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St. Scholastica names 2021 Student Leadership Award winner

Pa Chang Vang

Pa Chang Vang

TRIO McNair Scholar Pa Chang Vang has won the 2021 Student Leadership Award. This award honors a graduating student for academic, co-curricular and values-based leadership efforts on campus. 

Vang, a psychology major, was described by her nominators as a humble and determined student leader.

During her time at St. Scholastica, Vang completed a year-long research project focused on the resilience and emotional intelligence of first-generation and non-first-generation students. Building upon this initial project, she also completed a ten-week intensive fellowship through the University of Minnesota investigating the cognitive neuroscience of decision-making and emotional differentiation. Vang described these academic contributions as collaborative and rewarding.

"I am thankful to my peers for teaching me how to lead with my own sense of style and to the faculty I've worked with for challenging me to break out of my comfort zone," she said.

Vang was active in the Asian Student Union, serving as both vice president and treasurer for the club. She built community by serving as a residential advisor in Somers Hall, mentoring first-year students, hosting "family dinners" and providing academic support. She also worked as a TRIO Student Support Services tutor and had the opportunity to connect specifically with fellow first-generation students.

Social justice inspired Vang to consider how she could mentor and guide her peers to succeed, while also learning from them along the way. Vang participated as a mentor for both the Multicultural Leadership and Discover Duluth programs, and completed the Shoot for the Stars internship, planning and executing different teaching strategies with students at Lincoln Park Middle School.

Most recently, Vang has spent time volunteering at the Benedictine Health Center and building relationships with the residents, a meaningful step in her journey to becoming an occupational therapist. 

For four years, Vang's love of learning has motivated her to consider how small things can create a big impact on the community. 

"The people, professors and faculty I met and worked with have had an equally significant impact on the trajectory of my college career," she shared. "This achievement is the result of the amazing experiences I've shared and gained from the St. Scholastica community."

St. Scholastica is a 109-year-old private, independent college founded in the Catholic Benedictine tradition. It is nationally recognized for quality and value. It has been named the top Minnesota college for economic mobility, and U.S. News & World Report includes it on its Best National Universities and Top Performers on Social Mobility lists. The College is ranked on Money magazine's "Best Colleges for your Money" list, Princeton Review's 2020 list of Best Midwestern Colleges, and Forbes' Top Colleges list. The Center for First-Generation Student Success has named St. Scholastica one of the top 80 colleges in the country for commitment to first-generation students. Learn more at css.edu.