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home : education : education Monday, November 20, 2017

8/30/2016 3:09:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Bruce Yang Works With The U Of M To Help Jumpstart College

By Amy Doeun

Bruce Yang knows first hand the difficulties of navigating through the college experience. While college was not the norm for his family, he progressed through a Bachelor's program and on to the State University Mankato where he was a doctoral student. "I was a dual track in student affairs and mental health," said Bruce.

Since January 4 he has been working at the University of Minnesota as a Multicultural Associate, but said that in this position, "I actually wear many hats." One of those hats is working as an advisor for the Hmong Minnesota Student Association. This association is for Hmong students at any college or University in Minnesota. He also is a member of the President's Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Program.

"I am also from the multicultural center for academic excellence. We support through tutoring, mentorship, and volunteer experience." Yang continues, "I think higher education is something that is really important for the Hmong Community. We still have a lot of progress to make to be contributors to the society."

To work towards this goal Yang said, "I am currently working on several Asian Pacific Islander (API) scholarship fund (SF), jumpstart college tour. This event helps raise awareness about higher education, college planning, scholarship and college tours." This tour is open to anyone in high school and it would be a good idea to begin planning for college early.

The event will be held on September 10 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the University Campus. Yang says. "The event is for anyone in high school who is thinking about college. This is a family friendly event."

Topics covered at the event include, choosing and applying for college, understanding FAFSA and financial aid, tips for college success and career planning. It is completely free including lunch and parking and even prizes.

"We are trying to get individuals from around the cities to come learn about opportunities open to them to take part in college," states Yang.

The event is planned jointly with the U of M Office of Admissions and the main office of equity and diversity. They have commissioned experts from out of state that are facilitating and planning the event.

"I feel the University has lot of resources for students and their families. It might not be location friendly for a lot of community members that don't know the University but we want to establish stronger relationship with the community."

Yang shared that he is currently working with API professionals across the U to develop strategies for outreach in all API communities. "We want to work together to plan so that if anything happens to one of us the community will always have access to the U. I understand how difficult it is to navigate higher ed. We want students to feel connected."

In closing Yang said, "I also wanted to mention that part of the reason why this work is so important is because of the idea of community and development. We want to make sure that students and community members not only feel welcomed at the U of M, but also that they are informed about the services and opportunities that we have to support their students. In a way, this is really a partnership between the U of M and the community, with the aim of helping students become more successful in higher education with the hope that these students will one day graduate and reinvest in the communities they come from. This is where positive change can really happen because we're not only supporting individual growth, but also the growth of entire communities in the long run. So it's important that we see these connections in terms of how changes within individuals can ultimately lead to greater changes in society. Events like the APIASF Jump Start College Tour is an opportunity for conversation and relationship building that is aimed towards learning how we can better support each other in this process of community building/development."

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