A Map of Her Future
For O'Shaughnessy Scholar Panra Yang, plans pay off
By Elizabeth Child
To most 10th graders, college seems far off. But when she was in 10th grade, Panra Yang SP'16 was already looking to college and beyond. She was set on going to St. Kate's. It was a rational — and heartfelt — decision.
Yang wanted to follow in the footsteps of her high school mentor and become a pediatric nurse practitioner who helps homeless children. She knew that St. Kate's has a highly regarded nursing program.
That was the rational part of her decision.
When she visited the campus in 10th grade, she fell in love with the University. "It was really pretty and inviting," she says. She knew it was where she belonged. However, with two siblings already in college and two more preparing to go, she worried whether she could afford it. Yang's parents are from Laos, Cambodia, and she and her four siblings are the first generation in her family to go to college.
She applied anyway. Not only was Yang accepted to her dream university, she was awarded the 2012 Elizabeth Ann Beatson O'Shaughnessy Scholarship — given to just one first-year student. In recognition of outstanding academic performance and excellence in extracurricular accomplishments, the scholarship pays full tuition and fees for four years.
Yang has already joined Lambda Sigma Tau, a social-service sorority, worked on political campaigns, and been elected a resident senator on the student governing body to represent her peers.
St. Kate's is now her world. When visiting her family in east St. Paul, she gets anxious: "I say, 'Mom, I have to go back home.'"