AAP staff report
FULLERTON, Calif. — California State University-Fullerton recently named Dr. Ketmani Kouanchao, Ed.D., as one of its Honor An Educator Scholarship recipients to continue her studies in community college leadership.
A reception is planned to recognize scholarship recipients and their donors during their Annual Autumn Awards program scheduled for October 2012.
Dr. Kouanchao currently serves as Director of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, and Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education programs at Mt. San Jacinto Community College in San Jacinto, Calif. For the past 16 years, she has specialized in the recruitment, retention and matriculation of at-risk, low-income historically underserved students.
Kouanchao is recognized in part for her EOPS/CARE work and also for speaking on cross-cultural issues and the role of women in leadership development. She is an advocate for the inclusion of communities of color, and is known for her passion encouraging academic and lifelong success through well-developed student support programs.
The Honor An Educator Scholarship was established by donors connected to CSU-Fullerton. The goal is to appreciate educators who make a difference in the lives of others, inspiring those who receive these scholarship to similar levels of excellence.
“Knowing I earned the committee’s faith and trust in my journey as an educator is meaningful to my family and I, but also to our community,” said Kouanchao while thanking her supporters. “I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart and will do all I can to uphold this honor and the wonderful intentions with which it was presented.”
Born in the city of Savannakhet, Laos, Kouanchao was raised in Minneapolis by her parents and four siblings. Her essay spoke of her family’s experience as refugees. With the disruptions of war, Kouanchao wrote that her mother “could not be the teacher she was meant to be, but she never turned her back on education and its infinite potential for us.”
This included moving the family close to the University of Minnesota campus so that she and her siblings could see college as a part of their future. Her mother embedded a sense of potential that was realized with a commitment to learning and community service.
That was a big step for a family just removed from the war for Laos, where they lived in one of the most heavily bombed provinces. More than 400,000 refugees from Laos were displaced all around the world by the conflict.
Kouanchao’s future studies will likely examine the challenges particular to young women who are the first in their families to attend college.