Scholarship Supports Cambodian Student Driven to Help Others
"These scholarships will help me reach my goal of implementing programs in developing countries that address gender equality, women's empowerment, education, and health care."
—I Younan An, recipient of the John G. and Barbara C. Peters Student Endowment for Public Service
I Younan An didn't have much when he came to NIU from Cambodia, aside from hope.
With the support of the NIU family and a generous scholarship, he graduated in December as the 2018 Student Lincoln Laureate, an honor reserved for the university's top senior. An ocean away from his family in a world very different from the one he grew up in, he's made himself known around campus as the tall, lanky, humble guy who makes the rounds every morning just to greet people.
Full of enthusiasm, he's always ready to help anyone and everyone he encounters, living by a motto he borrows from Ronald Reagan: "We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."
"Everything I do," he says, "I want to be part of that everyone."
I Younan is the recipient of the John G. and Barbara C. Peters Student Endowment for Public Service. Always thinking of the greater good, he says, "These scholarships will help me reach my goal of implementing programs in developing countries that address gender equality, women's empowerment, education, and health care."
Political Science Professor Kheang Un, who nominated I Younan for the award, wrote, "In addition to being incredibly intelligent, I Younan has an authentic enthusiasm and passion for his work, study, and community engagement. His energy for research, student, and community engagement is infectious, and is all the more rare, combined with his academic prowess."
Kheang supervised I Younan's award-winning Research Rookies project: "How Does the Khmer Rouge Regime Psychologically Affect the Khmer Rouge's Survivors' Political Participation?" Both Cambodian, Kheang and I Younan have become close, and I Younan even joined Kheang's family for Thanksgiving this year.
Along with I Younan's academic achievements—University Honors, Political Science Department Honors, Senior and Junior Leadership awards, and many more—his list of involvement in volunteer activities and organizations is endless. So, too, is his gratitude.