The Interview: Shelly Wang

Discovering that Las Vegas was just like any other American city was a surprise to current transplant Shelly Wang, UNLV’s director of program advancement in the Division of Educational Outreach. And she can’t believe her commute to work only takes 20 minutes.

Why UNLV?

Las Vegas boasts amazing demographic diversity. I was drawn at first to this place due to the fact that my entire career has been about creating equity and boosting gain access to within education. For me, coming into an environment where variety is a provided is an unique chance. I have resided in other locations that are thought to foster a great deal of variety, like Los Angeles, Orange County (California), Manhattan (New York City) … Those places are certainly diverse, but here in Las Vegas, aside from the racial and ethnic diversity, there is a broad variety in experience– recently gotten here immigrants, first-generation trainees, numerous generations looking for higher or continuing education at all levels of their careers.

What did you do formerly?

I started out in a policy think tank. I believed I would enjoy doing research analysis. I found out a lot, however I really felt frustrated and powerless. I wished to have a more direct effect. So, I went to work for nonprofits. I was at Teach for America for a few years, where I could work carefully with trainees and teachers as they dealt with all sort of academic obstacles routinely. Then, I had the chance to deal with the University Extended Education Workplace at Cal State Fullerton. That’s where I saw very first hand how the university can play a role in shaping the lives of both matriculated students and students who are thought about non-traditional. I worked there for 12 years.

Your job duties

I am charged with developing programs that are industry-relevant for expert development. Most of the trainees we are wanting to help are those who may currently have full-time tasks and/or a degree of some sort but who are looking to grow in their careers or alter gears.

An “a-ha!” moment

That originated from my experience in college when I was an intern at a primary school, and I had a great relationship with the students. This was in Oakland (California) in a district where they had a 25 percent high school graduation rate. A couple of years earlier, I was called on social networks by someone I didn’t acknowledge. It was among my trainees from method back then– 18 years earlier! He graduated high school and entered college and was in his fourth year about to finish. He remembered me because, as he said, it mattered to him I cared enough to help him as a kid. The obstacle after his four years in college was in establishing himself without having the social capital that his more upscale peers had. This was my “a-ha!” minute. As teachers, our work never ends. Long-lasting education continues beyond formal degrees, and it is a crucial part of defining trainee success.

The inspiration to enter your field

I came from a family of teachers, and drew inspiration from what my parents and grandparents provided for their students in Taiwan. Also, as a sociology significant, I learned how education could lead favorable social modification … whatever was pointing me toward education.

The most significant difficulty in your field

The continuous obstacle is to get rid of the understanding that continuing education provides the “enjoyable” classes like basket weaving and nothing else. Although we do provide lots of individual enrichment classes, continuing education is also quite about expert development, consistent renewal, and growth.

What is the biggest misconception you encounter about UNLV and how does your role assistance shine a light on what UNLV is really like?

I must admit that up until just recently, I had actually been an outsider with a great deal of mistaken belief about UNLV, mostly associated to its place and the population I assumed it served. I believed it was a commuter school, where school spirit and identification are not extremely strong. Now, having been here a couple of months, I would argue otherwise. I see my own function as dispelling this perception, so UNLV is the first place individuals go whenever they have a need for education.

Where you matured

I matured in Taipei, Taiwan, until I was 12. It was a metropolis, however largely hegemonic. Then, my family and I transferred to Cerritos, California. It was difficult leaving my good friends and social group, then suddenly moving to a location where I needed to deal with a totally brand-new life in a location where there was discrimination. That was something I never ever came across previously, and it truly formed my thinking of education and opportunity. It was for education and opportunity that my moms and dads brought us to the U.S.

Leisure activity or pastimes

My brand-new hobby– hammock yoga. But I also like doing nothing on a Sunday and just laying on my couch with a terrific book. I am re-reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

Something individuals would be surprised to find out about you

While I will never ever be a professional dancer, I did ballet on a regular basis for twenty years. I have screwed up feet to prove it. I can still do fouettes– just three, though.

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