A Madison College Inititative:
Asian American Career Fair
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the Year for the State
of Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)
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stories in Wisconsin, click:
By Heidi M. Pascual
“On April 15, 2011, Madison College (MATC Truax campus) held its second
Asian American Career Fair — a great opportunity for Asian American high
school students in the Madison area to explore career paths through actual
exposure to Asian American professionals and entrepreneurs. It was also
the second time for me to be part of this wonderful undertaking.
For half a day, the participating students attended sessions or
presentations conducted by local Asian Americans who are actively
practicing their professions in the fields of Business & Trades/
Apprenticeship, Education, Health, Information Technology &
Media/Communications, Protective Services & Law/Government, and
Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM). There were also
information booths from various colleges and universities with staff who
answered students' inquiries.
I salute the Madison College staff and Asian American community leaders such as Dr. Elizabeth Reyes (Ph.D.) who are
behind the project. They wanted to make sure that just like the other ethnic groups in the Madison area who have their annual
career fairs at Madison College, Asian American high school students about to graduate are also given the same opportunity.
There's a lot of information these students gathered from the event and a lot of friendships forged in the process.
Being one of the presenters, I didn't get the chance to cover the other presentations, but I have an idea of what transpired in
each session because of my experience. In my 'classroom," for instance, there were two of us presenters who completed
each of our slot for 30 minutes. There was a facilitator who introduced us, and after our presentation, the students asked us a
lot of questions.
My topic was Information Technology/Communications, and my co-presenter was Quang Duong, a young Vietnamese
American who works for Madison College's IT department. Duong talked about himself and why he decided to take up IT, the
basics of computer learning, and he inspired the students to learn the technology and be efficient about it.
Of course, I talked about myself, my education, my work experience, and why I moved to Madison and focused on a journalism
career. I told them that the reason I started my own magazine was the fact that while other ethnic groups have their very own
publications in Madison, Asian Americans don't have theirs, and I saw that as something necessary to let people know that
Asian Americans exist, live, and work in Wisconsin, that I wanted to tell our stories, the stories of parents who are refugees,
the stories of Asian American struggles, pain and successes, our issues and those of others like us.
I highlighted my struggle early on when I started my magazine, Asian Wisconzine, and how I studied on my own to do my
website. While I tackled the difficulty of keeping a small business during the recession, I focused on how I am keeping it alive
— that while it is no longer printing, it's online version is very much alive and well. I showed them my website and the articles
and videos featured in it. I made it a point to tell them that Asian Americans need to be actively involved in local issues, such
as the ongoing State budget battle that stirred people to march on the streets to the State Capitol. I told them that while it is
very important to focus on their studies and be successful in choosing their professions, it is equally important to forge
coalitions with other ethnic groups and be a stronger minority force.
The questions raised after my presentation were good indications that the students were touched by my talk. My co-presenter
even acknowledged how good I was in my presentation. But I said I'm quite used to doing it and he'll get the hang of it as he
does it more often. The more important thing, I added, is for him to be passionate about what he does and why he wants
students to learn from him.
Over all, it was another great experience for me. I met new students and other presenters and connected beautifully with my
friends and colleagues at Madison College (MATC). The program that followed the sessions was a showcase of student
talent in dance.
I know that the high school students who participated during this event went home with lots of information and inspiration that
they would carry with them when they continue their college education