Meet Our Mentors! 2018-2019

Kaelin Pham, Randy Sayavong


Hlee Xiong (she, her, hers)

Hello! My name is Hlee Xiong. I am a fourth year, studying Sociology of Law, Crimonology and Deviance. I am also the Community Advisor for the Tsev Hmoob LLC and a sister of Alpha Phi Gamma, Sorority, Inc. I am passionate about social justice and looking at the system that I live and work for critically. I also participated in an amazing and empowering HECUA program, called Race in America: Then and Now, so feel free to talk to me if you want to know more about it!


Chance Ly (he, him, his)

Hello! My name is Chance Ly. I am a third year planning on studying Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and I am interested in furthering my education and becoming a Physical Therapist. I am Hmong-American. I love playing volleyball and have been playing it for almost my whole life. I am excited to be a part of the ASPIRE mentorship program and am looking forward to meeting and growing with you all!


May Xiong (she, her, hers)

Hi! My name is May Xiong. I am a third year student studying Human Resources Development with a minor in Human Resources Industrial Relations. I am a part of the MISA (Minnesota International Student Association) board this semester. If you’ll like to get involved on campus or learn more about MISA, I’ll be more than happy to help you. I am a first generation Hmong American. I think the way I grew up really influenced me to appreciate my culture and other cultures. That being said, I love learning about different cultures and traveling! I have traveled to a few countries and hope to travel around Europe some day. I love to listen to KPOP/KRNB and going to concerts. I like outdoor activities, venturing out and finding beauty in the Twin Cities. I also really like to just hangout, play games and cook home cooked meals. Excited to meet you all!


Jessica Nguyen (she, her, hers)

Hello, my name is Jessica Nguyen! I am a third year Vietnamese-American student double majoring in Computer Science and Psychology. Two of my favorite things are culture and learning. I explore and embrace culture by being involved in a few organizations that are close to my heart: the Asian American Student Union (where I was previously Secretary), Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc. (where I'm currently the Internal Public Relations chair), and the Vietnamese Student Association of Minnesota (where I'm the upcoming Logistics Coordinator for Tết Show 2019). I love being involved and motivating others to get involved as well – so if you're curious about any of the communities above, don't hesitate to ask me. This year, I'm excited to continue growing alongside the APARC/ASPIRE community and building relationships with new people, so I hope to meet you soon!


Lucas Knutson (he, him, his)

Hello! My name is Lucas and I am a second year student studying Environmental Design in the College of Design. I am half Vietnamese-American and half white, trying to learn more about my AAPI identity and what it means to me. I am a very relaxed person who likes getting involved within the multicultural community on campus and promoting representation for multi-racial students. Some things I like include: playing and listening to music, sports (tennis and hockey are my favorites), watching movies, and Chipotle! Some things I don't like are: grasshoppers, blueberries, waking up early, and snow. I am very excited to be a part of APARC and the ASPIRE community and learning more about everyone's stories and perspectives!


Ruby Srigley (she, her, hers)

Hi! My name is Ruby Srigley, I am a third year, studying psychology and minoring in management. After graduation I am thinking of becoming a therapist. Fun fact about me is I was adopted from China at age one. My favorite food is Hawaiian pizza and any kind of pasta. I also love to bake, so let me know if you have any good recipes. I am excited to be a part of ASPIRE and look forward to meeting all of you.


Alila Phomtalikhith (she, her, hers)

Helllooo! My name is Alila! I'm a third year majoring in Health Service Management and getting a certificate in Human Resources. In the past I was on board for the Lao Student Association as Event Coordinator and Secretary. Now, I'm Internal Vice President of my sorority, Sigma Psi Zeta! (If you're interested, I'm your gal!) A few things I appreciate in life is food, boba, and friendships. My goal this year is to build a lasting mentor/mentee relationship. If you want to get to know me I feel like my instagram is an accurate representation of who I am, its @alilaphom! I knew I wanted to be apart of ASPIRE because I wanted to be part of a community and I'm excited to see what happens this year!


Maegi Yang (she, her, hers)

Hello all, my name is Maegi Yang. I am a third year student in the College of Liberal Arts and I am majoring in Biology, Society and Environment and minoring in Public Health. With this degree, I hope to go into emergency medicine to become a doctor in the emergency room. In my free time, I love to play board games and video games, hangout with my friends and family, binge Korean dramas and TV shows, dabble in photography and video editing, and just trying to enjoy what life has to offer. I can't wait to connect with everyone as we become stronger individuals and family throughout the course of this year!


Layheang Sam (she, her, hers)

Hello! My name is Layheang but you can call me Lay or Laylay. I am a third year majoring in Business and Marketing Education. I’m a treasurer for CSAM(Cambodian Students Association of Minnesota). Some fun facts, I was born and raised in Cambodia. I LOVE ice cream, tacos, and sparkling water! I’m very excited to be a part of ASPIRE program and can’t wait to meet everyone!


Kalia Lee (she, her, hers)

I am an introverted person who is always thinking and challenging myself. I am passionate about the environment, youth, and justice for marginalized and disadvantaged communities. However, I also enjoy Kpop, dancing, drama binges, deep conversations, going on adventures, being out in nature, and eating good food.


Emalee Yang (she, her, hers)

Helloooo! Nyob Zoo! My name is Emalee Yang. I am a 2nd year student studying Technical Writing and Communications with an emphasis on the Biological and Health Sciences and a minor in Public Health. In the future, I hope to work with underrepresented communities in providing them access to healthcare. I'm currently serving on board as the Historian chair for the Hmong Minnesota Student Association (HMSA). I am passionate about tackling social justice and promoting the empowerment of one another through the strong sense of community. Some fun facts about me:) I enjoy watching scary movies even though I get scared easily. I really LOVE chocolate. I think punny jokes are the best jokes! And I'm obsessed with Raising Canes. I'm super excited to be a part of the ASPIRE family along with you all!


Taha Rizvi (he, him, his)

Hey y'all! My name is Taha Rizvi and I'm a second year, Pakistani-American at the U this year studying Computer Science and Linguistics. The APIDA community on campus has been incredibly kind to me, and I'm here as a mentor to give back for that kindness. Some fun facts: I have two cats, and cats are my favorite animal; I am interested in all things language and linguistics, whether it be discussing what language(s) a person speaks or how to make sounds like ʑ and ʁ; in my free time, I either play video games or watch anime; and most importantly, I think, is that I'm an introvert at first but when you get to know me I can be really talkative! I look forward to this upcoming year, and I hope you do as well!


Melanie Lee (she, her, hers)

Hello everyone, My name is Melanie Lee and I'm Hmong American. I'm currently a third year in the College of Education and Human Development studying Business and Marketing Education and Human Resource Development. I was part of the U's Spirit Squad for a total of two years where I cheered on the Small COED and All Girl cheerleading teams. I'm also the Public Relations for a student organization on campus called VIIVNCAUS - Hmong Women's Group where we empower Hmong women in higher education. I love listening to K-Pop, my favorite groups are BTS and BLACKPINK. I enjoy drinking tea, reading, running, and acting. One thing that I will be doing this fall is taking acting classes at the Guthrie Theater. I'm an extrovert and I'm very passionate about empowering Hmong women, self love, and self care. I believe that it's important to love ourselves in order to find true happiness. "Love yourself because that's the person that you will be spending the rest of your life with." I look forward to meeting you all!


Vicky Yang (she, her, hers)

Hello, nyob zoo! My name is Vicky and I am a 4th year student studying Human Resource Development with a minor in Management. I am a Hmong-American, first generation college student and also the oldest and only daughter in my family. I am the External Public Relations chair and proud sister of Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority Inc. I am also involved with the other student orgs on campus such as Hmong Minnesota Student Association (HMSA), Viivncaus, and HMong Men's Circle (HMC). I am so excited to take part in ASPIRE and look forward to growing alongside my peers and mentee!


Kevin Huynh (he, him, his)

Hello hello hello! My name is Kevin and I'm a third year majoring in Sociology and minoring in Leadership and Public Health. I love being involved with communities I identify with! I'm currently the External Vice President of the Vietnamese Student Association of Minnesota (VSAM), and a Peer Mentor for the President's Emerging Scholars (PES) Program. I also served as a Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE) Kick Off Leader. I'm super excited to be a part of this ASPIRE community and look forward to meeting everyone!


Jenny Tam (she, her, hers)

Hello peeps! My name is Jenny Tam, I am a second year, pronouns she, her, hers, majoring in global studies with a minor in psychology, and I am a Chinese Vietnamese American first generation student. I am the external vice president of the Asian-American Student Union and I love my black crocs (; I like to sing and act and eating is def one of my favs.


Fuchi Hang (he, him, his)

Hey all! My name is Fuchi and I am a third year student pursuing a degree in Philosophy with a Concentration in Civic Life and Ethics. I am also planning on going into medicine so I am a pre-health students as well! I'm proud to be Hmong-American and excited that I will be helping advise the Hmong Minnesota Student Association this year. Some past times I particularly enjoy are boxing, long boarding, and deconstructing thought processes about issues related to race, identity, power, and privilege. Let me know if you folx ever want to connect over some of these topics! I'm looking forward to meeting you all and i'm so excited to be a part of this amazing ASPIRE community.


King Yang (he, him, his)

I am a sophomore this year at the U, planning to major in Biology, Society, and Environment. I'm planning to pursue Pharmacy as a career, although this is not certain yet. I like playing sports (any) for fun and like surfing the web on my free time.


Muajyeej Vang (he, him, his)

Wassup! My name is Muajyeej Vang, but I also go by Mua for short. I am a fourth year a Youth Studies Major and Asian American Minor. I am Hmong American and from East Side Saint Paul. I really enjoy music, playing volleyball, and traveling. I look forward to being apart of ASPIRE and my final year as a undergrad. I know this year will be Great. Lastly, Mentee don't worry the year won't be just great. but Lit.


Devin Vue (he, him, his)

Throughout my experience on campus, I never thought to know how important or how much of an impact a community could make me feel. Making me feel validated has made my performance exceptionally well in my classes and life outside of academics. However, it wasn't until the end of my spring semester was when I was able to find my community. Going through that struggle, I don't want that happening to any incoming first year students especially those who are reaching out to find their own community. I would love to be that someone who could be counted on to feel supported, to feel comfort, and provides a space to grow together. I understand the craving of having a sense of belonging and I hope that I can allow this opportunity to many individuals to call this place home.


Foua Khang (she, her, hers)

Hello there! My name is Foua Khang, and I am a 4th year studying Human Resource Development & Business and Marketing Education. I come from a Hmong family of seven, and luckily I am the middle child. Currently, I am involved in the Student Union & Activities Street Team and the Marketing and Communications Lead at the University YMCA on campus. A fun fact about myself is that I am a former cheerleader on the University of Minnesota Spirit Squad. I cheered for three years, both on the Small Coed and Coed cheer team (which was a challenging, but phenomenal experience). I also traveled out of the country for the very first time in June of 2018 (I went to Thailand)! On September 15th, 2018, I will be welcoming home my very first own golden retriever puppy, Atlas! I enjoy and appreciate having meaningful conversations, playing tennis, cleaning on my free time, cooking new recipes, going stargazing, and I have a weakness for sashimi and killer sunsets. I look forward to seeing YOU, with ASPIRE. (:


Rosie Yang (she, her, hers)

Hi! My name is Rosie Yang and I’m a second generation Hmong American. I’m a junior double majoring in Economics and Global Studies hoping to go into the field of international development. I have a passion for human rights, particularly human trafficking, the immigration and refugee crisis, and racial inequalities. Some hobbies I have include exploring new places and trying new cultural foods!


Angel Lee (she, her, hers)

Hello, nyob zoo, 안녕! I am a third year majoring in Family Social Science with Community and Finance concentrations. I also double minor in Family Therapy and Korean. Growing up in a family oriented environment, I too went through the struggle that first generation/immigrant families deal with on a day to day basis. That, inspired me to want to help make the transition easier for families who are new to the United States. I am very open to trying new things and learning new languages to better connect with different groups of people. I currently hold the Secretary position for the Tibetan-American Student Association and am an active volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The following are fun facts about me: I love to cook new things almost as much as I love eating them and I am great at smiling and laughing at jokes. From time to time, I do enjoy anime, Asian dramas, Asian-pop and Boba Tea. There's an 110% chance I will say yes to studying together or meet ups if it involves Boba Tea and great conversation. My favorite are Milk Tea and Thai Tea. I'm looking forward to another great year with ASPIRE! Best, Angel.


Josalyza Thao (she, her, hers) 

Hi! My name is Josalyza Thao, but feel free to call me Josie. I will be graduating May of 2019 with a major in Biology, Society, and Environment (BSE) and minors in Public Health and Spanish. I am Hmong American and I come from a family of eight children, in which, all of our names starts with the letter J. For spring 2018, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ecuador from the help of many scholarships and I hope to be able to answer any questions that you all may have about the process or experience of being abroad. I enjoy meeting new people, love bubble tea and food, and love watching Youtube (Ryan Higa is my favorite Youtuber).


Benjin Thao (he, him, his)

Hello there :) My name is Benjin Thao and I am a second year hoping to transfer to CEHD for Human Resource and Development. I plan to explore and pin point what my interest are and ultimately decide on what major I want to pursue by the end of the year. I am Hmong American and come from a pretty big family. Two interesting facts about me is that I love nature walks and biking. I hope to embark on a new journey through ASPIRE with you all and I'm excited to share stories.


Britney Lee (she, her, hers)

Hey all! My name is Britney Lee, and I'm a Sophomore this year studying biochemistry with aspirations to study Pharmacy in the future. I'm a Chinese- American from Illinois who loves learning all sorts of topics, from science to language, to pretty much anything you can think of. I have a love for humor and jokes, because who doesn't like to laugh a little! I also really enjoy dancing, baking, watching anime, cycling, and most importantly sleeping (despite never getting enough of it!). I can't wait to meet everyone and see what this school brings!! :)


Tai Do (he, him, his)

Hi my name is Tai. I am a 3rd year graduate student in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. My work centers around disparities in education, intersecting psychological and sociological antecedents to translational settings such as education. I immigrated to the United States from Vietnam at the age of 5. Using my background, past and current experiences, and motivation to empower students, I strive to be a mentor that will actively traverse through your experiences, aspirations, and goals with you. 


Joshua Yang (he, him, his)

Hey y'all! I'm Joshua Yang, a 2nd year at the U studying Asian Languages and Literatures (ALL). I'm also in CEHD's "DirecTrack To Teaching (DTT)" so that I can get licensed to become a teacher. I was a former ASPIRE mentee just like you all and I loved it. Being a guinea pig for programs and such is just a part of my nature. As for what I do outside of campus, I love fishing, and just not really being stuck at home with nothing to do. I'm also looking forward to getting more into photography and traveling, things that I haven't really been able to do much of. I look forward to meeting each and every one of y'all. I hope we're all ready because this year is going to be awesome!


Nouchi Yang (she, her, hers)

Hello hello hello everyone! My name is Nouchi Yang, and I am a third year here at the University of Minnesota and I identity as a first generation Hmong American woman. I am majoring in Family Social Science with concentrations in Family Therapy and Family and Community Engagement with a minor in Comparative U.S Race and Ethnicity minor. I am currently serving as the Multimedia Chair of the Tibetan-American Student Association (TASA). Some fun facts about me is that I love learning new languages and learning about different cultures, and traditions around the world. I love food and eating food. I often like to say that the word "Full" does not exist in my dictionary, and I like to pronounce "Vlog" as "V-Log". I am an ambivert, but a chatter-box who mumbles once I get passed my shyness. I love meeting new people and creating meaningful relationships with the people that I meet. I am so so excited to be a part of the ASPIRE family, and I cannot wait to meet all of you!


Annika Duch (she, her, hers)

I'm Annika Duch and I'm 20 and a first generation Cambodian-American. I'm a 3nd year student here at the University studying Physiology with intent for nursing - minoring in Chinese language studies. I am the past Internal Public Relations for the Cambodian Student Association Minnesota and currently the Events Coordinator for the Asian-American Student Union. Some fun facts about me: I love love love k-pop, k-drama and anime. My favorite color is black. I love food especially Asian food and home cooked food is the best! I'm addicted to boba tea! I'm always on my phone and social media but love socialize and go to events. I am currently working at Regions Hospital as a Patient Care assistant.


Lily Yang (she, her, hers) 

Hi hi there! My name is Lily Yang and I am currently a second year Hmong-American student at the Carlson School of Management planning to double major in Accounting and Management Information Systems. I am the Treasurer of the Hmong Minnesota Student Association, a student organization located here at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Some things about me is that I am a BIG time boba lover, so I will always be up to grab some Boba Tea! I always carry snacks on me, so if you're looking for something to munch on, I gotchu! Likewise, I am a coffee lover and will always be up to take you with me to get our daily dose of caffeine. I am ecstatic to take part of the ASPIRE/APARC community and grow alongside with it. Additionally, I can't wait to meet everyone and see what this year brings!