The Japanese American Citizens League announced today that it awarded 22-year-old Leslie Tamura of Fresno, Calif., with the Mike M. Masaoka Congressional Fellowship. Leslie is currently a graduate student reporter covering health and science news at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago.
She will work in the D.C. office of Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) this fall, learning about the importance of public service on a national level.
“The Japanese American story is a chronicle of immense sacrifice and success,” Tamura wrote in her application. “I am honored to play my part in the Japanese American narrative.”
“This fellowship is an opportunity to learn how I can better serve my community and country,” she added in a recent interview.
Leslie’s activities include various service and recreational clubs, volunteer work, research positions and writing projects. A member of the Fresno JACL chapter, she’s been active in APA student groups and has contributed to Asian American publications as a writer and editor.
The daughter of Frank and Janet Tamura of Fresno, Leslie received her bachelor’s degree at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass.
The Mike M. Masaoka Fellowship Fund was established in 1988 to honor Mike M. Masaoka for a lifetime of public service to the nation and the JACL. Masaoka was the JACL’s national secretary, field executive, national legislative director of the JACL’s Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the JACL Washington, D.C. representative.
“We are pleased to have Leslie Tamura selected to carry on the fine legacy of outstanding JACL Masaoka Fellows,” said Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the JACL. “We feel this is a wonderful opportunity for young people and anticipate great achievements for Leslie in the future. It is expected that our Masaoka Fellows will be future leaders within the JACL and throughout the country.”
Last year’s Masaoka Fellow was Nina Fallenbaum.
Dr. H. Tom Tamaki of Philadelphia administered the program for the JACL for twenty years since its inception. Dr. Tamaki was awarded with the Ruby Pin at the recent National JACL Convention held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Ruby Pin is given for long and outstanding service to the JACL. The Masaoka Fellowship is now administered by the Washington, D.C. office of the JACL.