Paj Ntaub was born in Thailand and came to the United States in 1989 when she was 2 years old. Although she has been in the U.S. for most of her life, she still has a very traditional Hmong family. There are 14 people in her family and she is the 3rd oldest child and the oldest daughter. She graduated from Johnson Senior High School in St. Paul and never thought that she would go to college. She did not even know what college was. As a result of her family responsibilities and the belief that Hmong girls were not allowed to leave the home, college was initially not on her list of possible options after high school. However, Paj Ntaub was extremely lucky to have two special family friends/sponsors (who had helped her family when they came to America) to guide her through the college application process. After applying early, visiting, and setting up an interview, she got accepted to St. Olaf College.
Currently, Paj Ntaub works at Humboldt High School teaching Hmong culture, literacy, art, and dance for the after-school 21st Century Program. This is her second year teaching Hmong and she absolutely loves it. Her involvement with Upward Bound has influenced her career choice, as she would like to go to Hamline University either next spring or fall to get her master’s degree in Education and ESL licensure. Someday she hopes to get her PhD so she can teach Hmong or possibly do research on Hmong people. Through the Upward Bound Mentoring Program, she helped assist her mentee with educational and career advice. She hopes she has set an example for her mentee by emphasizing the importance of education.Paj Ntaub graduated from St. Olaf College in 2009 with a double major in Asian Studies and American Racial Multicultural Studies (ARMS). She was extremely fortunate to have taken a number of education courses at St. Olaf and to have participated in the study abroad program.
She has been to Japan, China (twice), Thailand, Vietnam and Hawaii. Through her involvement with the Upward Bound program and the Educational Talent Search Mentoring Program, she found that she loves to work with people, especially students. Paj Ntaub tutored for Upward Bound her sophomore year and ended up working as a residential staff member for the program that following summer. She loved working for Upward Bound because she had a chance to develop relationships with students from so many different cultures and backgrounds. Although she was not able to come back her following summer, she was still involved with the program throughout her time in college and after she graduated. Working for Upward Bound, in her words, made her a “better and stronger person.”