UW System honored Women of Color winners: Kang Her and Gabriela Theis - Oct 2, 2014 - Office of Multicultural Affairs - UW-Superior News and Events

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UW System honored Women of Color winners: Kang Her and Gabriela Theis

Posted on Oct 2, 2014
Staff member Gabriela Theis and student Kang Her were honored Saturday, Oct. 18 at UW System's Women of Color Award Ceremony at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
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UW-Superior staff member Gabriela Theis (left) and student Kang Her were honored Oct. 18 by UW System at UW-River Falls.  Photo courtesy Ivy Vainio.

UW-Superior staff member Gabriela Theis (left) and student Kang Her were honored Oct. 18 by UW System at UW-River Falls. Photo courtesy Ivy Vainio.

Theis and Her were honored at UW-Superior Oct. 2 for their work in education.  They also represented UW-Superior at the University of Wisconsin System's Women of Color Award Ceremony on October 18 at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Each University of Wisconsin System campus selects one woman to receive this recognition each academic year.

Gabriela Theis:

"I feel humble and honored to be awarded with the Outstanding Woman of Color in Education award! In my life journey, I have had a lot of obstacles including living in extreme poverty, being a first-generation college student, and being an immigrant in the United States. This award will remind me and inspire others with similar experience that there is success after struggles." 

Kang Her

"Receiving the Outstanding Woman of Color in Education award means so much to me and makes me feel like a true leader. I am so honored to be named the 2014 Woman of Color because it inspires me to work even harder to be the best that I can be. In being named, it has also motivated me to keep giving back to my community and keep working on my passion in inspiring the younger generation to pursue a higher education. I will always work hard and strive for the best not only for myself and but others as well."

Gabriela Theis biography, accomplishments

Gabriela Theis was hired as the Multicultural Student Services Specialist to UW-Superior in February 2013. In her role on campus she focuses on student of color recruitment, retention, leadership and academic success, and inclusivity

Theis coordinates the following on-campus programs designed to provide leadership for students of color, and all students:

  • The Mentorship and Leadership Program where current students mentor incoming new freshman and transfer students of color;
  • The Diversity Leadership Retreat, a three-day diversity leadership-building conference targeting all UW-Superior students;
  • Making College Accessible, a pre-college recruitment and awareness program for middle school students of color and their families from the Twin Ports;
  • and the Advancing Minorities in Science Scholars Program, where underrepresented students majoring in the science fields conduct research under the guidance of a faculty member. 

For years, Theis has been active within our surrounding communities as a teacher and Integration Specialist within the Duluth Public Schools where she taught and worked with an estimated 40 students a year helping them to attain academic excellence and positive involvement within the schools and in their communities.

In 2011, Theis co-founded and became the Vice-President and Executive Director to a non-profit organization called "The Metamorphosis Project."  This program was designed with the goal to close the achievement gap within the Duluth Public Schools by creating an afterschool program with a curriculum and activities that started out with a target group of elementary girls.

Gabriela is also the Chair of the Adelante Parents Advisory Committee within the Duluth Public Schools. She is a member of a selected cohort of the National Latino Leadership Academy: Eliminating Barriers to Opportunities, since 2011. As a member, she represents and works towards the highest standard of community service within Minnesota's Latino communities to empower Hispanic individuals into leadership roles and non-profit organizations that help build strong Latino communities.

Theis holds a Master's of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia College, a Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in Spanish Education K - 12 from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from the Technological Institute in Culiacan, Mexico.

She is currently in a doctoral program in Education at Concordia College; her research has been published in a book published by SAGE entitled, "Diversity and Inclusion in Early Years Education: Issues, Perspectives and Practices from the International Experience." Theis also presents at conferences, workshops and in educational classrooms, elementary school to college level, that focus on educational and racial/cultural competency and learning. Two recent presentations included these topics, "Voices of Immigrants: Jumping Borders and Successfully Bridging Across Cultures" and "What Are People in Duluth Doing to Address Race Disparities."

Kang Her biography, accomplishments

Her is currently a Senior majoring in Social Work.  She has worked for the Office of Multicultural Affairs as an Office Assistant/Student Employees Lead in a student employment position for the past three years in a management role.

She has been integral to the coordination of four pre-college mentoring/recruitment programs called "College Student For A Day" throughout the year and has mentored visiting high school students in the program. She is also a student assistant in a work study position within Student Support Services and has worked for a year with the Admissions Office as a Tour Guide. 

Kang strives for excellence in everything that she does.She looks for opportunities that will enhance her academic, leadership, and service learning skills. She completed a research project entitled, "Students of Color at UW-Superior: Impact of Peer Mentoring Program on Retention" within the McNair Scholars Program with guidance from a Social Work faculty member.

She has attended and presented at the 2011, 2013, and 2014 University of Wisconsin-System's American Multicultural Student Leadership Conference (a state-wide conference).

She also presented her own prose entitled, "The Perfect Hmong Daughter-In-Law" at the 31st annual St. Louis County Health & Human Services conference at the DECC in October of 2013.  She also attended the University of Wisconsin-Superior's Diversity Leadership Retreat in January 2011 and was nominated for and accepted into the Leadership Challenge, operated through Campus Life's Student Involvement, which she participated in Spring Semester 2011.

Her has been a great asset to the recruitment and retention of students of color efforts for this campus as she has participated in countless student panels for campus visits organized through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, TRIO Programs, and Admissions.   She has been the past President of the Asian American Student Association and is active within the Hmong community in the Twin Ports and region. 

She has a strong commitment and dedication to working with economically disadvantaged and underrepresented minorities in achieving higher education.  She plans to continue to work with students with education outreach, preparation, and opportunities after she receives her Bachelor's Degree.

Kang is caring, genuine, hardworking, family and education oriented, ethical minded, and is a critical thinker. She is married and a mother of two.

News Contact: Ivy Vaino | 715-394-8415 | yvainio{atuws}
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