Graduate Update: Pang Vang

This month’s graduate update comes from Pang Vang. Pang began Upward Bound in 2009 and graduated from Central High School in 2012. After graduating from Central, Pang spent her next four years at Augsburg University. Pang graduated in the spring of 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. Currently, Pang is working as an Assistant Resident Director at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. It was great hearing from Pang and I hope you enjoy reading about her life after UB!

At Augsburg, Pang was very active as a college student. Pang joined the TRIO Student Support Services program after finishing her last summer with Upward Bound and remained in the program all four years of college. She was an active member of Augsburg’s Asian Student Association, Pan-Afrikan Student Union, and Muslim Student Association. Pang also served as a co-chair for the Late-Night Programming Activities for Augsburg Student Activities Council.

Although college was busy and challenging in various ways for Pang, she thoroughly enjoyed her time at Augsburg. She stated, “I made a lot of friendships that I still hold dear to my heart until this day and I connected with so many people from so many backgrounds and communities”. When I asked Pang what her best memories of college were, she mentioned studying abroad. “I studied in South Korea during the fall semester of my senior year and it was the best decision I ever made. I was very hesitant to apply for the study abroad program because of a job opportunity, but I knew that if I didn’t, I would have regretted it.Studying abroad was my best memory because I learned a lot about myself as an individual while I was away from home. I grew to be more independent and stronger mentally and emotionally.” Additionally, Pang discussed, “I always pictured college to be difficult when it came to classes and making friends, but I had more support than I thought I would have and I built more relationships than I ever pictured myself to do.

When I asked Pang about her time as a UB student, she said she had so many favorite UB memories, but to name a few, “I really enjoyed doing the research experiments for science class during my PSE year and making a video to present our project. During our research, I contaminated one of the Petri dishes by accidentally putting my finger inside of the dish and my team wasn’t too happy about it, but we had a good laugh out of it. I also really enjoyed “girl’s night” on Thursday nights when we were able to do sleepovers.” When asked about how UB helped her, Pang responded, “UB helped prepare me for college through going on college tours, studying and taking the ACT and the whole process of applying and waiting to hear back from schools. As a first-generation college student, I am so thankful UB was in my life to help me through the entire process of preparing me for college. They also taught me how to call colleges to ask about the status of my application- which I will always remember because I felt so grown-up when I made those calls.

Finally, Pang had some advice to share with our current UB students: “You are much stronger mentally, emotionally, and physically, than you think you really are. You can achieve anything you set your mind to as long as you remember to always be true to yourself and to follow your dreams. No matter what or who tries to stop you, never give up what you started because with each step you have already taken, you are one step closer to your goal.

We would like to give a big thanks to Pang for taking the time in her busy schedule to update us on her life since UB, and we are looking forward to seeing what the future has in store!