Jinoo Song, CSOM ’20, received the 2019 Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship on April 29. He was one of five finalists for the award, which comes with a $20,000 tuition scholarship and $1,000 gift certificate to the bookstore. The other four finalists received $3,000 scholarships and their own gift cards.
The Aquino Scholarship was created “to honor the extraordinary achievements of students who embody the pillars of Boston College and the true aspirations and spirit of the Asian American community,” according to the award banquet program.
The scholarship was created in 1995 and is awarded to a rising senior who is involved with issues that concern the Asian American community while maintaining an impressive academic record. The scholarship does not require recipients to be involved with Asian American clubs on campus.
Song is the managing editor of The Gavel and a member of the FACES Council Outreach Department. His role on The Gavel precludes him from being quoted in The Heights, but he did sit down for an interview to give his thoughts on winning the scholarship.
Song said he enjoys his position on The Gavel because it allows him to mentor younger students and to “write intersectional pieces that empower Asian Americans and other marginalized students,” according to the program that was provided at the awards banquet.
“I do research on different, typically marginalized, identities to tell their stories on their behalf with their permission,” Song said in his application essay. “I believe that as Asian Americans at BC, we should take the role of ambassadors and shapers of our beautiful cultures.”
Song strives to center his own experience, and encourages his writers at The Gavel to do the same, in order to center and not neglect the lived experience of non-white students.
“When it came to writing in a highly racialized society like America, ‘objectivity’ is simply writing from the perspective of a cishet, able-bodied, white man,” Song said in his acceptance speech.
Song said that he applied for the scholarship in the hopes of receiving some validation during a trying time when he was not sure if his efforts on campus were making a difference. He acknowledged that any one of the five finalists were qualified to win the scholarship and that he was not sure what gave him the edge.
Song is very passionate about fighting racism and prejudice, and hopes to combine this passion with his interest in writing. Song enjoys reading manga—Japanese graphic novels—but he takes issue with the way that these comics emphasize male and heteronormative behaviors and heteronormative behaviors. He says it is a dream of his to write his own manga but to include marginalized groups, such as dark-skinned Asians or the LGBTQ+ community, in hopes of telling a different story.
The scholarship is named after Filipino activists Benigno and Corazon Aquino, who “fought against dictatorship, repression, and injustice in the Philippines and became symbols of democratic struggle and change throughout Asia and the world,” according to the banquet program.
Applicants for the scholarship completed an application that asked them to discuss how they have influenced others, their greatest academic achievement, their awards, and their background. Applicants who were selected then wrote a 1,000-word essay on Asian American issues, submitted a recommendation, and sat down for an interview. This process took place throughout the majority of the second semester of their junior year.
Featured Image Courtesy of University Communications