Asian American Cultural Center Satoda Scholars Program

History of the Program

A diary by 92-year old former internee, Yonekazu Satoda, resides at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The diary was featured in the exhibit, “Out of the Desert: Resilience and Memory in Japanese American Internment,” which ran between November 2015 through February 2016 in the Sterling Library Memorabilia Room. Although the author of the diary was initially thought to have passed away, thecurator tracked down Mr. Satoda (who was residing in San Francisco at the time) and wrote to request permission to include the journal in the exhibit, which Mr. Satoda granted. The Beinecke Library flew Mr. Satoda, his wife, and children out for the exhibit opening where Mr. Satoda delivered the keynote address. It was Mr. Satoda’s wish to contribute to the ongoing research, dialogue, and remembrance of Japanese American internment through this generous donation to the Yale Asian American Cultural Center. In particular, Mr. Satoda and his family specified that the funds be allocated specifically for student research and understanding of this history. Thanks to the generous gift from Mr. Yonekazu Satoda and his family, 2017 marked the inaugural year of the AACC Satoda Scholars Program.
Satoda Scholars Cohort 1 & 2

Overview of the Program

The Asian American Cultural Center Satoda Scholars Program awards research grants to undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students to conduct original research related to the mass forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and/or Incarceration Studies more broadly.
Satoda Scholars selected in 2024 will serve as the

eight cohort and are each awarded $750 in research funding. Yale undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students are eligible. The following are project titles of past Satoda Scholars: 

  • Joanna Lee, Yale College ‘18 - Flipping the Script: How a Small Texas Town Complicates Japanese American History
  • Emily Xiao, Yale College ‘18 - Between Incarceration and Care: Disability, Bureaucracy, and Citizenship in Japanese American Wartime Camps, 1942-1946
  • Chloe Yee, Yale College ‘18 - Interned but In Charge: The Irony of Power and Prejudice of Japanese American Maternal Health Workers During Internment
  • Lauren Worden, Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music ‘19 - Religion in Manzanar: Resistance, Endurance, and Control
  • Sonya Schoenberger, Yale Law School ‘20 - The “Spies” of Terminal Island: Wartime Hysteria, “Military Necessity,” and the Destruction of a Civilian Fishing Community


  • Noah Cho, Yale College ‘19 - The Japanese American Citizens League’s Role in Post-War Community Division: Supressing the Story of Resistance, 1945-2002
  • Robbie Short, Yale College ‘19 - “American in Lip Service Only”: Japanese Americans and the Language of Citizenship during World War II


  • Minh Vu, Yale College ‘20 - Yuri Kochiyama as Spatial Artist: Quotidian Aesthetics & AfroAsian Solidarities
  • Miho Carey, Yale College ‘21 - Incarceration in Hawai’i and the Mori Family


  • Kevin Chen, Yale College ‘21 - “I’ll Make A Citizen Out of You”: Constructing the ‘Martial-Alien’ Nisei During World War II
  • Justin Yamamura, Yale College ‘23 - The Model Minority Myth and “Loyalty”: The Consequences of the Statement of United States Citizen of Japanese Ancestry


  • Mariko Rooks, Yale College ‘21 Yale School of Public Health ‘22 - Exploring Community and Carceral Healthcare Systems and Delivery in the Japanese American WWII Incarceration Camps
  • Kevin Chen, Yale Law School ‘23 - Japanese American Citizenship Renunciation and the Remaking of “Enemy Aliens”
  • Angelin Matthew, Yale College ‘25 - Making Sense of Incomplete Medical Histories, Incarceration Technologies, and Daring Solidarities during Japanese American Incarceration
  • Erin Nishi, Yale College ‘25 - The Impact of Classical Music in the Japanese War Relocation Authority Camps
  • Katherine Matsukawa, Yale College ‘23
  • Allison Chu, Graduate School of Arst and Sciences ‘25
Each AACC Satoda Scholar will be required to:
  • Attend the annual AACC Community Research Day in Spring
  • Present their research findings at the annual AACC Community Research Day the following academic year                            
  • Participate in annual Satoda Scholar alumni events

Application Process 

To apply please complete this brief application form by March 17, 2024 at 11:59pm EST:

Future of the Program

The Satoda Scholars grant will be awarded annually following the inaugural cohort of 2017. Each year following the inaugural cohort, two awards will be granted per year. Alumni of the program will be connected with each incoming cohort of Satoda Scholars to encourage dialogue, community-building, and legacy beyond the program.
If you would like to contribute a gift toward the Satoda Scholars Fund, please contact AACC Director, Joliana Yee at