APSA Opens Top 30 Nominations

Students are now able to nominate inspirational fellow Asian Pacific Islander American peers.


The Asian Pacific Student Assocation has opened nominations for the Top 30 Most Influential Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Students at UC Irvine project.

Students are able to nominate individuals until the midnight deadline on Feb. 16, and those who have been selected will be notified March 2. The official APSA Top 30 list will be revealed throughout May, one individual each day, to commemorate Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

30 students from among the nominees will be chosen based on their “standards of excellence as well as their passion for change.” Individuals who were on any previous Top 30 lists, along with APSA executive board members, are not eligible.

The APSA Top 30 project is inspired by the Top 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 project, or “The 30 Under 30,” from the blog “angryasianman.” Phil Yu, the editor, began the project in 2009 and it has been one of the blog’s most popular features over the years.

APSA ran its own Top 30 list in 2010, with then co-chair Edi Dai and Melly Lee spearheading the project. They combined their respective skills in graphic design and photography in launching the list for the first time.

The project was not continued the next year, but the 2011-2012 APSA board decided to bring back the project and continue it into 2012-2013 and on.

“The idea was to have UC Irvine students nominate their fellow Asian Pacific Islander American peers so they could be recognized for their work on and off campus,” said Elaine Won, a fourth-year English and political science double major. “They ultimately chose students who truly played a part in shaping the community at UCI.”

Won is serving this year as the External Chair on the current APSA board, and she was involved in bringing back the project last year as the Programming Coordinator.

“When the APSA Top 30 was released in 2010, I was a first year,” Won said. “I remember being awed by the creative designs, beautiful photography and inspiring stories from these students on campus.

“I appreciated how this project diversified the image of individuals that comprise the APIA community and also took the time to celebrate the various individuals on our campus.”

Preparations for the current Top 30 project began earlier this year, and Won said APSA hopes to raise awareness about the project with the extra time to have a wider range of nominees.

“There is so much great work being done by APIA students on campus and there isn’t much space for grassroots organizers, dancers and other inspiring leaders to be noted for their work, and I felt Top 30 was the fill in for that gap,” Won said. “I wanted to keep this project alive for this reason.”

Alison Tominaga will be leading the project for the 2012-13 year as this year’s APSA Programming Coordinator. Questions about the Top 30 can be directed to Tominaga at apsa.programming@gmail.com.