By Adonia Burciaga
Maple Duong, current sophomore at East Los Angeles College was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship (JKFUT).
Duong is one of four students who have been awarded this scholarship in the past two years.
Overall 14 ELAC students have received the prestigious scholarship.
The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships selects 100 students each year and awards them up to $55,000 a year to help them complete their bachelor’s degree.
“I would say what contributed to my success of achieving the scholarship is my involvement in campus activities,” Duong said.
Duong began attending ELAC at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was able to leverage the opportunities available virtually.
Duong was a part of the Business Club, where she was able to gain leadership experience.
She had become the vice president of the business club at the start of 2021 fall semester.
UCLA Center for Community College Partnerships and the Transfer Center also contributed to Duong’s success at ELAC.
Duong was involved in Guided Pathways; she was a student ambassador in spring 2021.
Being a part of Guided Pathways allowed her to give back to the community by meeting with faculty and stakeholders to ensure that curriculum is aligned with what students are learning right now.
“I owe all of my success to ELAC faculty who supported me through my academic journey and played a huge role in my success in being chosen as a scholar,” Duong said.
Duong said is surreal being chosen for the scholarship alongside students that are attending prestigious universities.
“The application process was nerve wracking, when you know how competitive it is. It really stops you from applying in the first place,” Duong said.
The application process also required her to respond to essay questions.
She said students should apply to smaller scholarships such as ELAC’s foundation scholarships and save the essay responses.
Students can use those essay responses to apply to other scholarships.
Duong hopes that she will be able to inspire other ELAC students to apply to the JKFUT scholarship despite the competitive process.
She said community college students are capable of earning the same things that a student at a prestigious school can earn.
Duong plans to return to ELAC and provide assistance to students who are interested in applying to the JKFUT scholarship.
Duong will be continuing her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she will be focusing on economics.
Duong said she wants to attend graduate school to pursue her interest in business.
She said she plans to open her own accounting firm which will allow her to give back to the community as well as help it have resources available to them.