Leaders A’Hmong Us: United Hmong American Association (UHAA), and Fox Valley Technical College invited hundreds of local Hmong students to enjoy culturally relevant resources around leadership, higher education, career development and mental health while celebrating their heritage, thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation. Photos by Viseth Moua, Vsay Designs
By Bo Huguet, United Hmong American Association
The purpose of the Leaders A’Hmong Us conference is to bring a community of resources to one place and provide Hmong students and families an opportunity to engage in rich content in education, leadership, and arts and culture.
On Friday March 15 UHAA and Fox Valley Technical College bussed close to 200 students from Oshkosh, Menasha and Appleton school districts to attend session speakers focusing on STEM topics such as forensic science, engineering and technology. The session led by Women in Technologies was quite popular and many young women were inspired!
Break-out sessions were organized in both lecture style as well as interactive hands-on sessions, including a packaging engineering challenge lead by Bemis Company, whose instructors helped students experience the process of engineering a package.
In addition to participating in break-out sessions, students also had the opportunity to meet and converse with corporate human resource representatives and colleges to learn more about post-high school education and career choices.
Needless to say, the students had a fun-filled day where they learned a lot from Hmong professionals about their journey to success as well as local corporations and colleges.
Saturday’s sessions were rich with topics like spiritual healing, proper cultural etiquette, history of leadership in the Hmong community, and how the culture addresses mental health.
We had a lunchtime leadership panel led by Pa Lee Moua, Appleton Area School District’s diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, with highly respected and successful figures in the Hmong community including Judge Kristy Yang from Milwaukee, Alderperson Mary Thao from Wausau, and our very own Dr. Thai Xiong, AASD director of STEM.
Both days was exceptionally well attended with returning attendees as well as new people who have just learned of UHAA. Regardless, we had so much positive feedback and felt this event inspired and connected many people. The event wrapped up with dinner and a banquet room full of sponsors, scholarship recipients and families, and partners to award scholarships. This is the first year UHAA has raised enough to award 10 scholarships to graduating seniors and current college students, and we are very happy to be able to help additional deserving students.
The outcome of this great first-of-a-kind event wouldn’t be possible without many supporters which includes Fox Valley Technical College, Ducommun Inc., Menasha Corporation, Bemis Company, Creative Results, Big Pot & Grill, McCain Foods, Oshkosh Truck Corporation, and The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region as well as many individual contributors. The successful outcome of this conference has inspired UHAA to do more great things with more collaboration and partners next year!
You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.