Meet the Hmong Women Now: Pachia Vang

“When we believe in people’s best intentions, that is when we can break the boundaries that keep us boxed in from learning more about our own potential and power together.”

10401439_10154138471980142_4895074398587829494_nHello, my name is Pachia Lucy Vang. I’m 26 years old, born and raised in Sacramento, California where I also spent a lot of my time in Fresno and in the Bay Area. I am the oldest of five and consider myself a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, and super-aunt. In my free time, I love watching documentaries, appreciating art, cooking different kinds of food, studying myths and legends, do-it-yourself projects, and mindful fashion. Today, I am a Hmong textile researcher currently living and working in Laos, curating an exhibit on the diversity of Hmong people as seen through their clothing.

I’d like to take you guys back to my high school years and share my experience as a young student. Whenever looking back on my high school experience, I feel really nostalgic because it was such an amazing time of growth. I was part of an honors program called the Humanities and International Studies Program (H.I.S.P.), which taught high school curriculum from an international perspective. This gave me a different way of thinking about the world’s diversity. This early education was extremely important to my personal development because it introduced me to my love of knowledge, my curiosity for people, and my ability to think critically.

Some of my greatest accomplishments included:

  • Completing my Junior project in literature about Jack Kerouac and his impact on the social revolutions of the 60s and 70s in America.
  • Winning Junior Prom Princess
    Being a part of “Hmong Women Circle” which was a youth program run through Hmong
  • Women Heritage that gave us a space to talk about Hmong identity
  • Organizing an event called Project Diversity that addressed ethnic tensions related to gang violence on campus

Some of my greatest accomplishments outside of school included:

  • My eclectic thrift-store closet
  • Being an active member of the graphic design community on the K-Pop Soompi Forums
  • Keeping a blog with my best friend in which we ranted about school projects, college applications, fashion, food, and Asian pop culture.

When college came around, I turned down an offer from the university of my first choice to attend community college. I made this decision, because I didn’t know what I wanted to study yet and thought it would be better to complete my general education at a lower cost. This didn’t disappointed me. I paid only $12 a semester and received a quality education seeking out extremely good professors who cared about me and my peers.This was achieved through extensive research on sites like RateMyProfessor.com! (Which if you are in community college, I would definitely recommend.) I knew that I wanted to study culture so I decided I would try out Anthropology and fell in love immediately! What I appreciated most about Anthropology was how vast and interconnected it
was. There are four fields: Social-Cultural Anthropology, Biological or Physical Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistics. It was a basic requirement to complete one introductory class in each field and after doing so I found that Social-Cultural Anthropology spoke to me the most. I enjoyed how theoretical this branch was and how it presented important frameworks to help me understand people and human phenomenon.

Although I wasn’t as involved on campus in community college, I payed a lot of attention to resources that were relevant to me. I knew I wanted to transfer to a university, so I applied to a transfer experience program at UC Berkeley and got in! We were taken to the university on an overnight trip where we participated in special workshops and trainings which taught us what admission counselors were looking for. I fell in love with the support they offered transferred students, so I told myself I would apply when the time came. After religiously following my community college’s study abroad website for over year, a special opportunity came up for a fully-funded exchange program to South Korea. Although I was hesitant because I thought I wouldn’t get in, I applied anyways, pouring my heart and soul into the essay about what an international learning experience would mean for me. I talked about my passion for cultures (especially theirs) along with my aspirations to become a leading anthropologist one day. To my delight, I got in!

When it came time to apply for UC Berkeley, I used this same method and was admitted for the Fall of 2012. My time at UC Berkeley was a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. Often called “the #1 public university in the world,” UC Berkeley is ranked alongside some of the best ivy league schools in the nation. In my first year, I became a full-on Anthropology student taking advantage of some of the most interesting classes I had ever seen: folklore, religion, psychology, art, power and energy? There were so many new ideas I was exposed to and I got quickly involved with multiple jobs at the ethnic studies library, in the East Asian archaeology lab, and with the Anthropology museum.

In my second year, I became a part of the Asian-Pacific-Islander (API) student community on campus through my membership with the Hmong Student Association at Berkeley (HSAB). Although I had always found my own culture to be fascinating, it wasn’t until I became a part of HSAB that my involvements with the Hmong community grew. After becoming an officer, I created “The Generational Face Project” which was my first introduction to community engagement. This kind of organizational work, eventually helped me meet a young shaman who introduced me to the healing powers of paj ntaub that sparked my interest in writing a thesis. An undergraduate thesis is long research paper focused on a statement or theory that is supported by factual examples. It is usually something done for a master’s degree program and is not a requirement for a bachelor’s degree. I wanted to do it, however, to challenge myself. The topic of my thesis focused on paj ntaub and how it has been used as a “tool” by the Hmong to
hold onto identity and culture through oppression and forced migration. The factual examples I provided were rooted in Hmong oral history and traditions, standing up against western standards that shape the way we invalidate and forget our elder’s knowledge. This endeavor, as you can imagine, was quite difficult it.

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Most people told me I made no sense and I had a hard time communicating my ideas to my thesis advisor. Often, I found his suggestions to conflict with what I wanted my thesis to be and in the end I was confused about whether I had even completed the thesis properly. What I learned from this experience, however, is that brains and ideas need time to develop. Your brain doesn’t fully develop until your late twenty’s. At the time, it was so difficult comprehending and organizing these big ideas I was just learning and I didn’t know why. Looking back now I see, that aside from my brain not being fully developed, there were still many pieces of information I was missing that I just needed more time for. Another thing I learned from this is that sometimes you just have to say no. There were a lot of challenges I was facing in my personal life.

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With only two years at a university, trying to do as much as I could with campus involvements, work, school, and writing a 60-page thesis was a lot to manage. It wore me out and really made me question whether or not I was successful when I had already done so much! Although I graduated with honors for completing my thesis, I wondered if I really deserved it for a long time. After a lot of reflection I’ve realized that it’s important to stay positive about hard times because “in darkness, comes light…” It is only from these most difficult times that I’ve gained the mental and spiritual strength I need to do the people-centered work I do today.

Many Anthropology students, like myself, study with the notion to become professors and researchers. There are, however, many other ways you can use your anthropology degree through “Applied Anthropology.” I, for one, have worked in various fields including sales, marketing, refugee resettlement, museums, and community organizations where I applied the theories I learned in Anthropology to think critically about solutions for the challenges I faced in the workplace. With this in mind, its important to remember that with any major, your classroom experiences cultivate your mind to be successful in all the different jobs you may encounter while working towards your bigger dreams and goals.

To visualize my goals after college, I created a vision board where I put images of all the things I wanted to have in my life within the next five years. Looking back on that board now, it’s amazing to see how much I have accomplished and how strangely relevant some of the random things I put on there are to my upcoming horizon. This year my goals are to continue with my research on Hmong textiles, making more of that information accessible for the community online.

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Being a Hmong Woman Now means letting go of all of the heavy things from your past, to be present for the best version of yourself today! This is something I say with great conviction, because it is how I have found clarity in my life to pursue the things that make me happy. To aspiring students and women in the Hmong community, never give up on yourself and listen to those around you with a positive mind. I think it’s easy to feel like people are not supportive and critical. It becomes a habit to work alone and compare ourselves to others. However, I have experienced that when we believe in people’s best intentions, that is when we can break the boundaries that keep us boxed in from learning more about our own potential and power together.

To connect with me please feel free to email me at plkvang@gmail.com

Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Yengyee Lor

“Each and everyone of you is so capable and competent of being not only a leader for yourself, living your wildest dream, but taking on leadership positions.”

Yengyee Lor

Yengyee Lor was born in a Thailand Refugee camp and now resides in Weston, Wisconsin. She received her BA in Social Work, MA in Counseling and Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology.

She is the CEO and Founder of Faithful Consulting LLC, a leadership and team coaching organizational development consulting business. She believes, “Leadership is very important to learn from a young age because it can teach a person to be more confident and empowered. When we are confident and empowered, we are able to accomplish things, influence others, make an impact, and live our true selves.

I was privileged to participate with Yengyee in a Livechat where we discussed on the importance of recognizing our potential and tackling the gremlins we encounter as we partake leadership roles in our professions, education, and life. We also discussed on how to embark on a coaching profession including programs and the growth mindset.

In our one hour chat, we discussed multiple topics including what leadership embodies, prerequisites in taking on leadership roles, how to overcome insecurities, how to know what coaching business to go into, and the marvelous group of Hmong individuals we see today in our community.

I encourage you to watch the video, be empowered, and partake your own leadership journey as it is one of the most essential life skill.

Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Emily Vue

“…what is the worse that could happen, if it doesn’t work out then I’ll be right where I am, but if it does work out I could embark on a whole new journey I could not even imagine.”

Emily Vue

Hello, My name is Emily Vue. Currently 20 years old, majoring in both International Business and International Studies at Pittsburg State University.  I was born in California and moved to Arkansas when I was about nine years old. I’m pretty much a country girl, I grew up on a farm. I love the outdoors and I don’t mind a country song here and there. My high school was not very diverse. There were a total of three Hmong people in my graduating class, including myself. One of my hobbies is modeling. I have been modeling since I was 15 years old. Another one of my hobbies is Hmong dancing. I have been Hmong dancing since I was 7 years old. My long term goal is to end sex-trafficking.

As any Hmong girl would know, growing up you are told how limited you are. You can’t do this and that because, you’re a girl. That pretty much motivated me to do more and accomplish more and to prove that even though I am a girl, I can do anything I put my mind to. That my gender does not define me in anyway.

During my college career, I have been able to work on projects that have allowed me to change my view on the world and appreciate life in a different aspect. It helped me learn about myself and what I can be capable of. I’m part of an organization at my school called Pitt State Enactus. There are different projects within the organization; you are allowed to pick which project you are most interested in.

Emily 9
Cambodia, March 2016

My freshmen year of 2016, I picked the Cambodian Project. The Cambodian Project consist of assisting Krista Thomason and helping her expand her business, Hepz Apparel. Hepz gives a sustainable income to 7 Cambodian women, who are currently living on Women’s Island. The modern day location of the killing fields during the Khmer Rouge Genocide and a current hot spot for trafficking. All 7 women have been trafficked and saved. After working on this project for about 7 months, I was given the opportunity to travel with Krista and two other students to Cambodia to meet these 7 women. Changing my life forever.  A second project I had the opportunity to be a part of occurred in April of this year. I traveled to Haiti to research a potential project. This project will consist of us creating hydroponic system to allow the orphanage to grow their own food.

Remarkably, another event took place this year.  In march, I was elected governor of the Kansas District for Circle K International. This position entails me being in charge of all of the Circle K International Clubs in all Kansas University Campuses.

Emily 13A significant challenge throughout my career was myself comparing and trying to compete with other people. However, I have slowly started to learn it did not make me necessarily feel good about myself. Instead I changed my mindset to being a better me and making me happy. I stopped caring about what others thought about the decisions I was making and started focusing on what is best for me. My advice for those who aspire to follow their dreams is to give yourself opportunities. It’s not luck, it’s hard work. If you know you want to do something start planning for it now. However, once you have your plan you must act. It’s okay to fail. One thing I always tell myself is what is the worse that could happen, if it is doesn’t work out then I’ll be right where I am, but if it does work out I could embark on a whole new journey I could not even imagine.

From as young as I can remember, I was taught to be hard working because when I do get married I would have to cook and clean for my husband’s family. Therefore, I took that hard-working aspect we were taught at a young age and applied it to my future and career versus viewing it as being a slave. What I hope to instill in other women and our youth is, if there’s something you want to do with your career then just go for it. Why care what people think or say? Live for yourself. Before anyone else can love, respect, or care about you . You must love, respect, and care for yourself.

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Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Susan Her

“Being a Hmong woman, there is no definition to it.”

Susan Her, an alumna from UC Berkeley, received her BA in Integrative Biology with a focus in Human Biology and Health Services.  She is currently attending the University of the Pacific’s Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences as a first year pharmacy student.  After completing pharmacy school, Susan will receive her Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree and hopes to provide service for the under-served communities.

Susan Her

In our interview, Susan covered essential topics regarding pharmacy school prerequisites; available financial resources; and a list of remarkable resources, ideas, and strategies to prepare for and survive pharmacy school. If you have missed the opportunity to tune into the Live Broadcast and a chance to ask burning questions, you still have opportunities to watch the interview below and reach out to Susan with questions we have not covered. Whether you are interested or not in Pharmacy school, it would still be a great decision to watch the interview to gain insight on the Pharmacy career pathway.  You will be able to inform families and friends who are interested in Pharmacy school and are not sure where to begin.

The amazing Susan has left with us her contact info which will be provided below.  Do not hesitate to reach out and ask questions or guidance in beginning your career today!

Email: s_her3@u.pacific.edu

Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Chia Vang

“Jump the leap of faith! We will never know what is on the other side until we do it!”

– Chia Vang

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Meet Chia Vang, an alumna from CSU Fresno.  Several years ago, she received her BS in Criminology and MS in Rehabilitation Counseling.  Today she continues her Ph.D in Philosophy of Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.  To pursue her Ph.D, she has left her hometown to live in Texas where she works two jobs as a Teacher and Research Assistant.

I was honored to have had Chia as our next Hmong Women Now representative.  During our interview she shared brilliant ideas and suggestions regarding questions around graduate schools.  Additionally, she shared multiple strategies on being successful as a graduate student both in the Masters and Doctors’ programs. Five very important tips she shared were seeking academic counseling, volunteering, networking, prioritizing, and continuing to challenge ourselves as students.

The interview was far from inspirational.   It was absolutely constructive and informative. I will not be able to summarize the highlights or significant points of the interview because every second was extremely beneficial. I encourage you to watch the interview and really pay attention to every part of the discussion.  Whether you are planning to attend college, are attending college, or deciding to continue your education I assure you this video will both guide you and challenge you to “jump the leap of faith”.

 

Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Linda Thao, founder of HWN

“…being a Hmong woman also means I get to break all the barriers that were made to prevent me from standing out, from becoming phenomenal, from empowering other women, and from becoming who I want to be instead of who they’ve decided I should be.”

I have been blessed with a family of ten, my husband, and two little boys.  I have especially been fortunate to grow in a land where opportunities are bountiful. With the privileges I have been given I earned my BA in Liberal Studies, my Teaching Credentials, and my MA in Education minoring in Curriculum and Instruction at CSU Fresno.  I currently work as a middle school science teacher with a variety of young & amazing teenagers.  I absolutely love working with the youth of our community which makes setting my long-term goal a difficult task.  I wish to pursue my Doctorate in Education, however, I also wish to provide a safe haven for troubled youth in our community. My hope as an educator is to provide a temporary home for students while providing education.  I believe knowledge is the single most powerful tool we are gifted with and can use to better our circumstances.  Therefore we must continue to feed our knowledge to discover and utilize our full potential.

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The individual that I am today attributes to my sex and identity: a Hmong Woman. Being a woman is not easy and being particularly Hmong does not make it easier.  As Hmong people we know the patriarchal structure of our community: men are superior to women.  Yet, I have not allowed this traditional belief to stop me from becoming the person I am today. Being a Hmong Woman is a gift. Women are powerful and have traits that are extremely desirable.  When a woman have learned to value who she is, she can overcome any adversity.

It took me more than 20 years to acknowledge my value as a Hmong Woman, but when I discovered that value I set foot on a path allowing me to guide others to learn of their value. My determination to help youth to recognize their competency inspired me to become an educator.  Education is not and should not only be acquired through school.  Education can be obtained through multiple outlets.  I encourage everyone to continue to seize knowledge through reading, searching, visiting valuable resources, taking classes, and asking questions. Knowledge allows a person to become mobile.

As an educator, I believe we cannot ever learn enough to stop learning.  Learning is a life-long process and if we are disciples of learning we must receive and serve.  As an educator, I continue to learn everyday from my own students and from other individuals.  During my career as an educator there has been and continue to exist a multitude of learning opportunities.  I get to learn of stories many people do not know of.  I get to delve deep into the stories of children who come to my class everyday even when there home does not exist.  I get to see children blossom and learn to utilize their potential to the fullest.  I get to know stories extremely heartbreaking, capable of dismantling an adult. These stories are most significant in my career and are reasons why I continue to be an educator.  It is not about what they will learn with me, but what I can do with the time I’m given in order for them to discover their potential and value knowledge.  It is when they have developed a love for obtaining knowledge that they will start to learn in school and use that knowledge to change their perspective and circumstances.

Becoming the educator I am today was never easy.  The most challenging part during the earlier fragments of my career was finding the right resources.  I did not have the support to guide me in the right direction.  I walked with blind faith, believing the courses I took and the expectations from my university would lead me to become the individual I am today.  I am not sure if I would be where I am if it weren’t for the amazing individuals who coincidentally walked into my life. Each person would later provide information and resources guiding me towards the right direction.  Their guidance helped me to step out of my comfort zone and took chances that would later challenge but helped me to grow exponentially.  It was extremely challenging during my undergrad because I was just not confident enough and was just not knowledgeable enough to navigate alone.  Therefore, I encourage everyone to seek knowledge with confidence.  Do not be afraid others will question your intelligence, your capabilities, and potential because no matter what you do, people will question you.  I was fortunate to have met individuals who were generous enough to share valuable resources even when I was afraid to ask.  Not everyone will be as willing to share and help and not everyone will be as fortunate as myself to find such generous people.  Therefore, go forward confidently and ask questions when you are lost.  If I would have known then, I would have went forward and ask all the questions I held back.

“Never find the easier way out because as a result you will reach the end but will be absolutely clueless. Instead, tackle the most challenging course head-on and come out more informative  and prepared than ever.”

There are many resources available to all of us.  We are just not cognizant of it.  One of the greatest resource I had during both my undergrad and graduate degrees was the academic counselor.  Being an introvert I avoided having to ever ask people for help and always trusted in myself, even when I didn’t have the answer.  When I finally built enough courage to seek guidance from the academic counselor that was when I found clarification.  It was then when I stepped towards the right direction with confidence.  I extremely encourage everyone to ask and ask and keep on asking questions until you find the solution.  And when you cannot find the answer from people, look on the web – one of the most powerful supplementary resource.  I have turned to the internet on multiple occasions to find answers, even today as an educator I still find myself searching the web to find answers for my students.  Never stop asking questions because they build your knowledge and when your knowledge grows you become closer to becoming who you were made to be. Never find the easier way out because as a result you will reach the end but will be absolutely clueless. Instead, tackle the most challenging course head-on and come out more informative  and prepared than ever.

Before I end my blog entry, I would like to touch up on what it means to be a Hmong woman. For myself being a Hmong woman means it will not, maybe never, be easy.  It means people will stare, people will criticize, people will envy, & people will attempt to make me believe I was made to do one thing and that one thing is to put myself last.  However, being a Hmong woman also means I get to break all the barriers that were made to prevent me from standing out, from becoming phenomenal, from empowering other women, and from becoming who I want to be instead of who they’ve decided I should be.  Being a Hmong woman means we get to overcome never-ending adversities but each time that we do, we become a heroine, “a woman who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal.”

Linda Thao

Footnote: heroine. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved June 10, 2017 from Dictionary.com website http://www.dictionary.com/browse/heroine

Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Miss Hmong Central Valley, Mary Vang

“Peb ib lo lus zoo, nws yuav cawm tau ib tug neeg txoj sia. Peb ib lo lus phem, nws yuav txho tau ib tug neeg txoj sia.”

My name is Mary Vang and I am a mental health clinician. I am also your Miss Hmong Central Valley, 2017 residing in Fresno, California. My educational background is Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage, Family and Child. My long-term goal is to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and continue my education towards a Doctorate degree in Psychology.

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Photo Credit: Stephen E. Chang

I was inspired/motivated to enter the pageant due to my passion to help our Hmong community regarding Mental Health, particularly Depression. At a very young age, I knew I wanted to help individuals/families in crisis. During the pageant competition, I spoke of how our Hmong culture address individuals with depression. In the Hmong culture, there is hesitation to seek help outside the family due to shame. When individuals who are depressed have no safe outlets, over time it could lead to detrimental consequences: drugs and alcohol abuse, suicide, homicide, marital conflict, etc. These uprising concerns in our community inspired me to talk about Depression during the pageant.

A significant event in my career was my first counseling course in graduate school. As mandatory classroom participation, students had to take turns being a client, then a counselor. The whole purpose as the client was to confront our personal struggles as it will enable us to become effective counselors. The experience was emotionally draining but quite an epiphany. I discovered the value of empathy: the ability to understand or feel what others are feeling. It’s easy to judge because it’s difficult to understand. The problem with judging is that we create a world that is so limited.

People who are depressed feel limited, like there is no hope in life getting better. This is why depression is so dangerous. When people feel hopeless, they tend to self soothe with the use of drugs, self-harm activities, committing suicide and/or even committing homicide. During my platform round for the pageant I stated, “Peb ib lo lus zoo, nws yuav cawm tau ib tug neeg txoj sia. Peb ib lo lus phem, nws yuav txho tau ib tug neeg txoj sia.” Meaning that we should empathize, as our words/action can play such a pivotal role in a person’s life.

One of the most difficult part of my career is finding balance. As a counselor and now, Miss Hmong Central Valley, I want to give so much of me but I realized I tend to neglect myself and the people I love. In counseling we call this “self-care”, in order to care for others one must care for oneself first.

Anyone is welcome to contact me personally through my email misshmongmaryvaj@gmail.com or my public Facebook page @MissMaryVaj for any assistance. Other than myself, utilize social media to outreach and network with people who shares the same passion as you. Expand your horizon by constantly learning and challenging yourself through reading, attending classes/trainings and consulting with peers and experts. Most importantly, have compassion and courage. Stay humble, work hard and give wholeheartedly.

“Most importantly, have compassion and courage. Stay humble, work hard and give wholeheartedly.”

Being a Hmong woman means strength. Hmong women are strong, compassionate and resilient. Not only are our physical body made to be resilient through child-bearing, our mind are resilient as well. We are only as strong as we choose to be.

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Photo Credit: Cynthia Xiong, Hairstylist: Jenny Lee

Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Mai See Xiong

“…even though I am a woman, I can be as good as a man…”

– Mai See Xiong

Meet Mai See Xiong, an alumna from BYU Idaho.  She received her BS in Nursing and is currently serving her community as a registered nurse (RN) in the oncology unit in the Huntsman Cancer Institute located in the University of Utah.

I had the pleasure to introduce Mai See in an interview to our audience.  During the interview we were able to discover the challenges and triumphs she encountered during the course of her career.   Mai See talked about the remedies she practiced to help her overcome some of the adversities and gave advice to other students who are in the middle of pursuing their career. I welcome you to watch the interview below.

“…never, never never ever go into anything with the attitude of ‘I know I’m going to fail already, because you self-fulfill that prophecy.”

Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Ying Thao

“..remember that we are the Hmong Women of Today, and are the voices and role models for our youths.”

Both my parents wDS8I2760ere refugees who settled in the United States in 1989, where I was born. My parents as did most Hmong parents, were faced with cultural clashes, some of which continue to be barriers to their acculturation. Thus, developing trust in Western society was a challenge of my parents leading up to their strict rules for my siblings and I. Juggling both the Hmong and Western culture has helped me mold my very own idea of what the norm is, being who we are despite the influences of culture and pursuing our dreams despite them being “eccentric”. My name is Ying Thao, eldest daughter and third oldest of eight. I am a Registered Nurse in medical surgical at Community Regional Medical Center and a Psychology Instructor at Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts, Fresno, Ca. I am expecting to graduate this May 2017 with my Masters of Nursing in Family Nurse Practitioner Option. My long-term goal is to pursue my Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate and continue onto the Doctoral Nursing Program where I can expand my research.

My parents are my motivation to pursue this career path. I can recall feeling so helpless as a child watching my father struggle with his numerous medical conditions; language being one of the main barriers to accessing medical care. I remember having to translate for my parents and other Hmong parents along the way who were also faced with the same issues. The struggles of our Hmong parents have inspired me to become a provider and an advocate for the Hmong community.

A significant event during my career in which I have learned the most from involved interactions with other providers. I have learned that one of the most important trait to have is to always be humble. As we grow from our novice to expert roles, we must not forget how it was like to be a student, a new graduate on the job and simply trying to learn. One of the worst things we can do as experienced professionals is to shut down an aspiring individual who is working to be in our shoes. Let us be humble role-models and encourage the youths of our community.

The most difficult part of my career is mental health. Many of our Hmong parents are refugees with traumatic experiences and suffer from mental health disorders such as depression. As with all societies, there is a stigma to mental health, discouraging individuals from seeking care, and leading to many being undiagnosed.

Nursing is such an exciting career
! I would say that it is almost impossible to be bored as a nurse as it is one of the most diverse health-related profession there is. Nursing is challenging yet rewarding. I would say to our youths who aspire to pursue nursing to be confident in themselves. Careers exist because it is possible to achieve them! During my second year in college as I was trying to get into the nursing program, I remember chasing down whomever were wearing blue scrubs (nursing students) trying to obtain as much resources as I could. The advices that I received from these random nursing students were probably the best advices that I ever got as a student trying to pursue my career as a nurse. Do not be afraid to ask for advice.17972288_1191542717624753_6635706363990827197_o

Being an American Hmong women to me means advocating for myself and for those who does not have the voiceto do so. It is being able to challenge the cultural norm as we seek out opportunities and living up to our own standards and
not that of anyone else’s. It is important to remember that we are the Hmong
Women of Today, and are the voices and role models for our youths.

Ying Thao