Sayro Paw was 12 when she arrived in Utah from the Mae La Refugee Camp in Thailand. She recalls being totally overwhelmed by the language and cultural differences. “I didn’t know how to communicate with anyone,” she says. “I didn’t know anyone at school, and I couldn’t do homework.”
Gradually things improved for Paw, especially once she connected with the U’s own University Neighborhood Partners (UNP) Hartland Partnership Center, one of more than 30 sites where UNP engages with west side neighborhoods. At UNP Hartland, Paw had faculty and student mentors who helped her with language and study skills and eventually helped her apply to college. In addition, Paw made new friends participating in UNP Hartland’s outdoors programs, where she got out on weekends to rock climb, canoe, and hike.
“UNP builds partnerships between the university and west side neighborhoods that reduce barriers to education and opportunity,” explains UNP director Sarah Munro. UNP brings together partners who work with about 4,000 west side residents each year on issues ranging from English language acquisition to mental health support, education and employment pathways, and after-school programs.
Paw is now studying at the U and wants to be a middle or high school art or English teacher. “I want to show my students that I made it this far and they can too,” she says.
“I’m so grateful for everyone at Hartland. They were always there for me. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE
Shannon McNatt is no stranger to rigorous training. The U senior and NCAA regional beam champion gymnast spends more than 20 hours training each week preparing for competition. And her dedication in the gym is paralleled in her coursework. She’s in one of the David S. Eccles School of Business’ most demanding majors, Quantitative Analysis […]Learn More
STEWARDS OF OUR NATURAL WORLD
Utah is at the heart of many recent environmental debates, ranging from national parks and water to land use and air quality. These crucial issues can seem impossibly complex, and finding solutions requires collaboration and creativity. Here are just two of many researchers exploring these topics from different perspectives. A cultural perspective: The data is […]Learn More
DISCOVERY: A TEAM EFFORT
For most people, a doctorate in human genetics isn’t a fallback career. But when Kristi Russell injured her hip as a tennis player at Weber State University, she says the injury changed the course of her education and profession. She asked her doctor, “Why would this happen to someone so young?” The doctor’s response: sports […]Learn More
MORE THAN A NUMBER
Derek Young BS’18 grew up in a town with just nine stoplights. And when he came to study biology at the U, the number of students was more than three times the population of his hometown, Price, Utah. While he was excited to be around other people who were passionate about learning, and he liked […]Learn More
FROM DIAGNOSIS TO REMISSION
Whitney Bitner BS’18 started chemotherapy just three days before her senior year at the U. The math and statistics major had been diagnosed with nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma after she noticed a lump on her neck while vacationing with her family at Lake Powell. “It was just like, ‘How can this have happened?’ ” […]Learn More
A LIFE OF SERVICE
Service is in Daniela des Islets’ blood. Her father was an infantry officer in the Honduran military, and she’s been deployed with the U.S. Air Force twice, once in Afghanistan and once in Qatar. And now she’s studying biology, chemistry, and Spanish at the U, with plans to go on to medical school. “I wanted […]Learn More