The UCF Asian Student Union organization was formed in 1987 under the direction of Karen Nguyen, program assistant, Off-campus Student Services. In 2000, the organization changed its name to Asian Student Association and the first Miss ASA Pageant was initiated.
The first pageant included students from UCF, University of Florida, University of South Florida, Rollins College and Stetson University, Valencia College, representing Viet Nam, Thai, and China. The first Miss ASA pageant winner was Mai Linh Nguyen.
The program promotes culture awareness, unity among the Asian population, and educates others about their history, customs and traditions.
In 2002, the Miss ASA pageant become Mr. and Miss ASA Scholarship Pageant. As the program became more popular, it received more funding from UCF Student Government Association and business owners who support the program. The funding provided more category awards for both male and female contestants based on their academic achievement; friendliness; talent; photogenic appearance, and service to the community.
The pageant has become an ASA tradition at UCF celebrating its 12th anniversary with 16 male and female contestants from UCF and Valencia College. The students represented the countries of China, India, Philippines and Viet Nam. The recipients are as follows:
Mr. ASA David Galindo
Miss ASA Melanie Liu
Mr. Aaron Antonio
Miss Phuong Nguyen
Mr. Kevin Cheng
Miss Elaine Lam
The judging committee included: DeLaine Priest, assistant vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Services; Kathryn Andriotis, UCF Student Government Association senator; Dr. Puxiao, Central Florida Hospital, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, UCF Medical School; Dr. Duy Vy, Lifetime Eyes Care; Helen Dang, NASA/Asian Pacific Advisory Coalition; and Thomas Nguyen, member of UCF President Minority Advisory Council and Vietnamese Commerce, CEO and president of Saigon Radio (substitute judge).
Karen Nguyen, who continues to advise ASA, said: “I am proud to be a part of the organization contributing to the success of our students. They are very talented and hardworking in all areas encompassing their own academic achievement and their commitment to help each other to accomplish their goals and be successful in life and be proud of their heritage. ASA is the home for many students. I’ve seen how students who come from different ethnic background share their common interests as well as bring some new ideas to learn from each other and be conscious of supporting others, working as a team to accomplish their mission. Each Asian country has their unique holidays and rich tradition to share and celebrate with others. This organization mirrors the values the UCF Creed: Integrity, Scholarship, Community, Creativity, and Excellence.”