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2008 Scholarship Recipients

Michael Cruz Hara
Cal Poly Pomona University

PIFA Top Scholar Award Recipient

Michael Cruz Hara is currently attending Cal Poly Pomona and is the winner of PIFA’s Top Scholar Award for winning a PIFA Scholarship award four years in a row, consecutively.  Michael has received numerous accomplishments during his studies that include the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society and Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society and has been a frequent qualifier for the quarterly Dean’s List.  He is also an active member in Keith and Jean Kellog Honors College at Cal Poly and volunteers regularly for the college’s donation drives, beach clean-ups and university open houses.  He has fulfilled numerous leadership roles by encouraging and involving student members in active service within and outside of the university, such as, AIDS Walk Los Angeles, Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington Beach Clean-Up and so much more.  Most importantly among his contributions to the community is his active involvement with the Guamanian community of San Diego.  With graduation only a year away, he is determined to return the graces of his community in a respectable manner.  Upon graduation from Chemical Engineering in 2009, he will proceed to graduate school where he will work toward a PhD in biomedical engineering.  He plans to study treatments for oncology and neurological diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.

Brianna “Kelani” Blackwell
Valhalla High School

PIFA Scholarship Recipient
Jonathan Tarr Foundation Award

Brianna “Kelani” Blackwell is a graduate of Valhalla High School and will be attending San Diego State  University in the fall.  Kelani prizes her diverse achievements in music, sports and her academics.  She has held first choir for playing the cello and was awarded Most Outstanding Strings Player.  She has also played basketball for nine years and was Captain for her Varsity basketball squad, which helped her sharpen her leadership abilities.  She was on the Honor roll graduating with a 3.4 GPA.  Kelani has focused many hours serving the community of San Diego as she held the title of Miss Teen Spring Valley.  As a role model for young women of San Diego she participated in numerous service projects including Relay For Life, Fire Expo, Winter Wonderland at Jackie Robinson YMCA, National Mentoring Day Celebration and so much more.  Kelani will be pursuing a career in music production as she studies Music and Finance.  She is also currently in the process of assisting and researching two books regarding her Samoan culture as seen through the eyes as a young girl.  Her goal is to have at least one of the books published by June 2010.

Geminelle Nicolette Dominique Rollins
UC Riverside

Geminelle Rollins currently attends UC Riverside and is studying Liberal Studies with the hopes to become a teacher at the elementary level.  She plans to graduate college with an emphasis in teaching and administrative studies.  Her goals include creating an afterschool program that keeps kids our of the streets and help create awareness of other cultures; and taking a step toward the end of racism.  At UC Riverside, Geminelle ran track for the UCR's division I track and field team and was still able to maintain above a 3.4 grade point average.  She also became one of the founders for the Pacific Islander Student Association at her college with the hopes to spread the beauty of her Hawaiian culture through the club.  Along with her studies and extra-curricular activities, Geminelle works at an inner-city elementary school as a tutor and mentor.  While dancing with Halau Hula O'Keala Laua'e, she was asked to sing the National Anthem for several track meets all over San Diego and at the Pacific Islander Festival in 2006 and realized her love for music.  Since then, she has been asked to sing at various events and has competed in several competitions where she has won and thus deciding to pursue music full force. 

Latafale Nancy Aloese
Morse High School

Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego Scholarship Pageant Contestant & Scholarship Recipient

Latafale Nancy Aloese is a high school graduate of Morse High School and will be attending San Diego State University in the fall.  With her ability to maintain a 3.5 GPA.  Fale was also President of her after school program “A.E.I.O.U”, which stands for “All Ethnicity Individual Opportunity Unite” at Morse High School and was an active member of the St. Rita’s Samoan Church Choir.  At Morse, Fale helped organize a dance group and the volunteered by performing at various events, such as St. Rita’s Catholic Church, the Jacob Center, Market Creek Plaza, UC Santa Barbara and more.  She was also very active in helping her church during their annual events.  Recently, she participated in the FACELIFT project in City Heights where they remodeled a small part of the community.  Her goals are to major in Business and Management and to open a Teen Center where Pacific Islander students and others can go to seek help, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Katelyn Nicole Kamalu’O’Nalani Martin
Escondido High School

Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego Scholarship Pageant Contestant & Scholarship Recipient

Katelyn Nicole Kamalu’O’Nalani Martin is a high school graduate of Escondido High School and will be attending Palomar College in the fall.  Katie was Senior Class Vice-President for her class and a part of the Associated Student Body where she learned great leadership skills.  She received academic awards in science and computer applications, graduated with a 3.67 GPA and was a participant in the California Association of Student Leaders Conference (CASL).  Katie has also served her community by organizing Red Cross Blood Drives and volunteered during the San Diego Wild Fires.  She is dedicated to her culture as a dancer for Heali’i’s Polynesian Revue for the past five and half years, member of the Hui Lima Hana Elua (North County Hawaiian Club) where she has been the editor of their newsletter, helped organized events and more.  Her future plans are to transfer to a four year university where she hopes to receive a teaching credential with her main career goal of becoming a 3rd grade teacher.

See Scholarships winners 2007
2009 Scholarships
PIFA 2009 High School and Undergraduate scholarship submissions deadline was February 28, 2009.
High School application
Undergraduate application
APIAHF Scholarships
Talofa, Aloha, Hafa Adai, Malo elelei, Bula, Iorana & Greetings ALL:

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are providing four (4) scholarships to Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander throughout the continent U.S., Hawaii, Alaska and U.S. Territories.  The NHPI students require to be under-graduates and recent graduates (Class of 2008) to be eligible for the Project IMHOTEP internship program for the summer of 2009 at Morehouse College.


I also would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciations to Dr. Ho Tran, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) and A. Sam Gerber, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for this collaborative effort; great opportunity; and valuable support for our NHPI community.


Please refer to attachment for the required specifics in applying for the NHPI scholarships for Morehouse College. 


The NHPI Alliance will assist in the recruitment process.  Should you have any question, please contact me (310) 766-3196 and/or nhpi_alliance_ca@yahoo.com or further details contact Taunuu Vee-Remmers at (415) 568-3306 and/or tvremmers@apiahf.org.

Ia manuia,

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2008 Scholarships
PIFA scholarship applications for 2008 is now closed.  Scholarships will be awarded at the 2008 PIFA Festival. 

QUEEN Miss Pifa 2008
Katelyn Nicole Kamalu'O'Nalani Martin

Latafale Nancy Aloese
For information about Miss PIFA please email:



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