Concordia senior earns full scholarship from Japanese foundation to attend Columbia

Already accepted via early decision to Columbia University, Concordia senior, Karin Iwashiro, added to her accolades by receiving a full scholarship from the Yanai Tadashi Foundation.

Founded by the CEO of Uniqlo, the foundation's mission is “nurturing globally aware future leaders who can flourish in their individual fields, instigate social change and help create a better society for all.”

The Bolt spoke with Karin about her achievements:

Can you tell us about the scholarship that you've just received?

I recently received a scholarship from the Yanai Tadashi Foundation which is a foundation built by the CEO of Uniqlo. They give out full ride scholarships to 40 people a year and I was fortunate enough to be one of them. 
I decided to apply, and I made the final round, where I was interviewed by Mr. Yanai Tadashi himself and along with some professors from Harvard and UCLA. I passed the final interview and I was awarded the scholarship. 

Why do you think you were selected and what are the criteria for being selected? 

I think that my extracurricular activities were the meat in my application. My vision was to improve the economic disparity and poverty in Vietnam. Our Kim No Project was a student-led effort to raise money to support disadvantaged local communities. Through an art auction and a conference with corporations in Vietnam, we raised about 135 million VND. 

Ta Ghenh Elementary School Service Project is another student-led effort to raise funds to improve the infrastructure of Ta Ghenh Elementary School in SaPa. We hosted a Christmas fair at our school to raise 50 million VND.

I used those two examples to impress my interviewers and the people who work with the Yanai Foundation. I guess they saw some potential in me from the experiences that I shared. 

You also got early acceptance to Columbia. Why did you choose Columbia?

I wanted to go to a university in a city. I picked New York City because I visited during the summer and I loved it. Columbia is the only ivy league in the city, so it became my first choice - also because it's really strong for my major. I plan to study economics and history as a double major and they have very strong opportunities, alumni and faculty there. 

How do you think your Concordia education has helped you reach Columbia and gain this scholarship? 

I’ve been here for six years now. Because the school is so small, I’ve always had a close relationship with the faculty, especially the teachers here, they really know you and I think that really helped me grow as a person, and pursue my passion in academia, specifically history and economics. 

I think that also ties into the letter of recommendation I received, because my teachers were able to know me well, and I also got to work with them closely. 

I did a lot of service projects and I had the opportunity to lead them during my time here in high school. I think that's largely thanks to the support system that Concordia gives to students. If you want to start and really pursue a passion project, there are always resources and people that can help you, and I’m really grateful for the resources that I have had at Concordia.  

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