Hmong Diaspora Studies Certificate Program Alumni
Lee Xiong (2011) is a paraprofessional at Hmong American Peace Academy (HAPA). While at UW-Milwaukee, Xiong obtained a degree in Mathematics Education. He was the first student to complete the Hmong Diaspora Studies certificate. It was important to him because at the time he was asked to teach Hmong language and culture at Hmong American Peace Academy charter school. “I wanted to gain more knowledge about my people’s history and culture because that was never taught in school when I was growing up. Completing the certificate has helped me to have greater connections with the Hmong community, especially working with Hmong parents and children.”
Mychoua Vang, a UW-Milwaukee graduate with a major in Sociology and minor in English, wanted to take advantage of the Hmong Diaspora Studies Certificate to learn more about Hmong refugees and their past. She completed the certificate in (2013). “I wanted to gain different perspectives on current and past issues affecting Hmong people to help with my academic and career paths. I’ve had the opportunity to reevaluate my Hmong and American identity and have become more comfortable with my bicultural background—it’s an insightful experience that you need to take critically with an open mind.” Mychoua serves as a youth worker at Hmong American Friendship Association in Milwaukee.
Chee Xiong, a UW-Milwaukee graduate from the nursing program, felt that obtaining the Hmong Diaspora Studies Certificate (2013) would help her better understand the diverse populations that she will be working with in the field of nursing. At times, Xiong felt that the workload from her nursing program and the certificate became challenging and stressful, however, she continued to work effortlessly to complete both. She wanted to take what she learned from the certificate and apply it to her career in terms of working with people with different cultural backgrounds. Xiong said, “If I had not completed Hmong Diaspora Studies certificate, I don’t think I would be as knowledgeable as I am today. The journey to obtain the certificate was tough and rigorous, but it pushed me to work harder. Don’t limit yourself to only what you think you are capable of.”