Kao Zoua Yang

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

AIME Henry DeWitt Smith Scholarship in 2018

I was born and raised in Eau Claire, WI. Grade school was challenging for me. Even though I was born and raised in the U.S. my parents didn't know English and taught me Hmong from young. Going to school with ESL classes brought me behind on my science and math courses. Even though I was behind I was always interested in engineering. I started out as a computer engineering major at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, however quickly discovered to not enjoy programming to that extent. I was then recommended by my adviser to check out the new major on campus: Materials Science. I fell in love with the major as the director explained to me what Materials Science does. This led me into taking upon this major. I had intended on graduating and pursuing a job afterward, however, my department adviser saw potential and recommend me into the Ronald E. McNair program. This path was what paved the way into graduate level schooling for me. My adviser, now mentor helped with the research preparation process. With the McNair and mentor's help, I was able to attend Florida International University for my master's in Materials Science and Engineering and now as a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. This past year I was also awarded the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship at UWM.