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College and University programs help Hmong refugee succeed

vang.jpgCEHD freshman Kaoxue Vang has come a long way, literally, to be a University of Minnesota student--and she had help from several college and University programs along the way. Vang was recently featured in a Minnesota Daily story about her journey.

Seven years ago, Vang barely knew any English, having just arrived in this country from Thailand. Now she is tutoring other students. During that extraordinary transition, Vang received support from staff at the University's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, including weekly tutoring sessions at the Humphrey School for Hmong youth. By the time she reached college age, Vang earned admission to the University through TRiO, a federal program housed in CEHD that supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Heidi Barajas, CEHD associate dean and executive director of the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, is an expert on issues of equity and access to education and has observed Vang as part of a research project about Hmong student success.

Barajas said Vang quickly realized the key to educational success for any student. "One thing I'll say about anybody successful in education is that they're able to seek out support," Barajas said in the story. "In [Vang's] case, she had a lot of support and knew where to go for help."

Vang's story was also featured recently on Minnesota Public Radio:

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