UW-Fox Valley Logo

Student Spotlight

Tommy Yang

Tommy Yang

“UWFox opened the doors to many great opportunities for me.  During my year at UWFox I met a diverse group of peers and made many friends.”

Age: 18

Hometown: Providence, RI

Current residence: Appleton, WI

When attended UWFox: Fall 2012-Spring 2013

Background before UWFox:

I attended Appleton West High School and graduated in 2012. During my high school years, I held my first job as a cashier at Rocky Rococo at the Fox River Mall. It was a big accomplishment back then for me, being the oldest son in my family to get a job.  In high school I wasn’t really active as a student. In the Fall of 2011, the start of my senior year, I decided to join a drama troupe called Zero Tolerance. I’ve always believed in the movement to prevent bullying, harassment, abuse, and discrimination. By joining Zero Tolerance I have the power to spread the awareness and together as a group prevent future problems. From there, I started to branch out and take on more opportunities in the community. It was what molded me to who I am as a volunteer.

Why did you choose UWFox?

Being a first generation Hmong student who is trying to get a good education is hard. During the last months of my senior year in high school, I found out that I wasn’t able to afford a college education due to family problems. It felt like my future was crushed, I had no hope. Luckily, I found out about UWFox and started to contact Carla Rabe, UWFox assistant dean for Student Affairs.  From there, the UWFox faculty and staff helped me immensely in becoming a student at the campus.

Have you chosen a major?

I want to become an architect.

What are you learning that you find interesting and rewarding at UWFox?

UWFox opened the doors to many great opportunities for me.  During my year at UWFox I met a diverse group of peers and made many friends. A friend, Joan Mariahazy, usually jokes that whenever she sees me, there will always be peers waving hi at me. The campus also holds a welcoming environment for everyone.  An interesting benefit of attending UWFox is the connection I was able to have with my professors. I can get an easy access to all of my professors when I need help with my academics and even discuss about my future plans with them.

What are your career plans after UWFox?

I plan to transfer to UW-Milwaukee after UWFox to continue pursuing in my architecture degree. I want to reach back to the community, not just by designing buildings, but helping those who are in sorrow. I want to provide community members who have been ripped from their opportunities to live in clean and loving environments. After getting my Doctor of Philosophy  (Ph.D.) in Architecture, my objective is to establish a career in an architectural firm that challenges my skills and provides s me with the opportunities to gain the trust of my colleagues and clients through hard work.

Other interesting things you’d like to share?

I teach at the Appleton Boys and Girls Club with choreography and am a founder of a Hmong youth empowerment group called HYPE. I’m also involved with many groups on the UWFox campus, such as Gay Straight Alliance and Multicultural Club. Being the person who I am, I hope by volunteering and mentoring tha I can touch the hearts of those whom I work with. Maybe one day they will feel the same, and do the same. I want to bring my visions wherever I go, and help the community to become more enjoyable and educational.


More Spotlight Stories