A Fresno State graduate said she would have minored in Hmong if she’d had the opportunity.
Monique Vang graduated in spring 2016 with a bachelor’s in mass communication and journalism and only took three Hmong courses while at the university – Hmong 1B, 4 and 101.
When Monique first heard about the possibility of Fresno State offering Hmong as a minor, it was still pending approval.
“That’s why I didn’t take all of the Hmong courses that I needed to ahead of time because I actually didn’t know when they were going to be able to create this minor completely,” Monique said.
Students now have that opportunity.
The minor was approved on April 22. Approximately 80 students were enrolled in Hmong courses, and 69 were interested in minoring in Hmong.
This semester, some 120 students are enrolled in Hmong courses and about 75 students are minoring in Hmong, said Dr. Kao-Ly Yang, Hmong minor coordinator and adviser.
“What I really want to see is that the students will get an overview of the Hmong culture,” Yang said.
Students have to complete 20 units which include five language courses and one cultural course.
Hmong Language Club president Keng Vang, who is minoring in Hmong, said “[Learning Hmong] helps people connect to the community because here in the community, there’s a lot of Hmong people and also, if you’re Hmong, then it helps you connect to the elders.”
Last semester, the club provided Hmong tutoring sessions for students Monday through Thursday, and this semester, it will start by hosting tutoring sessions once a week and gradually add more days if needed.
“We just wanted to promote the Hmong language here on campus so that’s why we started the tutoring sessions,” Keng said.
Soon, Hmong minor students will be able to apply for a Hmong Language Studies Scholarship.
The scholarship offers student and program assistance, said Moon-ja Yunouye, director of development for the College of Arts and Humanities.
“So if students want to pursue a Hmong minor, but they have some financial need, it would benefit them that way,” Yunouye said. “They can apply for the Hmong minor scholarship to help with their financial needs.”
Yunouye said the scholarship is still being developed. However, she hopes there will be an award in spring 2017.
“I think [the scholarship] would encourage a lot of Hmong students here in the Central Valley to continue going to school and actually reach out to education and continue your education,” Monique said.