Liberal studies and McNair Program alumna earns Fulbright-Hays Award

| Denise Olson

Blugold alumna Choua Xiong, a 2014 liberal studies graduate, is pursuing a doctorate in public education policy at UW-Madison, and has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award to complete her research in Thailand.

Fulbright-Hays DDRA Awards provide funds to doctoral students to conduct research outside the U.S. in foreign languages and area studies for up to 12 months. The awards are funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s International and Foreign Language Education office.

The title of Xiong's dissertation is "Activating Hmongness in Thai Schools – Hmong Negotiation of Citizenship and Belonging in Northern Thailand.”

The research examines how HMoob (Hmong) youth navigate exclusionary educational practices of citizenship and belonging in Phetchabun Province, Thailand. Xiong will observe and participate in youth activities inside and outside of school spaces focusing on how students, teachers and the HMoob community talk about culture, national belonging and citizenship rights and responsibilities.

"I hope my work through the Fulbright Hays DDRA 2018 will contribute to the growth of HMoob studies programs," Xiong said. "This project enables me to add to the knowledge production about HMoob and education in Southeast Asia. More importantly, this project allows for the possibility of theorizing about HMoob lives around the world." 

About her liberal studies degree, Xiong said that her emphasis, critical cultural studies, was a degree plan she crafted as a way to focus attention on Hmong (HMoob) related studies. Her participation in the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program prepared her for her doctoral work in developing research skills and focus on this topic area. 

"I decided to pursue a dissertation in this area after conducting field research in HMoob Chinese communities in 2012, funded through the ASIANetwork Freemen Student-Faculty Fellowship," Xiong said. 

For more information about the Fulbright-Hays DDRA, see the UW-Madison news release.