Xai Xiong

In 2010, I didn't know where my life would go after high school. My understanding of college was minimal and I really didn't understand what it took to go to college. My parents didn't go to college and my older sister was too busy with college of her own. Once I was accepted into the University of Wisconsin - Madison, my life would then change. My life course diverged and I finally would be able to pursue bigger opportunities that were out there after high school. 
 
However, my acceptance into the university was not all that joyous after the brief acceptance. Once I knew how expensive college would be, I was devastated. I didn't know how much it would cost to go to college or even the cost of it. My high school counselor (to which I still remember her name till this day) introduced me to the Arndt Family Scholarship and from that moment on, my life would be changed. 
 
The words are limitless. What this scholarship have done for and many high school students around Madison is help them pursue higher education with less stress on finances. As a first-generation student, the financial barriers may be enormous. This scholarship has laid off any loans that I might’ve had to take out. Because of this, I was able to graduate without any loans and at the same time, educate myself and perhaps the future generations.
 
My five years at the University of Wisconsin - Madison lead me to studying abroad in South Korea, gaining friendships and network,  and educating myself beyond borders. I majored in Life Sciences Communication with a certificate in Digital Studies and deeply enjoyed working with the staff in the department. I also spent a lot of my time working with diversity programs across UW-Madison and spent three years working for the Center for Educational Opportunity where I developed and matured greatly as a student and a worker. 
 
I currently am employed with UW-Extension where I work with a nutrition program. A lot of the things I do with them relate back to my major and because of that, it keeps me going.