Sixth Annual Asian Youth Career and
|Adam Vang is a first-generation college student at
Madison College who is helping to plan the
Asian Student Career & College Fair being held on
April 22nd at Madison College.
to Madison and you see so many and it just makes me happy. I could see that Hmong people are actually succeeding. I know they have been
succeeding too. But just to see it right there and meet and talk to them was great. Hmong people come from a very strict background, family
and culture. Sometimes they don’t have the opportunity to go for their dreams and for an education. To see them succeed was great because
you can’t just rebel against the culture and just do what you want to achieve. They motivated me. If they could do it, I could do it too.”
Vang has decided on a career, dentistry, that he feels will serve a community purpose while also allowing him to pursue a career that he is
interested in. Vang wants to provide a service to others, similar to his weekend job at a shoe store, where he makes people feel better.
“It’s a good profession, but I can also help family,” Vang said. “I don’t want to do something just because it’s interesting. I want to do it
because I want to help others too. I want to help my family and my friends and people in general. It relates to my job right now because I work
with feet a lot. People are always coming in with problems, so I want to give them the best shoe that can get rid of that problem. Knowing that I
can help them makes me happy inside. It makes me enjoy my job a lot more. There are days when I will come in feeling cranky. But once I see
the smile on my customer’s face, it makes me happier. I want to receive that same feeling with dentistry. I want to help people and make sure
they are happy. I want to see their teeth smiling and all of that stuff.”
And it was the Asian Youth Career & College Fair that gave him direction to pursue his dreams.
“It actually made everything a lot easier,” Vang said. “I went to the college tables and they gave me some information on what programs were
offered and how the system works. I have chosen only two colleges from all of them, UW-Milwaukee and Madison College. From there, I heard
about the Liberal Arts Transfer Program. I thought, ‘If I can save a lot more money here at Madison College, I might as well do that.’ So I took
the Madison College route. I will transfer to UW-Milwaukee. I wanted to go to Milwaukee, so I thought if I started here at Madison College,
which I was introduced to at the college fair, I could go straight to UW-Milwaukee after that. I think the college fair had a huge impact on my
decision on what college to go to. It’s a way for me to save money financially for my family and for myself too.”
The Asian Youth Career & College Fair is designed to allow students like Vang to figure out higher education and in his case, serve as a role
model for the students coming after him.
“This annual fair is open to all high school students in the district and the purpose is to demonstrate that higher education is attainable,” said
Katie Ackley, the Madison College staff working on the fair. “The students spend a day at the College and hear from staff and community
presenters. The students have the opportunity to participate in various high demand career workshops as well as attend a college and career
fair. This year, the keynote speaker will be Jenifer Edgoodse, a family physician in the department of family medicine and community health at
the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. This fair is sponsored by Madison College, Student Life along with
Vang feels the fair is a must for Asian high school students.
“I encourage the students to definitely come just to see different people, meet different people and get a perspective on different careers, fields
and colleges to inspire you to live the dream that you always wanted even though there may be stereotypes that are weighing on you,” Vang
said. “I encourage all Asian youth to come and check it out. Besides that, it’s also a whole day out of school. Why not? Right? And it’s free food.
Spoken like a true college — and former high school — student.
By Jonathan Gramling
Adam Vang, a second-year student at Madison College from DeForest, has a lot riding on
his college career. Although he has had some cousins who have gone to college, he is
the oldest sibling in his family and would be the first to graduate from college. And while
Vang wants to pursue a career that he is passionate about, he must also receive some
level of approval from his immediate family and he also feels that it should be something
that will help the Hmong community and others.
Some of the younger Asian students feel pulled in several directions.
“A lot of my friends are Asian now,” Vang said. “They have the stereotypic idea that
Asians become doctors and lawyers. My friend’s family always expected him to become
a doctor. And then to be a graphic designer goes against the expectations of the family.
He went away from that stereotype stuff and he didn’t want to graphic designing because
of his family. But eventually, the advisors told him, ‘Be who you are. Stick with what you
want to do.’ Eventually he majored in graphic designing and I am proud of him.”
Madison College and Edgewood College are sponsoring the Sixth Annual Asian Youth
Career & College fair on April 22nd at Madison College. In Vang’s view, it is a great
opportunity for Asian students to explore careers and begin to work through some of the
issues or factors they need to consider while thinking about their futures.
“I went to the fair at Edgewood College,” Vang said about his own experience with the
fair. “DeForest was all Caucasians and you don’t see Hmong role models. You come here