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Counseling Psychology News

School of Ed Hosts Hmong Parent Day

June 14, 2011

The UW-Madison’s Hmong Research Team hosted a first ever Hmong Parent Day on Saturday, April 9. Parents of UW-Madison Hmong students were invited to tour campus and participate in activities – all presented in the Hmong language – intended to help them feel more comfortable with their children's other home on campus and allow them to feel more comfortable and connected with the University.

The Hmong Research Team, composed of graduate and undergraduate students under the direction of Counseling Psychology Professor Alberta M. Gloria, examined the experience of Hmong undergraduates. The team’s in-depth examination of how the learning and social environment affects the whole student was among the first qualitative studies on the experiences of Hmong undergraduates.

"This was a wonderful event and is the prototype of the activities we need in order to increase the population of minorities on campus and to increase the likelihood that they will persist and graduate," said Counseling Psychology Chair Bruce Wampold.  

The parents were particularly touched by being invited to an activity that involved them and made them proud of their children, Wampold said.

The Team received donations from several campus partners including Parents Program, First-Year Student Experience, Letters and Sciences Career Services, College of Law and the Wisconsin Alumni Association, to create an educational "ntim su" (literally translated as "to pack lunch") for the parents.

Providing a communal gift such as a ntim su is a salient cultural process within the Hmong community. The team put together the gift as a symbol of gratitude, value and appreciation of the parents’ attendance and their efforts in supporting their students' higher education goals, Gloria said.

In a closing activity, Pa Her, the lead student of the team, performed a kwv txhiaj, or sung story poem, in which she thanked the parents for their support of their children’s educational process and praised them for their strength and guidance.

Gloria was proud of the students who worked diligently to coordinate the event.

“The team’s efforts are the translation of research to action and commitment to social justice and strength-based advancement of the Hmong community," she said.

Read a preview story about Hmong Parent Day at http://www.news.wisc.edu/19246

Read more about the Hmong Research Team at http://learningconnections.education.wisc.edu/post/FRONTIERS-Hmong-Student-Study.aspx

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