By ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Shimpo
Aerospace executive Nikki Kodama urged college-bound scholars to “blaze your own path and find your own way (and) become a member of this (Japanese American) community” as she delivered the keynote address at this year’s Japanese American Treaty Centennial Scholarship Fund awards luncheon on July 29.
Kodama, 2004 Nisei Week Queen, is vice president and B-2 Spirit Program manager for Northrop Grumman Aeronautics. She outlined her path toward her non-traditional career and emphasized the importance of community involvement and being true to oneself. She currently oversees the development, sustainment, and modernization of B-2 aircraft and encourages women to pursue technical careers.
“Be proud of your Japanese American background,” Consul General Kenko Sone said to the scholarship honorees. Community involvement is factored into the selection of the recipients.
Troy Kadonaga, a recent graduate of Chatsworth Charter High School, accepted the scholarships on behalf of his fellow recipients. He is headed to the University of Southern California, where he will major in applied and computational math.
The other 2023 JATCSF awardees are:
Elizabeth Kikuno Davis, Culver City High School
Maiya Kuida-Osumi, Culver City High School
Trevor Lee, South High School
Stella Mia Masuda, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Jake Matsumoto, Flintridge Preparatory School
Luke Kekoa Masaru Matsunaga, Sonora High School
Kenna Mitsuko McConnachie, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies
Peyton Motoyasu, Valencia High School
Kathryn Nakahira, Troy High School
Trent K. Nishimura, Culver City High School
Taizan Oku, Culver City High School
Makena Reiss, Palisades Charter High School
Koji Schafer, Culver City High School
Ichiro Suzuki, South High School
Arisa Tateishi, South High School
Hanna Williams, California Academy of Math and Science
Victor Satoru Yamamoto, Culver City High School
Kitty Sankey, JATCSF president, and Haru Takahana, Japanese Chamber of Commerc of Southern California president, presided over the event.
The fund was founded by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California in 1960 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese official delegation to the U.S. in 1860. To date, 1,836 scholarships have been awarded.