Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pierce Brosnan

Country of origin: Ireland

Pierce Brendan Brosnan, OBE (born 16 May 1953) is an Irish actor, film producer and environmentalist. After leaving school at 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, but trained at the Drama Centre in London for three years. Following a stage acting career he rose to popularity in the television series Remington Steele (1982–87).

To read more about Pierce Brosnan and the many charities and causes he supports, visit his page on Wikipedia or his official website here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gary Shteyngart

Country of origin: Russia

Gary Shteyngart (born Igor Shteyngart in 1972) is an American writer born in Leningrad, USSR. Much of his work is satirical and relies on the invention of elaborately fictitious yet somehow familiar places and times.


Shteyngart's work has received numerous awards. Absurdistan was chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review and Time magazine, as well as a book of the year by the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and many other publications. The Russian Debutante's Handbook won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction, the Book-of-the-Month Club First Fiction Award and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. It was named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the best debuts of the year by The Guardian. In 2002, he was named one of the five best new writers by Shout NY Magazine. In June 2010, Shteyngart was named as one of The New Yorker magazine's "20 under 40" luminary fiction writers.

To read more about Gary Shteyngart, visit his page on Wikipedia, or see this interview on Youtube.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Katherine Esau

Country of origin: Ukraine (of German decent)

Katherine Esau (3 April 1898 – 4 June 1997) was a German-American botanist.

She was born in Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire (now Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) to a family of Mennonites of German descent. After the Revolution her family moved to Germany, and then to California, where she achieved her doctorate in 1931. She moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1963, and worked there until 1992. She was the sixth woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1957, and in 1989, President George Bush awarded Dr. Esau the National Medal of Science.

Esau was a pioneering plant anatomist--perhaps the greatest plant anatomist of the 20th century. Her books Plant Anatomy and Anatomy of Seed Plants have been key plant structural biology texts for the last four decades.

To read more about Katherine Esau, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Orlando Patterson

Country of origin: Jamaica

Orlando Patterson (born 1940) is a Jamaica-born American historical and cultural sociologist known for his work regarding issues of race in the America, as well as the sociology of development, currently holding the John Cowles chair in Sociology at Harvard University. Patterson took his B.Sc in Economics from the University of London and his Ph.D. in Sociology at the London School of Economics in 1965.

Earlier in his career, Patterson was concerned with the economic and political development of his home country, Jamaica. He served as Special advisor to Michael Manley, the then Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1972 to 1979.

Patterson has appeared on PBS and has been a guest columnist in The New York Times.

To read more about Orlando Patterson, see his biograph at, or visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Harry Houdini

Country of origin: Hungary

Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-born American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer noted for his sensational escape acts. He was also a skeptic who set out to expose frauds purporting to be supernatural phenomena.

To read more about Harry Houdini, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ricardo Romero

Country of origin: Mexico

Father of Ricky Romero (who pitches for the Blue Jays) tells his story in this article.

At 17, Ricardo Sr. paid a smuggler to drive him and a few friends into El Paso before catching a bus to California.

“It was crazy, with my dad crossing illegally,’’ Romero says. “My dad’s goal was to come to the United States for a better life. So when he got that chance, he wasn’t going to let go of it.”


Reformed federal immigration laws under the Reagan administration would eventually allow “undocumented” people in the U.S. to become legal residents, with a path to citizenship — and the right to vote — if they choose. The senior Romero is now a legal resident.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Robert Cardenas

Country of origin: Mexico

Robert L. "Bob" Cardenas (born March 10, 1920) is a retired Brigadier General of the United States Air Force.

He was born in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. When he was five, his family moved to San Diego, California. He excelled in Mathematics and Physics in high school. When General Cardenas was a teenager, building models and learning about gliders first sparked his interest in airplanes.

Due to his excellent grades, San Diego State University invited him to study there.

In 1939, while attending San Diego State, he decided to enlist as a private in the California National Guard, thus began his distinguished military career. In 1940, Cardenas became an aviation cadet. He graduated, received his pilot wings and was commission a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps in July 1941.

To read more about Robert Cardenas, visit his page on Wikipedia

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sona Babai

Country of origin: Iran

105-year-old realizes dream of citizenship

Iranian-born Sona Babai was among 7,000 others who became U.S. citizens at ceremonies in Pomona. She joined family here six years ago.


Her link to America began as it has for so many immigrants: through a desire to give her children a first-class education and unlimited opportunities.

Neither Babai nor her husband Mokhtar, who died in 1991 at age 103, ever learned to read or write. But they knew the value of an American education, so Antoine and another son came to the U.S. to study advertising design and engineering, respectively, at Louisiana State University.

To read the rest of the article about Sona Babai, visit the LA Times website.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Joe Cook

Country of origin: Cambodia

Cook, a Cambodian refugee who survived the Khmer Rouge genocide to escape to the United States, has spent the last five years trying to turn the former killing fields of his homeland into fields of dreams for a generation that has known little more than war, poverty and despair.

Along the way he's lost his life savings, his car and nearly his marriage. And, Cook insists, some people in Cambodia would like to see him dead.

To read more about Joe Cook, read the rest of his story at the LA Times, or see an interview with him on youtube.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maria Hinojosa

Country of origin: Mexico

Maria Hinojosa (b. 1961, Mexico City) is a Mexican American broadcast journalist. She was (2005–2010) Senior Correspondent for the PBS news magazine, NOW on PBS.

She is currently also the host of her own show on PBS, Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One, an interview talk show that features one-on-one interviews with a diverse group of guests, including actors, writers, activists, and politicians.

Hinojosa's first journalism experience was as host of a Latino radio show while she was a student at Barnard College, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Latin American studies.

In 1995, Hinojosa began hosting the National Public Radio show Latino USA; she also hosted the WNBC-TV public affairs show, Visiones. From 1997 to 2005, she worked for CNN's New York City bureau, where she gained recognition for her reporting on urban issues.

She can currently be seen on PBS, where she hosts Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One, and on V-me, the Spanish-language TV network, where she hosts La Plaza: Conversaciones con María Hinojosa.

To read more about Maria Hinojosa, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Sukhee Kang

Country of origin: South Korea

Sukhee Kang (Korean: 강석희; born September 15, 1952) is the current mayor of Irvine, California. Kang is a Korean American Democrat. On July 6, 2011, he announced his candidacy for the United States Congress. If elected, he will be the only Korean-American in Congress.

Mayor Sukhee Kang was first elected to the Irvine City Council in 2004 and was successfully re-elected in 2006. With his 2008 election, he became the first Korean-American to serve as Mayor of a major U.S. city. He was re-elected as Mayor with more than 64% of the vote in November 2010. Born and raised in South Korea, Mayor Kang and his wife Joanne immigrated to the United States in 1977 after his graduation from Korea University in Seoul.

To read more about Sukhee Kang, visit his wikipedia page, or see his bio here.

p.s. This should have been posted yesterday; I blame lack of sleep dealing with a failed AC unit in the machine room for the mixup! :-P

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jin Kyu Robertson

Country of origin: South Korea

Jin Kyu Robertson has come a long way since she immigrated to the United States as a housemaid when she was 22. Since then, she rose to the rank of major in the U.S. Army and completed a doctorate at Harvard University.

Jin Robertson says she had inauspicious beginnings, but her story shows the power of perseverance. She was the child of tavern owner, and neither of her parents ever attended school. By the time Jin was in sixth grade, she excelled at her studies, and her parents agreed to let her complete middle and high school.

There was no money for college, so she worked in a factory, as a waitress and housemaid. One day, she saw a newspaper ad for a housemaid in America. She applied for the job, over her family's objections.

"I was 22 years old, and I didn't speak much English at all," she said. "And I had only $100 to my name, so that was my beginning, and a one-way ticket. So it was quite a challenge, I suppose."

To read the rest of Jin Kyu Robertson's amazing story, read the rest of the article here, or read her autobiography: Major Dream: From Immigrant Housemaid to Harvard Ph.D.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Michele Bohbot

Country of origin: Morocco

Michele Bohbot was born in Fez, Morocco. At the age of nineteen, she moved to Paris where she studied philosophy and law at Sorbonne University. When she was 19, she married her husband, Marc, who proposed to her four days after they met.

Michele has been the recipient of multiple awards. In October 2001, she was recognized as the "Best Contemporary Designer" at the Dallas Fashion Awards. In April 2002, she was honored as one of "The Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World." In February 2008, she was named as Esteemed Entrepreneur of the Year at The RAW SPIRIT AWARDS in Los Angeles.

To read more about Michele Bohbot, visit her page at Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ming Hsieh

Country of origin: China

Ming Hsieh (simplified Chinese: 谢明; traditional Chinese: 謝明; born 1955) is a billionaire Chinese American entrepreneur and philanthropist and the founder of AMAX technology in 1987 and Cogent Systems in 1990. According to Forbes magazine, his estimated net worth exceeds $1.6 billion, ranking him the 198th richest person in America and 562nd among The World's Richest People In 2006.

Born to Baoyan and Sun Hsieh, Ming Hsieh's family originated in Guangzhou (Canton), he was raised in Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning province in Northeast China. His family was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution as a part of China's upper middle class having ties with the old national government moved to Taiwan (Yingzhou, Ming's grandfather, was famous high-ranking official of Republic of China); as a result, his family was forced to move in 1966 to a small village near Panjin. At age 10, Hsieh's formal education stopped for the next ten years. During that period, Hsieh learned the trade of electrical engineering from his formally trained father as they built a crude power system for the village they were assigned to and did odd repair work.

Hsieh's uncle, P.Y. Hsieh, had left China and earned a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California in 1952 before working for TRW. Knowing of this, Hsieh decided to follow his uncle and, after two years at the South China Institute of Technology in Guangzhou and with an inheritance from his grandparents in Taiwan, he transferred to USC's engineering program at age 24. Hsieh earned his Bachelor's of Science in Electrical Engineering from USC in 1983 and MSEE in 1984. His parents wanted him to continue and earn a Ph.D., but Hsieh decided to first work a few years.

Hsieh began work as a circuit designer for International Rectifier. After two and a half years, he decided to start his own business. In 1987 he founded AMAX Information Technologies with former USC classmates and engineers from his uncle's work, TRW. Serving as its vice president, AMAX created servers, storage systems and related hardware, but Hsieh realized there was a need for software to go with his hardware. As a result, with another fellow USC classmate, he founded Cogent Systems Inc. which offered fully automated, high-speed biometric fingerprint system. The company began receiving numerous government contracts and now includes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Prisons, FBI and Royal Canadian Mounted Police amongst its customers.

In October 2006, Hsieh donated $35 million to USC's Viterbi School of Engineering's Department of Electrical Engineering, 100 years after the department and school's founding. In honor of his donation, the department was renamed the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering. In October 2010, Hsieh donated $50 million to USC for cancer research. He is on the USC Board of Trustees.

A naturalized U.S. citizen, Hsieh is married with two children. He lives in Los Angeles and has a house in San Francisco.

The above is the entire article about Ming Hsieh from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Andrew Carnegie

Country of origin: Scotland

Andrew Carnegie (play /kɑrˈneɪɡi/ kar-nay-gee, but commonly /ˈkɑrnɨɡi/ kar-nə-gee or /kɑrˈnɛɡi/ kar-neg-ee) (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the most important philanthropists of his era.

Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and migrated to the United States as a child with his parents. His first job in the United States was as a factory worker in a bobbin factory. Later on he became a bill logger for the owner of the company. Soon after he became a messenger boy. Eventually he progressed up the ranks of a telegraph company. He built Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company, which was later merged with Elbert H. Gary's Federal Steel Company and several smaller companies to create U.S. Steel. With the fortune he made from business among others he built Carnegie Hall, later he turned to philanthropy and interests in education, founding the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie donated most of his money to establish many libraries, schools, and universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries, as well as a pension fund for former employees. He is often regarded as the second-richest man in history after John D. Rockefeller. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. He built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe.

He earned most of his fortune in the steel industry. In the 1870s, he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, a step which cemented his name as one of the "Captains of Industry". By the 1890s, the company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. Carnegie sold it in 1901 for $480 million to J.P. Morgan, who created U.S. Steel. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. His life has often been referred to as a true "rags to riches" story.

To read more about Andrew Carnegie, visit his page on Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eddie Van Halen

Country of origin: Netherlands

Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen (born January 26, 1955) is a Dutch-born Dutch/American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer, best known as the lead guitarist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Eddie Van Halen is commonly known for his innovative performing and recording styles in blues-based rock, tapping, intense solos and high frequency feedback; he is also known for energetic and acrobatic stage performances. The All Music Guide has described him as "Second to only Jimi Hendrix...undoubtedly one of the most influential, original, and talented rock guitarists of the 20th century.". He is ranked 70th on the Rolling Stone list of Top 100 guitarists.

Born in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Edward Lodewijk van Halen is a son of clarinetist, saxophonist and pianist father Jan van Halen and mother Eugenia. Eugenia van Halen was originally from Indonesia which was a former Dutch colony. Eugenia was half Dutch and half Indonesian. Edward's middle name was derived from composer Ludwig van Beethoven. (Lodewijk is the Dutch version of Ludwig.) Edward continued this naming tradition by naming his son Wolfgang Van Halen after composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In February 1962, at the age of seven, Edward moved with his family to the United States, settling in Pasadena, California.

To read more about Eddie Van Halen, visit his Wikipedia page.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Victor H. Toledo-Pulido

Country of origin: Mexico

Growing up in the Central Valley, he was keenly aware that he was not an American citizen, but "he loved this country," his mother said. "He said, 'This is my country.' "

Toledo-Pulido was about 7 years old when a smuggler helped him and his older brother and mother cross over the mountains along the California border into the United States. He became a legal resident in 1999. Like many undocumented immigrants, he worked hard jobs at a young age. He toiled in the fields of the Central Valley with an uncle, picking grapes and other crops. Later, he took jobs as a restaurant cook.


In the early morning hours of May 23, Toledo-Pulido and others in his platoon were awakened and given a mission to retrieve a military vehicle that had just been hit by an explosive. After concluding the mission, the team started driving back to their base. Minutes into the trip, their vehicle was hit by a tremendous explosion.

Army Capt. Troy Thomas, who was in the vehicle, was sent flying through the air. Miraculously, he was unscathed. But when he looked back to check on the others in the vehicle, he saw Toledo-Pulido's lifeless body slumped over the steering wheel. Another soldier was also mortally wounded in the blast.


Thomas said he would never forget him or the American values he stood for. He said Toledo-Pulido was a "Mexican citizen voluntarily serving in our armed forces at a time when you hear more about illegal immigration on TV than the war itself."

"What does it take to prove your worth as an American?" Thomas asked. "Well, if you ask me ... Victor Toledo-Pulido showed his worth by serving his nation and his family."

Toledo-Pulido's brother Yosio Toledo, 29, said he gets angry when people portray immigrants as people who just take and give nothing back. He said his brother had friends who were also immigrants going through basic training and serving in Iraq. "They judge us and say we just come to take their jobs and positions, but we also make sacrifices," he said. "Victor worked since he was little, in the fields and in restaurants. He was a Mexican, but he thought like an American. And he gave his life for this country."

Read the entire article here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Columba Bush

Country of origin: Mexico

Columba Bush (born August 17, 1953) is a Mexican-born American philanthropist. She is the wife of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.


Bush has been active in promoting the arts. In 1999 she worked with Arts for a Complete Education/Florida Alliance for Arts Education (ACE/FAAE) to develop Arts for Life!, a program devoted to increasing the importance of art in the education system. She has also used her experience with her family's substance abuse issues to aid treatment and prevention programs such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She has served as co-chair of the NIAAA initiative, Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, and has served on the board of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Source: Wikipedia.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Juju Chang

Country of origin: South Korea

Hyunju "Juju" Chang (born September 17, 1965) is a Korean-American Emmy Award-winning television journalist for ABC News, and currently serves as a special correspondent and fill-in anchor for Nightline. Previously she was the news anchor for ABC News' morning news program Good Morning America from 2009–2011.

Juju Chang was born in Seoul, South Korea, to Okyong and Palki Chang and was raised in Sunnyvale, California following her family’s emigration to the U.S. in 1969. At a young age, Chang was a nationally ranked swimmer.

She graduated with honors from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and communications. At Stanford she was awarded the Edwin Cotrell Political Science Prize.

To read more about Juju Chang, see her Wikipedia page.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rosika Schwimmer

Country of origin: Hungary

Rosika Schwimmer or Bédy-Schwimmer "Rózsa" Rózsika (1877–1948) was a Hungarian-born pacifist, feminist and female suffragist.

Rosika Schwimmer was born on September 11, 1877 to a Jewish family in Budapest in Austria-Hungary. She studied music and languages but when family finances deteriorated 1896, she began to work as a bookkeeper.

In 1897 Schwimmer founded the Hungarian Feminist Association, helped to found Hungarian National Council of Women, later organized the first Women's Trade Union in Hungary and was a board member in the Hungarian Peace Society. In 1913 she became a corresponding secretary of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA). Schwimmer toured Europe with Carrie Chapman Catt to lecture on female suffrage. She also edited magazine A No (The Woman). In 1909, the Minister of the Interior appointed her to the governing board of child welfare.

To read more about Rosika Schwimmer, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Frank Stallone

Country of origin: Italy

Frank Stallone Sr is the father of well known actor Sylvester Stallone. Frank Stallone emigrated from Italy to America in 1932 and served in the US Army during World War II. He owned a chain of beauty schools and hair salons in the Maryland area. He passed away on July 14, 2011 at the age of 91.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Midori Gotō

Country of origin: Japan

Midori Gotō (五嶋 みどり, Gotō Midori?) (born October 25, 1971) is a Japanese American violinist. She made her debut at the age of 11 in a last minute change of programming during a concert by the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta highlighting young performers. When she was 21, she formed the philanthropic group Midori and Friends to help bring music to children in New York City. She is internationally renowned as a performer. In 2007, she was selected as a UN Messenger of Peace.

To find out more about Midori Gotō, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bill Graham

Country of origin: Germany

Bill Graham (January 8, 1931 – October 25, 1991) was an American impresario and rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death.

Graham was born Wolodia Grajonca in Berlin and given the nickname Wolfgang by his family early in his life. Graham was the youngest son of a lower-middle-class Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia prior to the rise of Nazism. Graham's father died two days after his son's birth. Graham's mother placed her son and his younger sister in an orphanage in Berlin due to the increasing peril to Jews in Germany. The orphanage sent them to France in a pre–Holocaust exchange of Jewish children for Christian orphans. Graham's older sisters stayed behind with his mother. After the fall of France, Graham was among a group of Jewish orphans spirited out of France. A majority of the children—including Graham's older sister Tolla—did not survive the journey. Graham's mother was killed in Auschwitz. Graham had five sisters, Rita, Evelyn, Sonja, Ester and Tolla (Tanya). His sister Ester survived Auschwitz. She later moved to the United States and was very close to Graham in his later life. His sister Rita escaped, first to Shanghai and then (after the war) to the United States.


Graham was drafted into the United States Army in 1951, and served in the Korean War, where he was awarded both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

To read more about Bill Graham, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Neil Young

Country of origin: Canada

Neil Percival Young,(born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation. Young began performing as a solo artist in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield along with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash as a fourth member in 1969. He then forged a successful and acclaimed solo career, releasing his first album in 1968; his career has since spanned over 40 years and 34 studio albums, with a continual and uncompromising exploration of musical styles. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website describes Young as "one of rock and roll’s greatest songwriters and performers". He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice: first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.

To read more about Neil Young, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Alfred Peet

Country of origin: Netherlands

Alfred H. Peet (March 10, 1920 – August 29, 2007) was a Dutch-American entrepreneur and the founder of Peet's Coffee & Tea in Berkeley, California, in 1966. He is most famous for introducing custom coffee roasting to the United States.

To read more about Alfred Peet, visit his page on Wikipedia.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert (play /koʊlˈbɛər/; September 13, 1903 – July 30, 1996) was a French-born American stage and film actress.

Born in Saint-Mandé, France and raised in New York City, Colbert began her career in Broadway productions during the 1920s, progressing to film with the advent of talking pictures. She established a successful film career with Paramount Pictures and later, as a freelance performer, became one of the highest paid entertainers in American cinema. Colbert was recognized as one of the leading female exponents of screwball comedy; she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her comedic performance in It Happened One Night (1934), and also received Academy Award nominations for her dramatic roles in Private Worlds (1935) and Since You Went Away (1944).

Her film career began to decline in the 1950s, and she made her last film in 1961. Colbert continued to act in theater and, briefly, in television during her later years. After a career of more than 60 years' duration, Colbert retired to her home in Barbados, where she died at the age of 92, following a series of strokes.

Colbert received theatre awards from the Sarah Siddons Society, a lifetime-achievement award at the Kennedy Center Honors, and, in 1999, the American Film Institute placed her at number twelve on their "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars" list of the "50 Greatest American Screen Legends".

To find out more about Claudette Colbert, visit her Wikipedia page.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Juan Hernandez-Campos

Country of origin: Mexico

Los Angeles—Juan Hernandez-Campos, an undocumented engineering student, who completed his first semester at Harvard University, has been awarded a $50,000 per year scholarship to complete his studies at the ivy league school, reports Hernandez-Campos, who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, crossed the border nine years ago to be with his father, who works as a bricklayer in Los Angeles. Hernandez-Campos said that he wanted to be just like his father, who wanted him to be something greater.

Last year, while applying to universities, Hernandez- Campos learned that there are universities and private foundations that award scholarships to distinguished students, regardless of their immigration status. He was accepted at 15 universities, seven 7 of which offered him full scholarships. While in Los Angeles, Hernandez- Campos was in “After School All Stars,” a national after school educational and recreational program designed to keep youth out of trouble. He is the first from the program to go on to Harvard.

To read the rest of the article about Juan Hernandez-Campos, go here, or visit this link to read more about him.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bette Bao Lord

Country of origin: China

Bette Bao Lord (November 3, 1938) is a Chinese American writer and civic activist for human rights and democracy.

She was born in Shanghai, China. With her mother and father, Dora and Sandys Bao, she came to the United States at the age of eight when her father, a British-trained engineer, was sent there in 1946 by the Chinese government to purchase equipment. In 1949 Bette Bao Lord and her family were stranded in the United States when Mao Zedong and his communist rebels won the civil war in China. Bette Bao Lord has written eloquently about her childhood experiences as a Chinese immigrant in the post-World War II United States in her autobiographical children's book In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. In this book she describes her efforts to learn English and to become accepted by her classmates and how she succeeds with the help of baseball and Jackie Robinson.

Bette Bao Lord is a distinguished international best-selling novelist and writer, and served as chair of the Board of Trustees of Freedom House.

To read more about Bette Bao Lord, visit her page on Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Farouk Shami

Country of origin: Palestine

Farouk Shami is a Palestinian-American businessman from Ramallah, West Bank, who now lives in Houston, Texas, where he runs the hair-care and spa products company, Farouk Systems.

In 2009, Shami ran in the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election but he lost in Democratic primary.

Shami has worked for decades in the field of hair-care product development, and attended cosmetology school in Arkansas. He invented the first ammonia-free hair color, after developing an allergy to the chemical that initially led doctors to encourage him to leave his profession.

His company, the Houston-based Farouk Systems, currently employs 2,000 people, and exports its line of hair and skin care products under the BioSilk, SunGlitz and Cationic Hydration Interlink (CHI) brands to over 50 countries worldwide. On July 27, 2009 Farouk Systems announced they will be opening a new plant in Houston that will employ approximately 5,000 people.

To read more about Farouk Shami visit his page on Wikipedia. There is also an interview with Farouk Shami here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

José Betancourt

Country of origin: Mexico

Rear Adm. José Betancourt is a no-nonsense military man.

The sharp, slim 57-year-old rear admiral commanded a destroyer during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the highlight of his career.

But Betancourt, who officially retires Saturday from a 30-plus-year Navy career, does have a weak side: sweet strawberries.

His back hurts just thinking of them, and his demeanor changes when he talks about them. For several summers, he picked strawberries in Northern California, along with his parents and siblings.

For good or bad, "you never forget your culture or where you came from," said the Mexico-born officer, who is still figuring out where retirement will take him.

To read the rest of the article about José Betancourt, visit the website.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ishmael Beah

Country of origin: Sierra Leone

Beah (born on November 23, 1980 in Mattru Jong, Bonthe District, Sierra Leone) is a former Sierra Leonean child soldier and the author of the published memoir, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.


While at college in Oberlin, Beah pursued advocacy work against the abuse of children during wartime. He spoke at the UN and met with leaders including Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela.

Beah currently works for the Human Rights Watch Children’s Division Advisory Committee, lives in Brooklyn, and is considering attending graduate school.

He has served as the keynote speaker for several events, including the Global Young Leaders Conference 2007 (July 15–26 session), Oberlin College's 175th convocation ceremony, and the 2008 College Conference in Montreat, North Carolina.

To learn more about Ishmael Beah, see his page on Wikipedia.