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APSI Awards Funding for Duke Students

Each year, APSI coordinates several funding opportunities to support collaborative and individual research by Duke students. Two of these are merit-based awards celebrating the lives and contributions of former Duke students. One honors Sirena WuDunn, a Duke undergraduate who was aboard Korean Airlines flight 007 when it was shot down by Soviet fighters in 1983. Since then, the WuDunn family has worked with Duke students and administrators to endow a scholarship in honor of her life. Each year, the Sirena WuDunn Memorial Scholarship is given to the student(s) who best embody the ideals and interests that Sirena held. Preference for the award is given to students who: are of Asian ancestry, preferably Chinese American; have made a valuable contribution in the area of East-West culture; and have demonstrated academic excellence.

Headshot of Michael Cao
Michael Cao, Trinity '24
(photo courtesy of Michael Cao)
Eight undergraduate students will receive funding for the 2023-2024 academic year through this scholarship. In accepting the award, one of the recipients, Michael Cao (Trinity ’24), stated “I have been thinking about the scholarship and Sirena WuDunn since my first year at Duke. But thinking about carrying myself in pursuit of the ideals Ms. WuDunn once held has not only shaped my application but the entire trajectory of my time here. The Sirena WuDunn Memorial Scholarship will be invaluable to me as I continue my studies, and I look forward to enduring the legacy of Ms. WuDunn for the rest of my life.”

Janet B. Chiang grants are offered to both undergrad and graduate students at Duke. This grant opportunity supports student projects with the goal of furthering Asian-American understanding, as well as funding need-based grants for students to study in Asia. The award honors Janet B. Chiang, (Trinity '86), one of the student organizers of the Sirena WuDunn scholarship fund. Chiang was killed in a 1987 train derailment while traveling from Singapore to Malaysia during a year as a Rotary scholar at the National University of Singapore. Beginning summer 2023, six students will receive grants (up to $2,500) to support their independent research projects, typically an undergraduate or graduate thesis. Special consideration is given to projects connected with Asian-American relations, Asian American cultural or legal issues, and women's issues, but any project designed to meet a need and which encourages student leadership initiative will be considered. Special consideration is also given to Asian Americans who apply for grants to study in Asia, but all students with a demonstrated interest in the relation of Asian and American cultures are encouraged to apply for this grant.