Meet the Class of 2017 - Catherine Liang
2017 Most Valuable Student Recipient
University of Southern California —
International Relations, Global Business, and Economics Major
Sponsored by Petaluma, Calif., Lodge No. 901


Each Elks scholar is as diverse in their interests as they are from one another. Catherine Liang prides herself on her well-rounded achievements from being the chairwoman of the Sonoma County Junior Commission on Human Rights to the Distinguished Young Woman of California for the class of 2017. Catherine’s family vacations to Yosemite National Park ignited her passion for photography at a young age.

Throughout her life, she has transformed it into a tool she uses to tell the stories she sees through her photos, whether it’s capturing a moment between peers or a family’s dynamic. Some of Catherine’s work has been published in publications like Teen Ink Magazine and won awards like the international Sony World Photography Competition.

“Not only has photography allowed me to share the narratives of struggles and triumphs, it has widened my perspective and understanding for the incredible diversity in my community,” says Catherine.


She also uses her commissioned work as an opportunity to raise funds for human rights initiatives.

After spending a summer teaching in rural Ecuador, Catherine saw the negative affects the displacement of her students’ families by a multinational drilling corporation had on their education.

This experience has driven her to major in International Relations, Global Business and Economics. Catherine is dedicated to becoming a voice for the voiceless.


“I foresee myself widening my perspective as an open-minded and informed individual within the United Nations to represent our international community’s most penurious citizens,” says Catherine.

Catherine says she is honored to be a member of the #ElksFamily and to be surrounded by likeminded individuals who share a desire to serve. She believes the Elks are proof of the monumental changes a united community can make.

“The Elks have provided me with the foundation to shape a unique perspective and to carry on its legacy of empowering my community through the pursuit of excellence in my various academic and artistic passions,” says Catherine.

Catherine's family's house in Santa Rosa was recently destroyed by the Northern California fires. Visit their YouCaring page to read their story and donate if you can. The proceeds will go toward assisting Catherine's family, as well as her community, in rebuilding their lives.

For 2017-18, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.89 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year scholarships ranging from $4,000 to $50,000. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit

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