Student Spotlight: Pa Thao

International Business Major encourages new students to "keep on trying no matter how hard it may be."
By UW-Sheboygan

UW-Sheboygan’s student spotlight for the month of November is on Pa Thao, a native of Thailand who immigrated to Sheboygan 12 years ago. She plans to complete an associate degree at UW-Sheboygan and then transfer to UW-Whitewater to complete a bachelor’s degree in international business. Pa has discovered that some college courses can be challenging and her determination is inspiring. Her advice to incoming students, “Keep on trying no matter how hard it may be. If you still fail, don’t let it put you down. Let it be your motivation to improve.” 

Pa ThaoThis monthly feature highlights a student’s academic achievement and provides the community with an inside look into campus life and a greater understanding of the diverse profiles and experiences of our students.

Name: Pa Thao
Age: 20
Hometown: Sheboygan, WI
Major: International Business
Career Goal: My career goal is to get my master’s degree in Business
High School: Sheboygan South High School, 2015

Why did you choose UW-Sheboygan? I chose UW-Sheboygan because I believed that a small university like UW-Sheboygan will give me a start and at the same time, it’s close to home, too.  After taking a couple of courses here, I originally planned to transfer to a 4-year university. After many thoughts and experience here, however, I decided to stay and complete an Associate Degree before transferring.

Outside of being a college student, what takes up your free time? In the past years, I had been
involved with the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association. I helped them run the Fashion Show as a performer and fashion coordinator for the Hmong New Year event.  I’m currently enrolled full time in college and working part-time. I recently became involved in the Phi Theta Kappa club on campus. How I got involved in the club started from the emails – the club kept emailing me to join and I thought it was just a spam. That is, until I received an email from Professor Alise Coen, who encouraged me to join. I then decided to join and am looking forward to what this membership will bring.  

What is your favorite class?  My favorite class was BIO 101. I took this course last fall and it was a difficult course because you had to memorize a lot of information and understand the concepts in order to pass the exams. When the exams came, I had a lot to study. This course is not the only course that I’m taking, that I would have all day to study. I had to stay up all night every single time when exams came, which I have never done before in my life. What I learned from this course was to not give up studying and trying. As I told myself, “No matter what the outcomes may be, you will regret that you should’ve studied harder,” through the night. This has led me to improve my exam scores by a letter grade each time. I did not ask the Professor for any help because I knew if I read and studied all the materials, then I would improve my grades and get the grade that I wanted, which I successfully did.

Additional info:  My experience in Thailand was much different from the United States and I am blessed to be here. This country has given me the opportunity to be educated. Most importantly, it has given me hope for a better future - where I have big dreams that I desperately want to accomplish. One of them is to open my own business with my own fashion designs after college. There are many reasons why I chose to continue college and the top one is because our Hmong leader who passed away, desired us to be educated and be a good model for the Hmong community. We have sacrificed our blood through the Vietnam War and had to leave everything behind. I truly admired him. So, I decided to put education as my top priority in life and hoping I will accomplish what I have dreamed for.



Sue Bausch, Regional Director of Communications