2017 UWNAA Scholarship Dinner


We celebrated and honored our 2017 UWNAA Scholarship Winners on October 14 with our annual UWNAA Scholarship Dinner at the Nisei Veteran’s Committee Memorial Hall. The UWNAA Board of Trustees proudly presented the 2017-18 scholarship awards to the following five students. The first award, the William K. Nakamura Medal of Honor Scholarship is for $3000. The second, the Kenichi (Ken) Sato Scholarship is for $2700. The remaining UWNAA Scholarships are for $2500. Since the beginning of our scholarship program in 1965, our organization has given 254 awards, including the ones mentioned here, for a total of $386,800.

The 2017-18 William K. Nakamura Medal of Honor Scholarship Recipient is Emi Nakashima, daughter of Craig and Dana Nakashima. Emi is a graduate of Meadowdale High School with a 3.95 GPA. Emi intends to major in biochemistry and plans to pursue a career as a research scientist. An active volunteer throughout high school, Emi, held leadership positions in Key Club, and the Asian Student Union, while also being an active member of the Environmental Club, Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere Club, and Math Club. In addition, she was quite involved in music, playing percussion in the school’s Band, Drumlin, Jazz Band, and

Orchestra Pit. She earned Campfire’s highest achievement, WoHeLo, and was an active member of the Seattle Buddhist Temple where she chaired the Anime Event at the temple’s annual dance festival. This activity introduced a new element of modern Japanese culture to the temple community.

The new Kenichi Sato Scholarship went to Aaron Ramos, son of Adonis Ramos and Andrea Mano. Aaron is a 2017 graduate of Edmonds Woodway High School with a 3.96 GPA. Aaron intends to enter the engineering field with his special interest in mechanical and computer engineering. Aaron has played on his high school baseball team for four years, participated in many musical activities, including both solo and ensemble musical competitions, his school’s Philharmonic (chamber) orchestra, and Camerata, a smaller, chamber ensemble of string players. With Seattle Buddhist Temple, Aaron has given a sermon and participated in a Boy Scout troop. He served as Venture Crew President, and has helped at numbers church events and the Orion Center for homeless youth. Well educated in Japanese Internment history, Aaron has made presentations on the subject at his IB English and History classes.



Kaito Durkee received the 2017 UWNAA Scholarship. Kaito, son of James and Kyoko Durkee, is a 2017 graduate of Davis High School in Yakima, with a 4.0 GPA. A Running Start student at Yakima Valley Community College, Kaito also earned a 4.0 GPA in college. He intends to enter the field of Aeronautics and Astronautics. For four years, Kaito was a percussion player of his High School Band and Jazz Band, participated with the Yakima YouthSymphony Orchestra, and served as guitar soloist for the Columbians Drum and Bugle Corps for two years. He earned a letter in varsity golf and a 3rd degree black belt in Shudokan Karate. A tutor for students struggling in math, chemistry and physics, he also volunteered for the Yakima YMCA Swim Team and helped at the Wapato Buddhist Church fundraisers.

Jenna Louie received a 2017 UWNAA scholarship. Jenna, daughter of Stan louie and Julie Okada, is a 2015 graduate of Lindbergh High School in Renton, with a 3.961 GPA. At the UW, Jenna has maintained a 3.86 GPA and is majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is a member of the UW Concrete Canoe Team and is the finance lead and participates in the National Competition. She is secretary for the American Society of Civil Engineers, the UW Chapter. Active

 in Camp Kesem-UW, Jenna has individually raised over $600 and helped put on a fundraiser that garnered more than $25K to provide a week’s camp for children who are affected by a parent’s cancer. For two years, she has also been selected to be a counselor for the camp. As a participant in the 2014 JET Memorial Invitation Program, Jenna witnessed the devastation left by the tsunami three years earlier. This experience helped focus her interest in engineering.

Cameron Wood received a 2017 UWNAA Scholarship. Cameron, daughter of Douglas and Roselle Wood, is a 2017 graduate of Wenatchee High School, with a 4.0 GPA. Cameron intends to study Communications. Cameron has participated in her high school’s cross country and track/field teams; played in the High School Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra; volunteered with the Key Club and Student United Way Youth Leadership Council where she was secretary and chaired the Community Service Committee. An aspiring journalist, Cameron has worked on the school newspaper, submitting articles and serving as sports editor and managing features editor. She has also published articles in the Wenatchee World and worked since her sophomore year.


We were honored to have Japanese Consul General, Yoichi Yamada, speak at our event. Thank you Consul General Yamada for making time for our organization and the next generation of Nikkei community leaders.


Thank you to James Shigihara for the great photos of the event!

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