Community Liaison/Program Developer, Eau Claire Area Hmong Association
TCC Degree: Liberal Arts
Michelle became the first graduate at Tulsa Community College to earn a Liberal Arts degree with an emphasis in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. In fact, her experiences at TCC altered the course of her future because she says faculty and staff, especially those in the Honors program, saw her potential before she did.
“They transformed my perspective from one of passive learner to actively seeking greater knowledge and experience,” she said. “My TCC experience helped me recognize that I not only had ideas worth pursuing for my own advancement, but that I could make valuable contributions in any arena of my choosing.”
Recognizing her instructors’ confidence led to Michelle applying for and being awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, the largest private scholarship in the nation for community college transfer students. “My success in each of my volunteer and research experiences, my bachelor’s degree, and now my plans to apply to dual J.D./Ph.D. programs in Justice Studies can be directly attributed to the excellent education I received at TCC,” she said.
Michelle has made a lasting impact on the community by helping develop and implement a pilot peer-to-peer mediation program for local elementary students for the purpose of reducing suspensions and expulsions, and through her work with Every Campus A Refuge. In fact, after collaborating to develop a study to improve Every Campus a Refuge and collect data about the model, she helped present that research at the United Nations as part of an international refugee initiative, as well as at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity.
Michelle has studied in Israel and Palestine examining the conflicting narratives and partnering with those who are working towards peace in the region. She has also worked in Rwanda with organizations practicing peace initiatives in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.