Saint Paul College proudly announces Hsakushee Zan ’14 as its 2024 Alumna of the Year. Zan’s extraordinary journey from a refugee camp in Thailand to a champion of educational equity in Minnesota embodies resilience and the transformative power of education.  

Enrolling in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program in 2010, Hsakushee exemplified dedication by balancing her studies with part-time work to support her children.  She graduated with an AA degree in 2014. She continued at the University of Minnesota, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science with minors in Sociology and Racial Justice in Urban Education. Her pursuit of learning continued when she received a Master’s degree in K-12 Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May 2024. She is currently enrolled in the EdD program at Concordia University.    

Hsakushee champions educational equity, ensuring the voices of the Karen community are heard within schools and government systems. Since 2009, she has served the Saint Paul Public School district in various capacities, including translator, tutor, family liaison, mentor, and assistant educator.    

Her commitment to her community is evident in her work for the Saint Paul Public School district, where she led the establishment of the first Karen heritage language courses in any US public school district. Her extensive volunteer work and advocacy efforts have earned her numerous accolades, including the State of Minnesota’s Outstanding Refugee Award.