Refugee Overcomes Obstacles to Graduate and Inspire Community

As a young refugee, Yun "Mi Mi" Khaing, a recent Kent State University graduate, has not only overcome significant challenges during her time in the United States, but she’s also helping others in similar circumstances.

At age 10, Khaing and her family arrived in Northeast Ohio as refugees from Thailand, seeking better opportunities. Despite initially facing language barriers and cultural differences, Khaing's determination and hard work enabled her to quickly adapt. With the support of local organizations like Asian Services in Action (ASIA) in Akron, and mentors like May Chen, she excelled academically while embracing her cultural heritage.

Khaing earned her bachelor of business administration in marketing degree from Kent State this past May, taking only three years to complete her degree. "I think the big thing is that you have to stand up for yourself and you have to be a leader," Khaing told WKYC. "I think you have to work hard. That's the big thing that got me through all that, so I think working hard is more important than anything else."



Throughout her journey, Khaing also gave back to her community through translation services, interpreting, and participating in traditional dance performances. Her resilience earned her recognition as a Summit County Historical Society's 2024 "Woman to Watch."

Now, Khaing plans to explore career paths and potentially pursue graduate studies. However, her primary goal is to serve as an inspiration and role model for other young people facing similar obstacles, encouraging them to embrace their identities and make positive choices.

Khaing’s mentor, ASIA Executive Director May Chen, told WKYC, “I know the hardship she endured. To me, she cultivated determination, resiliency, perseverance. That will take her far in life.”

POSTED: Friday, May 31, 2024 11:50 AM
Updated: Wednesday, June 12, 2024 09:02 AM