St. Cloud State University master’s student Silena Xiong was recently recognized as the 2022 NASPA Region IV-East Minnesota Graduate Student Rising Star, an award presented to a student pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree related to student affairs.
Xiong, a second-year master’s student in the College Counseling and Student Development program, was recognized during the 2022 NASPA Joint IV-East and IV-West Regional Conference in Chicago, Illinois in November.
“Passionate about developing her skills and growing her knowledge base as a future student affairs professional, Silena brings the upmost integrity and intentionality to her graduate studies,” said Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director of College Counseling and Student Development Dr. Aeriel A. Ashlee.
The Graduate Student Rising Star award is awarded to students who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom, who intend to pursue a career in students affairs, who have displayed leadership and innovation in their assistantship, internship or cooperative experience, or a student who has shown the potential to make significant contributions to the student affairs profession. In addition to this regional recognition, Xiong will also be considered for the National NASPA Graduate Student Rising Star award.
Xiong currently serves as co-president for St. Cloud State’s RISE of Hmoob Women, a student organization she co-founded with the mission to create opportunities and resources for Hmong women in higher education.
Last summer, she applied for and received multiple paid summer internship opportunities. Using her growing professional network, she consulted with multiple mentors and ultimately decided to pursue a position that would enable her to diversify her paraprofessional experience with various institution types. Through that internship, Xiong was selected to participate in the 2022 NASPA Graduate Associate Program, which is an initiative to increase leadership opportunities for graduate students within NASPA.
“In addition to her campus leadership and involvement, Silena regularly goes above and beyond what is expected of her by actively seeking out opportunities to grow and learn as a burgeoning student affairs professional,” Dr. Ashlee said. “Silena is an emerging student affairs professional who has already demonstrated her potential to make significant contributions to the profession.”
Learn more about the College Counseling and Student Development master’s program and the Department of Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy at St. Cloud State.