and serves as a children's bible study instructor at the Galilee Baptist Chinese Fellowship, and as a ministry volunteer at the Denver Mainland Chinese Fellowship.

Hang Pham (Vietnamese American) was elected class president all four years of high school in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She also took part in the student council and the pep club and served as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper in her senior year. She received the Award of Outstanding Academic Achievement twice from the state. Hang volunteered at the St. Francis Food Pantry and the Interfaith Hospitality Network. Hang will major in biomedical sciences at the Marquette University.

Bernice Santiago (Filipino American), from Hagatna, Guam, is a straight A honors student, graduating sixth in her class. She plays the clarinet in the Guam Territorial Band Society, Guam's official concert band. A member of the Marine Mania, a high school marine awareness organization, she helped in costal cleanups and monthly cleanups at Pago Bay. Bernice will attend the University of California, Berkeley in the fall.

Sonyta Som (Cambodian American), from Garland, Texas, will enroll in the Class of 2005 at the Texas Women's University. A Texas Scholar, her courses included some of the most challenging classes offered. She is a member of Health Occupations Students of America, and worked as a dental assistant. She is also a member of the Cambodian Church of Christ Youth Group.

Sara Teh (Chinese American) comes from Lawrenceville, Georgia and was by her classmates as "Most Intellectual." She is ranked eighth in her class and named in Who's Who Among American High School Students. A Church Youth Group member and Mock Trail Competitor, Sara also helps at the Atlanta Food Bank and the Egleston Children's Hospital. Sara intends to enroll as a freshman at the University of Georgia and major in pre-journalism.

Vathveal Van (Cambodian/Chinese American), from the Bronx, New York, writes stories, essays, and poems inspired by the environment through the Urban Nature Writing Program. She has been an honor roll student since her freshman year and graduated third in her class. After school, Vathveal visits with residents and helps them around the St. Patrick's Nursing Home and has interned at the NYU Medical Center and the Montefiore Clinic. Vathveal will enroll in Binghamton University.

Angela Marie Vo (Chinese/Vietnamese American) played the alto saxophone in her high school band in Joplin, Missouri. She helped build houses with Habitat for Humanity and worked as a child caretaker with the Salvation Army. Her service in the community also included visiting with elderly residents at the National Health Care Center and Learn and Serve American, a community service club in her high school. Angela will attend the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Sally Wong (Chinese American), from New York City is actively involved with the community as part of the Chinatown YMCA. Since 1995, she has organized fundraisers, leadership workshops, and community service projects with the YMCA Leaders Club. She interned for six months at the National Labor Committee assisting with clerical work. Sally will enter the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor this fall.

Mai Vue Yang (Hmong American) comes from Oshkosh, Wisconsin where she served as secretary of Future Business Leaders of America and a member of the International Club all four years. With five younger brothers and four younger sisters, Mai must help her mother with household responsibilities and taking care of her siblings. Mai will be a member of the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh Class of 2005.

Michelle Yang (Hmong American), from Sacramento, California, will enroll in the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with several organizations including Sacramento Parenting Teens, SMART Moves at Boys and Girls Club of Greater Sacramento, and Creating Generations of Pregnancy Free Teens. In high school, she took part in the California Scholarship Federation, Hmong Club, and Early Academic Outreach Program.
Date: 2001-07-23
The acting director of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission was chosen for the job on a permanent basis after filling in since his predecessor resigned during an investigation of her spending practices.

The commissioners unanimously chose G. Michael Payton, who has served as the agency’s chief legal council and director of regional operations since 1997. He was named acting director in January when former Executive Director Melanie Mitchell was placed on administrative leave. A review by the Ohio Inspector General’s Office questioned her use of office telephones for personal phone calls, exorbitant travel expenses and raises she granted herself and employees.

Commission Chairman Aaron Wheeler said Mr. Payton was chosen over several candidates because he has been able to build a solid relationship with the OCRC staff and the office’s government partners, the Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “The other commissioners and I truly believe we have the number one draft choice in the field of civil rights,” Mr. Wheeler said. “The governor and the OCRC commissioners can sleep well at night knowing Michael is running the ship.”

Mr. Payton previously served as an assistant attorney general and worked in the real estate office at the Ohio Department of Transportation. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from The Ohio State University and his law degree from Georgetown University.