Soua

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, degree in Computer Science

“Logan doesn’t have a lot of Asian Americans who are confident to seek out people when they need help. Mr. Lam makes it a point to reach out to us to make sure we talk to people and become more comfortable in our environment.”

The youngest in his family, Soua immigrated with his parents and sisters and brothers to the United States from Thailand when he was 5 years old.  He said it was a frightening and confusing time for him and for his parents because of the language barriers and because they didn’t know anyone in La Crosse.

He learned about the Future Center through his older siblings who had gone to the Future Center for help themselves. “I also had Mr. Lam as a soccer coach throughout my high school years. From this, I asked him about his job helping high school students to enroll in college and providing the information they needed.”

Soua joined the AVID program and Upward Bound to get additional college-planning assistance. The Future Center advisor also worked closely with the AVID students. “This gave all of the students even more time to get more information by going on college visits and finishing their college applications ahead of time and their scholarship applications as well.”

Soua respects the fact that Mr. Lam knows the Hmong students at Logan and that he reminds them when they need to start a task or finish something.

“He always would urge us to get out and connect with people. As a freshman in high school, I felt I wasn’t prepared.  It was difficult for me because I am a shy person. I believe that I gained better communication skills because of his encouragement.  Logan doesn’t have a lot of Asian Americans who are confident to seek out people when they need help. Mr. Lam makes it a point to reach out to us to make sure we talk to people and become more comfortable in our environment.”

After solidifying his career plans inspired by a class in Computer Application and Web Design, Soua worked with Mr. Lam to find the right college and the right major. Soua got accepted into the Academic Success Institute at UWL where he will take classes during the summer, earning eight college credits before he begins the fall term.

Soua feels he is prepared for college because of all of the support he received from The Future Center though he does still worry about the financial part.  His advisor made sure he finished the FAFSA and applied for scholarships. Soua is proud to report that he received the Logan Reader Scholarship and the Logan Opportunity Scholarship.

“The Future Center helps me and other students stay focused on what we need to achieve to get us to the next level. I would like younger students to stay on task and come to the Future Center for applications and job information. They should take advantage of the Center and visit with the advisor as soon as possible.”

As he gets ready to take this next big step in his life, he says he is excited to move on, continue his education and see how the “real world” works.

“My life has changed a lot – my experience of going from poverty to now going to college.  I saw how hard my parents work to pay for my expenses and I want to make my family proud.  I want to be an inventor, using technology.  I want to help in the community because I want to pay back the people who helped me throughout my life when I first came to America.

“I would maybe come back to this high school and to the college I attended and support them. Maybe I would even become one of the speakers that came here to talk about how important an education is.”