Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship in Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies

Through the generosity of UCLA faculty, students, staff, and alumni as well as community leaders, an endowment was established that honors Professor Emeritus Don T. Nakanishi, who served on the UCLA faculty for thirty-five years and who ably directed the Asian American Studies Center (1990-2010). This award provides support for faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students for their outstanding practical research, publications, teaching, training, and/or educational service to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. To contribute to the Don T. Nakanishi Award, please click here (or contact us, 310-825-2974).


Professor Nakanishi published widely in the areas of Asian American politics and education, mentored thousands of students, and provided professional and community-based service locally, nationally, and internationally. Among his invaluable contributions to Asian American Studies, Professor Nakanishi co-founded two, national publications: Amerasia Journal (1971) and AAPI Nexus: Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy, Practice, and Community Research (2003). Professor Nakanishi is widely recognized for developing the fields of Asian American political and educational research. His groundbreaking work transformed ethnic and intellectual diversity on American campuses. A former national president of the Association of Asian American Studies, Professor Nakanishi's career also redefined the relationship between scholarship and community service at UCLA, serving as a beacon for challenging dubious academic customs.


2015-16 Award Recipient

Faculty: Renee Tajima-Pena



2014-15 Awards Recipients

Graduate Student: Brittany N. Morey
Undergraduate Student: Jessica Thach



2013-14 Awards Recipient

Faculty: Paul Ong



2012-13 Awards Recipients

Graduate Student: Sophia Cheng
Undergraduate Student: Jenny Chhea



2011-12 Award Recipient

Faculty: Keith Camacho