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Two Share Aquino Prize

05/23/13
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Matthew Alonzosana and Wei Kuang "Lucilla" Pan. (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: May 23, 2013

Juniors Matthew Alonzosana and Wei Kuang “Lucilla” Pan are the first co-winners of the Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship, presented annually to students who represent the highest ideals and aspirations of Boston College and the Asian American community.

First created in 1995 as the Asian American Scholarship, the award was renamed for the Aquinos in 2010. The Aquino Scholarship provides $15,000 or more toward senior year tuition. 

Alonzosana, who recently assumed the office of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College vice president, is a Presidential Scholar from Elkridge, Md., with a double major in biology and economics. He served as co-president of the Asian Caucus executive board this academic year and is a member of the Philippine Society of Boston College and The BC Rhetorical Skills Society.

In 2011, Alonzosana received an Advanced Study Grant from BC and became the youngest person ever to hold the position of Visiting Research Associate at the Ateneo de Manila. He presented his research on the Philippine health care system at the ACC Undergraduate Research Symposium last year. This past summer he studied Mandarin and Chinese health policy on a Boren Scholarship in Beijing.

A native of Newton, Pan will be co-president for the Asian Caucus next year after having served this past year as secretary and historian — in the latter role, she began writing a comprehensive history of the Aquino Scholarship at BC. She restarted ASIAM, the campus Asian American literary magazine, and is editor of Dianoia, BC’s undergraduate philosophy journal.

Last summer, Pan used an Advanced Study Grant to study German, in preparation for future doctoral studies in philosophy. Through the 4Boston program, Pan has volunteered at the St. Francis House homeless shelter in Boston, and tutored in reading and mathematics at the Kumon Center in Coolidge Corner. 

Alonzosana, who said he was “humbled” by the award and praised the many other “passionate and diligent student leaders” at BC, said he viewed the scholarship as “a challenge to share the blessings of leadership in our community and an opportunity to engage the Asian and Asian- American community to become more active and visible in BC-wide roles and, more importantly, giving others a voice by being active in civics and politics.”

Pan said, “Winning the scholarship for me is such an honor; all five finalists were incredibly qualified and have done such amazing things on campus.  This scholarship has been an affirmation of my work at Boston College, and I hope to continue serving the community next year as co-president of Asian Caucus.”

The co-winners also were gratified to be associated with an honor named for the Aquinos.

“Being of Filipino descent, I find great poignancy in the lives of the Aquinos,” said Alonzosana. “The Greek orator Demostenes once said that ‘All speech is vain and useless unless accompanied by action.’ The Aquinos exemplify this call to action. They devoted their lives to the greater principles that ground and unify our identities; for those of us who believe that BC is worth fighting for, their example should inspire us greatly.”

Added Pan, “What inspires me most about the lives of Benigno and Corazon Aquino is that they show how despite great tragedy and struggle, one should never stop striving for justice and doing right.  Even the darkest events can be turned to good if one does not give up and continues to work to help others.”

Other finalists for the scholarship were: Andy Hu, a history and economics major from Cliffside, NJ; Ji Young “Grace” Lee, an International Studies major from Alpharetta, Ga.; and Annie Mok, an elementary education and human development major in the Lynch School of Education. All finalists in the competition were awarded scholarships of up to $3,000 and, along with Alonzosana and Pan, received $1,000 gift certificates to the Boston College Bookstore.