College of Education and Human Development wordmark.

McNair Scholar 2016Chria Vang

Chria Vang is a senior attending the University of Minnesota with an interdisciplinary degree in youth, holistic health and healing, and leadership studies. Her research interests include positive youth development, education, and Somali, Latino, and Hmong communities. Ms. Vang plans to obtain her master’s degree and Ph.D. and live abroad.

Chria Vang photo
My dream is to leave this world better than how I found it. Changing the world starts with changing myself.

Research project

Parent feedback on a parent participatory action research

Abstract: Research has identified the impact that parent involvement in school can have on students’ academic achievement, yet traditional parent involvement can feel like a privilege domain. This study aimed to draft a parent participatory action research (PPAR) curriculum and to get feedback from four parents who self-identified as Somali, Latino, Hmong and African American/other African Heritage. PPAR is part of a larger study aimed to promote school connectedness for Somali, Latino, Hmong and African American/other African Heritage youth called Project TRUST II. Themes that emerged from the pilot interviews are: (1) appeal to parent audience with varying educational levels, (2) ideas for content delivery, (3) adjustment to content material, and (4) logistical matters. Preliminary findings suggest high parent interest with the only concerns being time management. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Michele L. Allen, MD, MS, is an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Investigator in the Program in Health Disparities Research at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on community-based participatory approaches to develop and implement health promotion and substance use prevention interventions for immigrant adolescents and their families. She has been PI of multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, ClearWay MN, and other institutions. She spends her clinical career caring for immigrant and underserved families and currently practices at the Community University Health Care Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Luis E. Ortega, M.Ed, has over 30 years of experience in the public school arena as a bilingual teacher and administrator. His educational experience started in New York City working in Spanish Harlem as part of his student teaching experience. He spent 12 years in St. Paul Public Schools teaching Hispanic students. Completion of his administrative internship led him to assistant principal with Minneapolis Public Schools for 18 years. He is a past board member of West Side Community Health Services, Inc. (West Side) and founding member and Community Researcher with West Side’s SoLaHmo Partnership for Health and Wellness. Mr. Ortega currently works as Community Principal Investigator on SoLaHmo’s Project TRUST, a school-based research partnership.

Shannon Pergament, MPH, MSW, is a founding member of the Somali, Latino and Hmong Partnership for Health and Wellness (SoLaHmo), a community driven translational research program of West Side Community Health Services, Inc. (West Side). Shannon has been at West Side since 2008, where she is Co-Director of Community Based Research. She holds Master’s degrees in Public Health and Social Work from the University of Minnesota. During the last 21 years Shannon has worked in the area of health equity, building collaborations with ethnically diverse communities to promote community and cultural assets and reduce health disparities through community based participatory action research (CBPAR), health education and policy.