University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Chong Yang (2010)

My First Generation Story

Being a traditional Hmong student, I didn’t really have the opportunity to attend college far from home. I’m the only one living with my mother now, so I have to stay with her and help her alongside being a full-time student and part-time worker.

Despite these added challenges, UW-La Crosse has helped me extremely with making my college life simpler. I was part of the Academic Success Institute program last summer. ASI allowed me to get a head start on my college credits plus it also allowed me to make connections with other services on campus, such as Student Support Services, Office of Multicultural Student Services, and Campus Climate. The university is filled with wonderful people and opportunities to feel comfortable. There are many welcoming campus organizations with awesome advisers that you can join. The organizations make you feel like family. I belong to Hmong Organization Promoting Education. Living 20 minutes off campus, I love the many services our Diversity Center offers. Instead of wandering around campus until my next class, I have a welcoming place to stay where I feel comfortable. I have heard that not many universities offer their students everything UW-La Crosse has.
Being the first one in my family to go to college means I’m a role model for all the younger children in the family and the hope of my elders. I have to try my best in achieving an education because I want to set a good example for the younger children. I want to show them that although their parents didn’t go to school, they can make it—if only they have the determination. For my mother, I just want her to have pride in me. She never had the opportunity to go to school or to boast about [education of] any of my other siblings, since they didn’t continue their education. Whenever she’s invited to any of my academic achievement events, I can always see a sparkle of happiness and pride. My goal in life is to be happy and successful in everything I do. So far, I’m not quite sure what it is, but I know that eventually I will figure it out. You just have to have faith in yourself.

About the Student

FGV: Chong Yang

I was born in California, but grew up in Oshkosh and Onalaska, Wis. I have always had a huge interest in school, which I attribute to my elementary school educators. They were always so encouraging and optimistic. I grew up in a big family where my parents didn’t know how to speak, read or write English. That made it more challenging in school. I became a Hmong-English translator when I was 7 and knew right away I had to fend for myself when it comes to my education.

Student Stats

Name: Chong Yang (2010)
Age: 18
Year in School: Freshman
Major: Undecided
Favorite Course: Philosophy 101
Dream Job: Unsure; Something to help others directly

About the School

FGV: Univ of Wisconsin LaCrosse

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse was founded in 1909 as the La Crosse Normal School. Today, it is one of the 13 four-year campuses in the University of Wisconsin System. Originally known for its nationally recognized physical education program, UW-La Crosse now offers 85 undergraduate programs in 30 disciplines, and 21 graduate programs and emphases in eight disciplines.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662