Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars Welcomes Two New Members to the Board of Directors



Wendy Wong
VP of Marketing and Communications
APIA Scholars (Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars)

Two Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander American Leaders Join to Advance AANHPI Student Success

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Washington, DC (January 31, 2023) APIA Scholars (Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars) announces Jacinta Titiali’i-Abbott and Jennifer Peru Gary joined the Board of Directors to advance academic, personal, and professional success of Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students.

“Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students continue to be seen as one monolithic and their specific needs are too often overlooked in scholarships, student services, as well as programming. One of our key focus is to uplift first generation college students, ones who are at or below poverty level college students, and individuals who are from historically underserved and under-represented backgrounds.  Our work in Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities is complex and nuanced and we are pleased to welcome two new Board members who bring their unique Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander backgrounds, as well as their accomplished professional legal expertise, to APIA Scholars. They represent the values of our organization and are role models for our students.” said APIA Scholars President Dr. Noel S. Harmon.

Jacinta Titiali’i-Abbott is a retired commercial transactions and securities attorney, healthcare executive, business consultant, and a leading advocate for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. She currently serves on the Board of Asian Americans Advancing Justice/AAJC in Washington D.C., and previously served on the APIA Scholars Board. During her leadership as Chairperson from 2009 to 2012, APIA Scholars administered the Gates Millennium Scholarship and they significantly increased corporate sponsorship.  Jacinta Titiali’i-Abbott served on the first White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in 2000. The Commission recommended ways to increase public sector, private sector, and community efforts to build capacity and improve the health and well-being of Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans.

Titiali’i-Abbott was born in American Samoa and moved to the Seattle, Washington area with her family when she was two-years old.  “As an American Samoan, and the first in my family to graduate from college and law school, I believe that people have the power and responsibility to direct their own lives and a responsibility to improve their communities.  I am dedicated to increasing educational access to develop a more inclusive and expansive democracy based upon individual freedoms, and I am excited to rejoin the Board and further the work of APIA Scholars.” said Jacinta Titiali’i-Abbott.

Jennifer Peru Gary is a Managing Partner at litigation support services firm Trustpoint’s Washington, D.C. office. Prior to her role at Trustpoint, Peru Gary also served as a federal prosecutor with the US Department of Justice and subsequently, as a white-collar criminal defense litigator with a law firm. She was born and raised in Waialua, a small sugar plantation town in Hawaiʻi, and is a first-generation college graduate, who had first-hand experience in the K-12 and university systems in Hawaiʻi. “As a proud Native Hawaiian, this opportunity is such a blessing because it will allow me to not only give back to my Native Hawaiian community, but to come alongside stakeholders back home to work together to overcome some of the challenges that Hawaiʻi faces with their educational system, which directly impacted me while I was growing up, and shaped who I am today. I am very excited about and humbled by this opportunity to serve on APIA Scholars’ board.” said Jennifer Peru Gary.


About APIA Scholars

Based in Washington, D.C. and founded in 2003, APIA Scholars (Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars) is the nation’s leading non-profit organization devoted to the academic, personal, and professional success of Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students. We celebrate our community of students whose unique stories, rich cultures, and diverse perspectives equip them to be the leaders of tomorrow. Through holistic college-to-career programs, scholarships, higher education research and policy, and institutional partnerships, APIA Scholars carries out its mission to educate, elevate, and empower a diverse community of 25 million strong and growing.

For more information about APIA Scholars, please visit us at