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Alameda Chamber Foundation Awards $1,000 Scholarships to Eight Graduating Seniors

The Alameda Chamber & Economic Foundation awarded eight $1,000 scholarships to graduating Alameda high school seniors planning to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, or math fields. The awards, worth a total of $8,000 altogether, were presented on Tuesday, May 7.

Alameda Post - Winners of the 2024 Alameda Chamber Foundation Scholarship awards. Left to right: Siyena Hines, Sean Lee Phu, Ziqing Zhen, Samual Yonas, Caitlin Tran, Mateo Delgado, Allen Liao, and Kathy Le. Photo © Maurice Ramirez
Winners of the 2024 Alameda Chamber Foundation Scholarship awards. Left to right: Siyena Hines, Sean Lee Phu, Ziqing Zhen, Samual Yonas, Caitlin Tran, Mateo Delgado, Allen Liao, and Kathy Le. Photo Maurice Ramirez.

The recipients were selected based on their academic achievements, community involvement, and financial need. In addition, the scholarships aim to aid students who may be underrepresented in sciences. This is the fourth year the Chamber has awarded this scholarship. Community sponsors Penumbra Inc. and Exelixis helped fund the awards.

Winners were selected by College of Alameda Professor Diana Bajarmi, Leia Mitchell from Mindful Operations, All Good Living Foundation founder Chris Tam, and Office of Lena Tam Senior Policy Advisor Julie Yim.

According to Yim, there were at least three dozen applicants for the scholarships, noting that it was difficult to narrow down winners, because the field was so competitive. “It’s not like if they are a science major, they only do science kind of things,” Yim said. “They would do things related to children, they would do things related to food, things related to athletics, and then they would belong to leadership clubs. I was surprised at how well balanced they were.” A major deciding factor was the candidates’ essays and their ability to write well.

Caitlin Tran, one of the winners, will be attending UC Berkeley to study astrophysics. She said she suffered from self-doubt when applying. “I’m actually very pessimistic when it comes to things like this,” she said. “I didn’t know if I should apply, because the chances of me winning might be low. But then I was told by Allen (another winner), ‘you might as well apply, because your chance won’t be zero.’ And then here I am.”

Another winner, Mateo Delgado, said, “I was definitely stressed out a little bit applying, because I knew it was going to be a very competitive pool. But I’m definitely really happy I got the scholarship. I’m hoping to apply it toward housing at Berkeley.” Delgado said he is interested in biotechnology and wants to pursue a career where he can positively impact the environment.

Samuel Yonas, who will be attending UC Berkeley, wants to pursue a career in robotics. He said he is grateful for scholarships that help pay for high tuition and fees. “It’s through scholarships and financial aid and grants that students like myself are able to afford college, as college becomes increasingly more and more expensive,” he said.

UC Berkeley estimates that the total cost of attendance for an undergraduate can be as much as $48,638.

Yim said it’s important to acknowledge the achievements of the students, and she hopes that the symbolic meaning is not lost. “I think the greatest thing about this is reinforcing to the kids that they really are as cool as they want to be,” she said. “We are only as good as our young people. We can encourage them [with] awards like this. I think it’s really, really important, so that kids from a young age will always know there are rewards, big and small, in front of them—and they’re achievable.”

The full list of winners includes Caitlin Tran, Allen Liao, Mateo Delgado, Kathy Le and Sean Lee Phu from Encinal High School, Siyena Hines from Alameda High School, Ziquing Zhen from Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), and Samuel Yonas from Alameda Community Learning Center.

Vicky Nguyen is a contributing writer for the Alameda Post. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at

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