Local Upward Bound alumni receives state TRIO award
Dao Chang, a 2003 graduate of UW-Manitowoc/UW-Sheboygan Upward Bound program and Two Rivers High School, has been honored by the Wisconsin Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (WAEOPP) with the 2011 TRiO Achiever Award. Chang was honored at the WAEOPP annual Spring Conference in Wisconsin Dells, WI April 18-20, 2011.
WAEOPP is an association of persons who have an active interest in or who are professionally involved in broadening accessibility to and ensure success in formal postsecondary education.
Chang, now 22, received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Film from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and went on to write and direct the documentary film, “My Way Home.” The autobiographical film features a young Hmong-American woman (Chang) and her journey back to Laos.
“My Way Home” chronicles Chang’s journey to reconnect with her past. Born in the jungles of Laos but raised in the United States, she wants to make movies about her Hmong culture but she doesn’t know much about the Hmong experience, the war that changed her family’s destiny, or her mother, who died in a refugee camp. Chang, the main character, turns to her father, but he is reluctant to talk about the past. Desperate for answers, Chang travels to Laos to search for a long lost aunt and finds far from what she expected.
The film was produced by docUWM, a documentary media center at UW-Milwaukee. Chang’s “My Way Home” also has been honored with the Golden Badger Award for Student Filmmaking at the 2010 Wisconsin Film Festival. This film has been shown on Wisconsin Public Television, PBS Director’s Cut, the Milwaukee Film Festival, and to the Manitowoc/Two Rivers community and Upward Bound students.
According to Candy Lemire, UW-Sheboygan/UW-Manitowoc Upward Bound Director, Chang exemplifies the mission of the Upward Bound program.
“Dao is an amazing young woman. In Upward Bound, we are not only preparing our students for success in high school, but also for success in college and give them the skills to be a leader in their own fields,” Lemire said. “Dao is just that – confident, poised and intelligent. The UW Colleges Upward Bound program is proud to count her as a graduate of the program, and we wish her continued success.”
According to Chang, traveling to Laos has provided her with a greater understanding of what her family went through as refugees in the United States.
Upward Bound is a federally funded TRiO program that helps high school students successfully complete high school and prepares them for college. Candidates are high school students who possess the skills necessary to attend college and pursue a professional career, but need guidance and inspiration to achieve their goals. Students who enroll in the program must be a first-generation college student or meet income guidelines.
To learn more about Chang’s story and “My Way Home, please visit http://www.mywayhomefilm.com/.