The 2023 Japanese American Treaty Centennial Scholarship Fund awardees are: (front row, from left) Victor Yamamoto, Trent Nishimura, Elizabeth Davis, Arisa Tateishi, Ichiro Suzuki, Maiya Kuida-Osumi, Taizan Oku, Haruna Williams and Makena Reiss; (top row, from left) Stella Masuda, Koji Schafer, Peyton Motoyasu, Kathryn Nakahira, Kenna McConnachie, Jake Matsumoto, Trevor Lee, Luke Matsunaga and Brandon Kadonaga. (Photo by Alan Miyatake/Toyo Miyatake Studio)

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.

Nikki Kodama shares her experiences as an aerospace executive and serving as Nisei Week Queen.

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.

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