Winners of the 1st Annual Byung Han Lee Scholarship for the Humanities
Updated: May 21, 2022
We are proud to announce the following students as the winners of this year's scholarships:
Jin (진), Truth
Awarded $1,000 to a female college student who is a role model to local and/or international communities.
Amara Jimenez - Winner
Madison Roman - Runner Up
Natalia Vargas - Honorable Mention
Sun (선), Goodness
Awarded $500 to a female high school student who is a role model to local and/or international communities
Maggie Li - Winner
Chelsea Lee - Runner Up
Marie Kim - Honorable Mention
Mi (미), Beauty
Awarded $300 to 5 thru 9th grades student who is a role model to local and/or international communities.
Fernanda Herrera Gamez - Winner
Kaylee Williams - Runner Up
Fiorella Rojas - Honorable Mention
Amara Jimenez is he Winner of the College Category. She is sophomore at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst.
She is planning on becoming a director and screenwriter.
Syosset High School, Syosset, NY [2015-2019] Diploma Received
● GPA: 3.5
● Honors: National Language Seal of Biliteracy
● Clubs: Italian Club, Dance Club (President), Mural Club (Vice President), MLK Club
● APs: (4) AP Language Exam and (4) AP Italian Exam
EdX- Online Courses [2019-2020] Certificates Received
● English Writing and Composition (ASU- Arizona State University) Final Grade: A
● Calculus (UCSC- University of California Santa Cruz) Final Grade: A
University of Massachusetts - Amherst (Bachelor's Degree) [2021-Present]
● Major: Film and Media Studies
● GPA: 3.7
Volunteer and Paid Work
● Long Island Children’s Museum [June 2018 - August 2019]: Monitor exhibits and participate
in making LICM a fun experience for all (100+ hours)
● Syosset Public Library [September 2018 - August 2019]:
○ Math Buddies- Helped children k-3 find math easy and enjoy learning it (1 hour per
● Amateur Astronomers Association of New York [ June 2020 - Present]: Learn, teach, and
become involved in the study of the universe and its development.
● DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) [May 2018 - August 2019]: Sales Associate; Organize,
provide great customer service, and work with others to help DSW succeed as well as instruct new employees the DSW “way” and the steps to providing customers with a good experience at our store (10 hr. per week).
● Old Navy [August 2020 - January 2021]: Sales Associate; Greeter, fitting room attendant,
cashier, and helped organize, stock, clean, greet customers, help with any questions, improve engagement with merchandise and provide outstanding customer service.
What is the purpose of humanity? Well, that is the question. Riddled with imperfections,
humans go about their everyday lives making mistakes, acting on impulse, and covering up their emotions. So, are we doomed to be defined by our mistakes? Are we beyond reproach? No, because human beings have this amazing ability to learn and change. We have intellect and ingenuity, focus and drive. We can be better than we were yesterday because we can grow.
There are 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, and 525,600 minutes in a year. We work,
eat, sleep, dance, and sing. We enter relationships and exit them as well. We live our lives in
millions of ways, but, after some time, I began to question whether we were all truly happy. I
pondered this idea for a long time. I saw that humanity spends so much of their time placating others, judging, and lying. I was lost, and then, suddenly, I began to understand humanity for what it was: a chance. Humans have a chance to learn and grow. They have a chance to change their minds, and help others, even if the ones they help are those who seem selfish or rude. We live our own lives to the best of our ability. While we’re living this life, we may as well make the most of any opportunity we are given.
I am a work in progress. I try my best to learn and grow with every complicated situation
I find myself in. I look on my past days with fresh eyes every morning, and I think about how I
could have made a difference in someone else’s life. I question how I could have handled certain conversations, or how I could have chosen a different approach to the circumstances I find myself in. For so long I would constantly judge myself for any and all of my faults, but I came to realize that these faults help me become a better individual. They help me learn and grow. The past 21 years have helped me become the person I am today. My weaknesses are not a burden, but rather an opportunity. My imperfections are not an encumbrance, but rather a reflection of who I am as a person.
For a long time, I wondered how I could help others. I started researching different
opportunities and causes that I could participate in. I would partake in walk-a-thons and offer to help raise money. I began volunteering at my local children’s museum and helping my
community as much as I could, but I soon found out that the best way to show kindness or show that you care is to do as much as you can for others with the life that you were given. You don’t necessarily have to give hundreds of dollars to charity, or run a 10K, but helping someone with their groceries or offering to shovel snow, even holding a door open is a kindness that shows you care. I try and follow these acts of kindness every day. I do my chores, help my mother with anything I can, while she works hard, and I work to be the best version of myself. Humans are imperfect. We make mistakes. We take advantage of others, and we seem superficial most of the time. Nonetheless, with all our faults, we have the ability to learn, grown, and change. I have learned I am not perfect. I am flawed but being flawed allows me to be better. It allows me to be me.
Maggie Li is the Winner of the High School Category. She is an 10th grader at the East Meadow High School. Here is her bio and essay:
● Math Honor Society / Math Team
● Perspective Literary Magazine (Editor)
● French Club
● Jet Gazette (News Editor)
● Book Club (Secretary)
● Wind Ensemble
● Pit Orchestra (Cinderella Musical)
● Flute Choir
● Tri-M Honor Society
● Academy of Finance
● Winter Track and Field
● Spring Track and Field
● Leader of NYC branch of Pens to Friends
○ Student-directed organization that sends letters to children living in unfortunate
● Editor for the Disaster Awareness Group
○ Non-profit news platform that shares disaster stories from disregarded countries to
advocate for disaster relief
● English tutor for ENGin
○ Non-profit English virtual tutoring for children in Ukraine
● Math Tutor for Schoolhouse.World
○ Non-profit virtual tutoring platform for children around the world
● Fluency in Mandarin, Fuzhounese, and English
● Proficiency in French
● Microsoft Office Suite certified in Word and Excel
● Baking, Sewing, Cooking
● Computer Programming (QBasic, C++, Java)
● Computer Science
● Writing / Journalism
● World Culture
You are walking, then striding, then sprinting through a never-ending tunnel of darkness
— toward a radiant ball of light that grows dimmer with every step. Along the way, you collect pebbles and rocks in every shape and size, golden like drops of honey. They accumulate in your pockets, and the faraway light shines a bit brighter. Sometimes you trip, scrape your knee on the rough terrain — sometimes you don’t get up. Other times, someone lends you a hand, and you crawl back up, shoving past your benefactor to continue toward the light that glimmers so invitingly. At some point, you feel as if you are near — a few more more steps until your fingers could graze the warmth of your sun. But your feet begin to grow heavy with the weight of the stones. You are so, so tired. Your sprint shifts into a stride, your stride into a walk. Others pass, and you cry out — but they cannot hear. You fall, and your little rocks fall with you. Only when they shatter against the cold ground do you realize that they are hollow. That is humanity. To be human is to reach for the unattainable at the cost of others and oneself. To be human is to regret mistakes that cannot be changed. To be human is to realize that the worth of the people who stand at your side far exceeds the “light” that you seek.
I am human. I strive for a “perfection” that does not exist and I make mistakes each and
every day. However, one’s mindset is critical to the growth of one’s character and soul. I may
always be human in such a way, but by taking each “mistake” as a learning experience and a
silver lining, I grow. By realizing my own worth and presence in an existence I call home, I live. By appreciating the world around me and the people in it, I become a better person.
As a child, my parents were rarely the type of people who expressed their emotions
openly. Any praise was given sparingly — an “I’m proud of you” was unfamiliar, an “I love
you” was unheard of. They showed their love in ways that my peers found unusual: a plate of
fruit sliced beautifully at my desk, a meal cooked with all of my favorite dishes, or my clothes
ironed and hung up neatly in my closet. I cherish each interaction within my heart, but I never
want anyone to be insecure in my love like I was. I shower my friends with affection and my
heart on my sleeve, I compliment my peers with enthusiasm and watch their eyes light up, and I go through each day with a smile on my face because I hope that it can be a comfort to someone. In the wide scope of the world, small acts of care like mine may be insignificant, but I do them in hopes of healing something in this world.
Chelsea Lee is the Runner Up in the High School Category. She is an 11th grader at the East Meadow High School. Here is her bio and essay:
National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society, English Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, & Business and
Technology Honor Society
Treasurer of the Environmental Club; active member of the Academy of Finance, Key Club, Math Team, and the World Hunger Action Club
Talents: The flute, bilingual (English and Korean), mathematics
Passions: Community service, mathematics
President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold, Silver, & Bronze)
Missions for the less fortunate population of Pakistan
A staff member of KAPCQ summer camp
Packed food baskets for those in need
Helped organize a Thanksgiving dinner for veterans
Humanity is the ability to be righteous to others, despite challenging circumstances. Having
compassion, sympathy, mercy; helping others when they are in distress, even if one must be
selfless to do so. It is a concept that is easily grasped in the mind, but not as easy to carry out.
Although showing humanity seems like a simple notion, it often comes with the sacrifice of
one’s own time and desires. However, that is a part of its significance, as it shows the willingness of humans to put others first. It is a beautiful thought that can be illustrated by anyone. Whether it is demonstrated through big or small actions, humanity shows mankind’s ability to be good to others.
When it comes to becoming a better human being, being open to change has a great influence. I always reflect on my actions, analyze my mindset, and think about what I can do differently in order to improve as a person. These thoughts often revolve around ways I can be more helpful, show compassion to those around me, and enforce kindness in my community. Acts as simple as helping a classmate with their homework, consoling someone who is feeling down, and complimenting a stranger have helped me learn that even the smallest deeds can have an impact on others and that there are various ways to be good. Optimism has also remained a significant factor of my growth as a person, as it allows me to see the best in not only every situation but in people as well. Being optimistic allows me to live a happier life, which gives me the motivation to pass on virtue to those around me. I am still learning as a human being, and I truly believe that these characteristics have allowed me to grow every day.
There are so many different ways to show caring and kindness. Throughout my life, I have
strived to explore them. I enjoy taking big roles through volunteering and participating in
reforming the community. Particularly, the mission in Pakistan was an amazing experience
because I was able to delight children as I introduced them to activities that they are not able to do on a regular basis. Furthermore, performing small acts of kindness has proven that actions do not have to be big in order to be impactful. I have found that greeting individuals as they walk by or merely holding the door open for someone can have a positive affect on one’s day. Moreover, being more broad-minded about mercy and compassion opens the door to humanity and has permitted me to exemplify the integrity of humankind. I aspire to be a genuine human being that can take part in the goodness of humanity.