Shaping Tomorrow: Julie Vang

Julie Vang

Every year nearly 15,000 students graduate from the University of Minnesota and embark on the next step in their journey. This spring, the Class of 2016 begins to make its mark.

U alumni include founders and presidents of Fortune 500 companies, visionary artists and authors, 55 members of congress (plus 19 governors and two U.S. vice presidents), and thousands more working to make a difference every day.

Who will the Class of 2016 become?

Julie Vang

Family Social Science
College of Education and Human Development

Julie Vang will be the first of her 11 siblings to graduate from college. Not only that, but she will graduate with distinction as a U of M Community Engaged Scholar, an award that recognizes her contributions as a leader of a Hmong women's group. She was drawn to her path by participating in TRIO's McNair Scholars program as well as TRIO Student Support Services, which serves first-generation, low-income students, students with disabilities, and students for whom English is not their first language.

What is the biggest challenge you'd like to address?
The most important investment in our society is education and equity to ensure economic wellbeing for students to thrive. … I hope to someday find solutions to provide pathways for quality higher education and academic success, particularly for underserved and underrepresented students.

How do you see yourself having an impact on the world?
By my authentic positive enthusiasm for life! [I try to] cultivate a culture where "all can lead" because of my commitment to others and the justice of equality.

How has your education helped to prepare you?
The U of M has given me a voice that I wasn't able to channel before. Now, I am able to speak confidently and voice my opinions, yet give others the platform to find their voices as well.

Did anything about college surprise you?
Living independently at college all my four years made me realize how much I love, admire, and care for my parents.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities