Honors student Jennifer Mak (above, third from left) was awarded a scholarship at the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce & Virginia Asian Foundation 2017 Gala in December. Jennifer is a first-generation college student whose Chinese immigrant parents came to America to open a restaurant.
The Virginia Asian Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded to give educational activities such as internship opportunities with the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce to students interested in a multicultural business experience. Its projects involve Asian community outreach, events management, journalism, public relations, entrepreneurship, international business, graphic design and marketing. The $1,000 scholarship recognizes students who exemplify the Asian American entrepreneurial spirit.
This annual Asian Chamber’s Community and Business Service Leadership Award ceremony program is also a global business diversity event where the business community connects with international governmental and business leaders from all over Asia to help promote the solid cultural and economic relationships among Asian nations and the United States. Each year the Chamber highlights one Asian nation with focus on economic development; this year’s event welcomed a diplomatic delegation from the Royal Kingdom of Thailand.
Scholarship recipients are selected for their "academic performance, extracurricular activities, leadership character, and records of giving back to the community." Jennifer meets the criteria in numerous ways. She works on a School of Engineering Critical Patient Care team with Dr. Bennett Ward in collaboration with the Department of Anesthesiology at MCV and the School of Business. Their main project is the pressure-sensing epidural needle. “The device my team has designed has a pressure sensor that will detect a pressure drop within a suitable range and alert the anesthesiologist and ensure entry into the epidural space every time,” she explained. The team has several working prototypes and has filed a provisional patent with VCU Innovation Gateway.
Jennifer also serves as TA in Honors Rhetoric, has presented her own research at UROP (2016) and NCUR (2017), serves as vice president of standards for Phi Sigma Rho Engineering Sorority and secretary of the Engineering Student Council, and mentors the FIRST Robotics team at her alma mater, Richmond's Godwin High School.