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The College of St. Scholastica
Pa Chang Vang standing by Tower Hall on the St. Scholastica campus.

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.”