Day 2: Overcoming Challenges Together

Session Overview

Listen to the experiences of four APIA Scholar panelists as they discuss the challenges they encountered during their college career and how they overcame these challenges. Q & A will be available at the end of the panel.


Elizabeth Basa

University of Oregon

Elizabeth Basa is a proud Chamorro from the island of Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands. She is currently 22 years old. She graduated last month with her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Multidisciplinary Studies from Eastern Oregon University and will be attending the University of Oregon in the fall for graduate school.

Mikko Biana

Emory University

My name is Mikko Biana and I am originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but my parents are immigrants from the Philippines. I am a rising senior at Emory University studying International Studies. On campus, I work in Residence Life, the Office of Undergraduate Admission, and serve as the vice president of the undergraduate student body. This summer, I am interning with APIA Scholars in the Programs department!

Ellie Bui

University of California, Irvine

Xin chào, my name is Ellie Buiand I am entering my senior year of undergrad at UC Irvine as a Biological Sciences major. I actually just finished my first year at UCI since I am a transfer student from Irvine Valley College. I was born and raised in Vietnam up until 6 years ago when my family and I decided to move here for me to pursue a better education and opportunities. I have been serving as one of the members of the APIA Scholars' Scholar Advisory Committee so feel free to ask me about my experience!! I am currently studying for the MCAT to apply to medical schools but when I'm not drowning in studying I like going to the beach, hiking, biking, travelling and eating.

Melissa May

Director, Programs, APIA Scholars

Melissa May is the Director of Programs at APIA Scholars where she actively works to support the holistic development of students from the time they access college to their entrance into their chosen career field. On the Programs Team, Melissa works to implement Scholar programming and curriculum that utilizes an equity lens and empowers students to develop leadership and professional skills that will enable them to uplift communities for generations to come. Melissa came to APIA Scholars in 2015 after serving as a high school English and World History teacher as well as College Counselor at Xavier High School in the Federated States of Micronesia. While in Micronesia, Melissa also worked with the Chuuk Women’s Council to bring gender based violence prevention programming and training to women in villages across the island and continues to volunteer for organizations that support the educational needs of female-identifying people around the world.

Melissa holds a M.A. in International Education from American University and a B.A. in Social Work and Political Science from Marquette University.

Wesley Sosa

University of California, Davis

Wesley Sosa is an upcoming 5th year at the University of California Davis, pursuing a double major in Design and Psychology. He is passionate about ethnic studies, social justice, and educational equity. In his undergrad career, he has been involved with Filipino American organizations and clubs. He currently works as the graphic designer and web developer for the Asian Pacific Islander Retention Initiative, and the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. In the future, he aspires to pursue a career in the field of User Experience (UX) Research.