St. Paul, Minn. (Dec. 31, 2015) — Pa Houa Her, of Oakdale, is recognized as an Outstanding Student for the fall 2015 semester at Metropolitan State University. She was named along with eight other students who were recognized at the fall commencement exercise Dec. 15 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul.
Her is a first-generation Hmong who says it is a “dream” fulfilled to become the first in her family to obtain a college degree. The early childhood major — who received two Metropolitan State scholarships, the Forrest W. King Endowed Textbook Scholarship and another one from the School of Urban Education — has long been active in the community.
Her was a classroom volunteer for two Saint Paul schools, including Jackson Preparatory Magnet School in Saint Paul, where she also student-taught. Additionally, Her was a home literacy instructor and an after-school tutor for two other Saint Paul schools.
As part of her community service associated with being selected first runner-up in the 2005 Miss Hmong Minnesota Pageant, she tutored Hmong children and served as a social and health services “navigator” for Hmong families in need. Some of her paid positions also aided the community, including serving as a teaching assistant, an after-school Hmong literacy instructor, and Hmong dance teacher.
Her graduated in 2008 from Century College with an associate of arts degree and was a member of that school’s Education Club and the Asian Student Association. Future plans for the mother of two — who was born in a Thailand refugee camp but moved to the United States when she was four — include obtaining a teacher’s license and fulfilling another dream — instructing urban children.
The other honored students are Heidi Anderson-Ferdinand of Fridley, College of Arts and Sciences; Kyle Cold of Stacy, College of Individualized Studies; Brian David Klein of Maple Grove, College of Management (COM) undergraduate; Vladimir Litvinov of Prior Lake, School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice undergraduate; Agnieszka Longtine of Zimmerman, College of Health, Community and Professional Studies; Julie McGary of Hudson, Wisconsin, School of Nursing (SON) undergraduate; Jonathan Popko of Saint Paul, SON graduate; and Chad Struss of Cambridge, COM graduate.
Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, is America’s premier university for lifelong learning, providing unsurpassed, competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels while maintaining affordability.