December 6, 2002
Nou Ka Yang Named UW-RF Woman of Color for 2002
By Karyn Nelson
UW-RF News Bureau
Nou Ka Yang, a senior from St. Paul majoring in fine arts at UW-River Falls, was recently honored with the Women of Color 2002 award for her contributions to the campus and the community.
Yang was one of 16 women who received the award at the eighth Annual Women of Color Award Ceremony held Nov. 2 at the University of Wisconsin System Women's Studies Conference at UW-Madison. Each award recipient represented a campus in the UW System.
Nominators from UW-RF noted that Yang is deeply committed to service and to the advancement of Hmong women. She maintains a high level of academic achievement and currently serves as a member of Asian American Student Association, the Diversity Issues Committee of the Student Senate, African American Alliance, the Native American Council, and the Art Society.
Yang has distinguished herself on campus by participating in a variety of activities including diversity panels and focus groups, presenting cultural programs to elementary school children through the UW-RF Community Action Theatre Troupe, and coordinating numerous events for UW-RF's annual Unity in the Community celebration. She also volunteers at the St. Paul Boys and Girls Club of Mt. Airy as a mentor, advisor, program assistant, leader, and a role model for other teens, as well as volunteering at the Turning Point Shelter for Abused Women.
The nominated added that Yang is dedicated to contributing academically and publicly to family and community issues, including those relevant to Hmong women, educational attainment for marginalized youth, and the promotion of cultural awareness.
Yang is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and has received an Oparh Winfrey Scholarship, a Boys and Girls Club Scholarship as Youth of the Year, the Art Department Faculty/Student Coalition Scholarship, and the Martin Luther King Scholarship.
"I don't feel that what I have done deserves such a grand honor because I gained so much from those experiences," said Yang. "Getting the an award for it is like extra icing on the cake, which is even better than what I have hoped for."
Linda Alvarez, advisor of UW-RF Multicultural Services, said, "Ms. Nou Ya Yang is a noteworthy example of the kind of women of color who choose to study at UW-River Falls. She is a deeply committed individual who finds joy in working with others to promote educational success for marginalized kids in St. Paul, cultural awareness for our campus community, diversity education for our elementary school students and awareness of issues relevant to women and Hmong women in particular. She doesnąt look for praise for herself; she's just concerned with how she can be of service to others."
The Women of Color award was initiated in 1994 to acknowledge the ties and shared concerns among administrators, faculty, staff and students within women's studies and ethnic studies, and to uphold a continuing commitment to the pursuit off educational quality through racial and ethnic diversity.
Each year, one woman of color is selected from each campus in the UW System to be honored for her contributions. The selected individual may be a faculty or staff member, a student, or a member of the community.
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