Article originally posted by the National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA).
A big congratulations to Yan Liu, a graduate of San Diego’s Access Youth Academy and a senior at UC Berkeley, as the first recipient of NUSEA’s William E. Simon, Jr. Service & Leadership Award. The William E. Simon, Jr. Service & Leadership Award gives one graduating college student per year the opportunity to travel abroad and volunteer for an international affiliate of NUSEA.
The award was established in honor of NUSEA’s founding board chair, Bill Simon, and aims to highlight the importance of leadership and service, deepen ties between urban squash programs in the United States and abroad, and provide a once-in-lifetime opportunity for an urban squash graduate. Each NUSEA member program was permitted to nominate one graduating college student.
Yan is a 2013 graduate of Access Youth Academy and a senior this year at Berkeley majoring in Public Health with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. She plays college squash alongside some of her Access teammates and volunteers weekly with SquashDrive in Oakland where she tutors and mentors youth. “Yan Liu is an extraordinarily driven and passionate individual,” AYA Academic Coordinator Soraya Ramos. “As she continues to achieve her dreams at UC Berkeley, Yan remains connected to her humble beginnings, to squash, and to the community that helped her get there.”
Yan echoed that spirit of gratitude when notified about the award. “When I applied to the Simon Leadership Award, I had one goal in mind: to give back to the urban squash community,” explained Yan. “I want to use my experiences and accomplishments to serve as an ambassador to guide the young urban squash players on an international platform. I am very excited to be able to experience a different culture, meet new people and learn from the program that I’ll have the honor to work with. “