Vicky Liao ′09
My sister has Down Syndrome so I learned at a young age about IEPs (Individual Education Plans). Watching her experience has made me want to create an opportunity for everyone to be literate and to have access to needed services. That passion has shaped my priorities and extracurricular activities.
My major in psychology allows me to combine my academic study with my passion for literacy. One research project involved tutoring at Hollywood Elementary School to learn more about self-efficacy. I have also served as a site assistant at Brewster Elementary where I tutored a recent immigrant boy in English and taught Mandarin to the after school children. Since I write my own lesson plans, make the flashcards and supply the materials, the experience is rich and rewarding. At the in-service training sessions the majority of the people are at least 25 years older than I am. I value that experience because I get to hear perspectives from a wide array of viewpoints.
The opportunities at Rhodes and in the Memphis community are both numerous and enriching. Coordinating the Snowden Aftercare program and Central High tutoring has honed my management skills. I became an active member of Adopt-A-Friend when a first grader asked me to become her mentor. Leadership positions in campus organizations like Serving Our Students (SOS) and All Students Interested in Asia (ASIA) have kept me in touch with my culture and heritage. Currently I am learning to become an effective co-president of ASIA.
The Rhodes Student Associates Program provides an excellent opportunity to gain real world experience. Working with the Rhodes Hollywood Springdale Partnership I have gained experience in event planning and media relations as well as a deep connection with the Midtown North community members. This work has also provided me with an opportunity to present what I have learned at the upcoming Society for Applied Anthropology’s conference.
One of the most influential people I have met is my mentor, Ms. Huery. By helping her with research about effective schools in high poverty areas, I have learned more about education as well as gaining the skills I will need in graduate school. I am currently helping her conduct research for her dissertation.
My commitments to the various organizations have given me aspirations. For instance, when I saw how chaotic the classroom was at Brewster, I became determined to find help for the site assistants. After talking with members at Brewster and at Rhodes, I created a link between the schools so that the children could learn to their potential.
Since my Summer Service Fellowship with Memphis City Schools, I have begun planning ways to target children in schools around Rhodes who are not meeting state standards. Through my involvement with the many organizations, I have come to understand more about myself and the people of Memphis.