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Myla Vang


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I am a junior in high school and a certified nursing assistant looking forward to discovering Minnesota nursing schools. My future goal is to become a nurse practitioner working with adolescents suffering from mental health issues. My disabled brother, Toby, has nonverbal autism. He needs a person to assist him throughout the day constantly. It is my responsibility to care for Toby, protect him, feed him, and clean him. I considered searching for a CNA job at a clinic this summer, but taking care of my own family is where my heart leads me. This summer, I will be Toby's full-time caretaker and volunteer part-time. where I will continue teaching him ASL. I am passionate about learning languages. I know English, Hmong, and I am currently learning American Sign Language. I love getting involved with all cultures, as I am easily able to connect with other people. Another subject I am passionate about is science, particularly chemistry and biology. I am a rock collector. My displays consist of specimens I have foraged, and some I have bought. I also study geology books in my free time, taking notes and highlighting in my books.


Woodbury High School

High School
2021 - 2025


  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Health, Wellness, and Fitness

    • Dream career goals:

      Nurse Practitioner

    • Stylist

      2023 – 20241 year
    • Guest Service

      Washington County Parks
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Building, carpentry, planning

      Tree Trust
      2022 – 2022



    2021 – 20221 year

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Sending Smiles Club — Design cards
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Kidz Club — Para
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      AVID with Open Cupboard — Advertise services, provide assistance to families in need.
      2021 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      Free Bikes 4 Kidz — Repair bikes in warehouse, clean bikes, hand out bikes to families.
      2019 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Open Cupboard — Restock shelves, greet customers, assist the disabled and elderly.
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests





    Simon Strong Scholarship
    Tears formed in his eyes when he held my hand, listening to my unbearable sobbing and screaming. I was out of breath. His death sent my family into a deep depression. An unbearable two weeks passed, and his wife let go of her own suffering. Mom started working herself to death, starting her days at 6 a.m. and ending them at 2 a.m. Auntie tried to take her own life by taking pills. My uncle retreated into his room, hoarding trash and drinking. And me? I couldn't feel anything. I was numb. Every night in my dreams, I see Yawm Txiv. When I see him, we return to our younger years: I was six, wearing pink, poofy dresses to grandma and grandpa's (Tais' and Yawm Txiv's, respectively) house. Yawm Txiv would be wearing his favorite silk, black, and white button-up. Tais would shuffle around our house, peeling her home-grown veggies for me to eat. The smell of their Hmong herbs lingered in and outside the small, blue house. My dreams are complacent until I awaken. Reciting my nostalgic youth is beautiful. On the other hand, knowing I will never experience Tais and Yawm Txiv's presence causes excruciating pain in my stomach. The loss of my guardians, the man and woman who raised me, made me feel anemic. My eating became sporadic; some days I skipped meals, and others I would eat to the point of vomiting. I was only 15, struggling with lists upon lists of diagnoses. For this reason, I started attending therapy and church, attempting to find who I once was. I opened my heart to the Lord, but the churchgoers hurt me. I was blamed for every wrongdoing; they were true devils in the Lord's clothing. I left shortly afterward. Therapy wasn't any good either; I found it hard to talk about my negative emotions because I couldn't even remember my trauma. Despite the failures in attempting to "cure" me, nothing was working. I was constantly numb until the day I snooped around my mother's bathroom. I found makeup. Expired, crusty makeup. I blotted mom's concealer under my baggy, exhausted eyes. The shade didn't quite match; it was much too yellow for my skin tone. Afterwards, I swiped a big, fluffy brush onto a blush palette and applied it to "the apples of my cheeks," smiling while I did so. The dark mauve-colored blush made me look bruised, so I decided to apply a bright pink eyeshadow to cancel it out. My monolids prevented the eyeshadow from showing with a resting face, but the color was magnificent! I drew my head back and made a line with an eyeliner pen. Beautiful. I smiled, wiped off the makeup, and applied it again. Since then, I've been wearing makeup almost every day. Now, I buy my own products. I found that I could use makeup to cope. It made me confident; I felt happy in my own body for the first time. My eating habits started regulating, and I am now at a healthy weight. I also attended a new church, where I, once again, tried to open up my heart to God. The Hmong church I attended was loving. I could cry at the chapel, knowing I would never see my grandparents again in this lifetime. Then, I would cry happily when I realized I would meet them again in the next. The happiness I felt when I sang overcame the sadness and loneliness of my life. My childhood home, Tais and Yawm Txiv's empty house, no longer haunts me. I know now that we will meet again.
    Boun Om Sengsourichanh Legacy Scholarship
    "Researchers reported that diabetes prevalence among Hmong was 11.3% compared to 6% of the non-Hispanic white population," according to the National Library of Medicine. As refugees of the Vietnam War and victims of the chemical "Agent Orange," many elderly Hmong struggle with life-threatening health problems. For example, when my grandpa missed one day of dialysis, he fell unconscious and was sent to the emergency room. He relied on machines to keep him alive. I witnessed the color of his skin desaturate. His hair was unkempt, and his breathing tube was full of phlegm. Tears formed in his eyes when he held my hand, listening to my unbearable sobbing and screaming. His death sent my family into a deep depression.   Eventually, my sorrow inspired me. I earned my CNA license shortly after my grandpa's death. I wanted to honor him by taking care of others like him: people who cannot bathe, eat, or cook. I need to pass on my grandpa's story, and to do so, I will work in clinics and hospitals with families. Hospice care is sad, but honest work. Hmong in hospice care feel especially isolated. Many elders cannot speak English and dislike the food provided at hospitals. As a Hmong woman, I enjoy speaking with elders and learning about their past.   So, who are the Hmong? The Hmong come from the mountains of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, we were forced to run from Vietnamese soldiers. The Hmong men joined the American military, showing soldiers the ways of the land. Women and children hid in caves and crossed the mighty Mekong River, nearly a mile long. Settling in refugee camps was safer than staying in the mountains. We no longer had a home. With only the clothes on our backs, American soldiers led us to their giant cargo planes. In the new land, America, we were never able to live our own lives. English was often a fourth or fifth language for Hmong immigrants, and being shamed for not understanding Americans was frustrating. These are among the many struggles that non-Hmong people would not understand. This is why I am going to pursue a career and lifestyle of taking care of the Hmong elderly.   For now, I will volunteer for Free Bikes 4 Kidz. I've been volunteering with them for over 3 years now, encouraging adolescents to stay in shape. I’ve met many Hmong children while working. My family will often share a prayer with Hmong families. One volunteer opportunity I am particularly excited to start is at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I look forward to working in their trading post, spreading my love for science to children and adults looking to discover specimens of the natural world.   In the future, I plan to attend Gustavus Adolphus College to become a registered nurse. After my graduation, I will join the workforce to gain experience. I expect to discover different working environments that help different ages, races, and situations. When two years pass, I will attend graduate school to pursue a nurse practitioner license. I want to specialize in endocrinology, helping adults with diabetes and women with health issues related to premenstrual dysphoric disorder.   Volunteer work is my passion, and I want my community to thrive. My love for people will benefit others now and in the future. The future of my community will greatly progress through this generation and the next, especially the refugees of war from Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
    Robert and Suzi DeGennaro Scholarship for Disabled Students
    "But you don't look disabled?" Many disabled people recognize this question from their teachers. I do not have a wheelchair or crutches. This is because medical professionals don't help me! I look like I walk normally. At least that's what they see. The question lingers: Am I disabled? Simply put, yes. I was injured at a construction job in 2022. I overworked myself hauling a 6-foot piece of wood down a hill. My left leg seemed to go further into my hip than normal. I didn't realize anything had happened until my shift was over. I walked up my driveway, feeling an ache I had never felt before. That's when I fell over. I writhed in pain, fluctuating up and down from my foot to my mid-back. It felt like wasps were stinging me; I felt I was having an allergic reaction to those supposed wasps because my leg locked up. I lay there for an hour, waiting for the pain to subside. Eventually, I hoisted myself onto a tree stump. I stood up on my right leg—my working leg—and slowly put pressure on the other. Strangely, it seemed fine. I had just overworked myself earlier. It would go away tomorrow, right? This was my first experience with leg pain. Throughout 2022, I only participated in light exercise like walking and biking, which minimally stressed my body. In 2023, however, I started strength training. I enjoyed deadlifting. As I followed my gym routine, my knees awkwardly bent, and a tingling sensation started in my inner thigh. The sensation traveled up my leg and into my hip. I dropped my weights and sat on the floor. Fortunately, the pain wasn't in my lower leg, allowing me to walk to my car and drive home. I told my dad about my experience; I feared this would prevent me from working out more, especially if it worsened. I wanted to see a doctor about my condition. His questions and assumptions poured in. "Did you stretch beforehand?" "Have you tried a foam roller?" "It's because you didn't eat before!" I knew it would take much more convincing to go to the doctor. My mom wasn't so keen on bringing me either. I finally convinced them when I collapsed at school. I wanted to continue my studies, so I had my boyfriend carry me to every class. The stinging pain wasn't present; my leg was only numb. My parents scheduled an appointment at Summit Orthopedics. Summit Orthopedics doctors said I had a torn hip labrum. They assumed I had a pinched sciatic nerve. I had an MRI of my upper and midback, and surprise! Nothing was found. To this day, I still don't understand why they didn't take an MRI of my hip because the sciatic nerve is in the hip and lower back area. I was sent home and prescribed 500 mg of Naproxen. After my $1,500 MRI, they told me I would have to get another one because I needed a hip MRI of my hip. I didn't return. It was expensive. The doctors disappointed me. Unfortunately, this is the end of my medical story. I don't have as much nerve pain as I did last year, but when it arrives, it's excruciating. I limp to and from school, occasionally having a friend to walk beside and use as a crutch. Sometimes the numbness subsides, and I am left with an aching hip and minimal movement. Hopefully, other kids with similar pain can be treated. I pray every day that my pain ceases, knowing that people in this world may not help me.
    Book Lovers Scholarship
    200,000 Hmong refugees of war came to America by the year 2000. Among them: Kao Kalia Yang, author of "The Latehomecomer." Yang was born in Ban Vinai Refugee Camp and came to America at age six. The Latehomecomer tells the Hmong story. A number of themes are present in this story, including communism, refugee camps, immigration, and discrimination in America. As a Hmong woman, my mother and father come from refugee camps in Laos and Thailand, respectively. Understanding our ethnicity and our challenges is essential to everyone's learning and appreciation of culture. Many immigrants share similar stories to Kao Kalia Yang and my parents. After reading The Latehomecomer, I came to realize that ignorance is the root cause of racism. Supercilious, careless, uneducated people propose misunderstandings of immigrant families. Strident, racist acts target all people of color, whether it be intentional or not. When I was a young girl, kids would pull their eyes tight and squinty and call me Chinese slurs. These elementary children learned their irreverent behaviors from their parents. It is the mothers and fathers who integrate these children into their simple-minded lives. I discovered my family's backstory. This further shaped my personal identity as a Hmong woman. I recommend The Latehomecomer to those who are disconnected from their heritage. This book allows others to blossom, uncovering their diverse backgrounds. It provides valuable information about how immigrants experience society. Having an understanding of one another's heritage will enable us to grow as a community and stabilize our lives as a whole. This is why everyone should read The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang.