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McNair Scholar 2015Julie Vang

Julie Vang is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in family social science with a minor in Asian American studies. Her research interests include cultural identity, community engagement, understanding family dynamics, and diverse and social justice issues. During her spring semester of 2015, Ms. Vang studied abroad in Kenya to broaden her global competency. She plans to attain her master's degree and Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs.

Julie Vang photo
My dream is to receive a Ph.D. in higher education and work at an institution in which is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive campus community. I hope to use my life experiences and leadership skills to help students pursue in their education, life, and career goals.

Research project

Do They Think Alike? Immigrant First-Generation Students' Decisions and Parents' Preferences for College Major and Career

Abstract: Primary literature focuses on the uniqueness and challenges of first-generation college students, but more recently, research has emphasized additional challenges college students face when they are both first-generation and immigrants. The purpose of this study was to understand the complex experiences of immigrant first-generation college students and their parents in regard to college major and career. Parents play a significant role in students’ educational processes. Therefore, this study examined how family support factors into the students’ major and career decision-making. Participants in this study were three students and one of their parents. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews and coded using thematic analysis to identify emerging themes across students, parents, and student-parent dyads. Four primary themes were found: students’ desire to help people in their chosen careers; parents’ desire for career choices that provided status and financial security; parents’ desire for their children to maintain cultural roots; and students’ and parents’ understanding of family support. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Catherine Solheim is a faculty member in the Department of Family Social Science. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on personal and family finance, family theory, and global family systems. She has co-led four learning abroad courses to Thailand, focusing on families, health, and globalization impacts on family, culture and environment. Solheim's scholarship focuses on family resource management and the ways that culture and socio-economic status impact the diverse ways families make decisions about and manage scarce financial resources. Her current research explores the intersections of mental health and economic transitions of newly arriving refugee families.

Veronica Deenanath is a doctoral student in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She holds an M.A. in family social science and her thesis was titled, “First-Generation Immigrant College Students: An Exploration of Family Support and Career Aspirations.” Deenanath’s research interest focuses on first-generation college students, immigrant families, financial capability, and money management. Ms. Deenanath is a 2010 McNair Scholar's alumni.