Monday, March 2, 2009
PRESIDENT OF K-STATE'S ASIAN AMERICAN STUDENT UNION SUCCESSFULLY TRANSITIONS FROM THE WORK FORCE BACK TO COLLEGE
MANHATTAN -- Christina Patch, president of Kansas State University's Asian American Student Union, embraces coming back to college after five years in the work force. Patch, sophomore in accounting, Manhattan , said she has a passion for helping others and strives to enhance diversity on the K-State campus.
Patch lived most of her life in a Randolph, a small Kansas town in northern Riley County. She is a 2001 graduate of Randolph's Blue Valley High School, where she was one of only 14 people in her graduating class.
"It was a lot less diverse community than Manhattan," Patch said. "It was definitely different being the lone minority for awhile; but then again, it was just another experience with a different culture."
After graduating high school, Patch attended K-State for one year, but found juggling three jobs and going to school impossible. She decided to enter the work force, which eventually led to her chosen career path. After working as a receptionist for H&R Block, Patch decided it was time to go back to school in pursuit of her accounting degree.
"While working for H&R Block, I was able to help people with their money, financial planning, taxes, etc.," Patch said. "It was just a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it, especially the customer service part."
When Patch returned to K-State, she really strived to get involved on campus, something that she did not get to do her first time at college. She joined the Asian American Student Union and Zeta Phi Beta, another multicultural organization. When Patch found out the Asian American Student Union did not have a president, she thought she would be a good fit for the job. She is now in her second year in the post.
As president of the student group, Patch wants to reach out to other groups across campus. She also wants to increase awareness about the Asian American Student Union and encourage all types of ethnicities to join.
"A lot of people think that the Asian American Student Union is limited to Japanese, Chinese or Korean students," Patch said. "But we also reach out to other ethnicities like the Pan-Asian groups, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Anybody can join the Asian-American Student Union -- it's for everybody."
Patch's dad is American and was in the military, serving at Fort Riley. Her mom is from South Korea. Neither of Patch's parents went to college, which makes Patch a first-generation college student.
"I want to get my bachelor's degree and my master's degree for my mom so she can have something to be really proud of," Patch said. "She didn't have a lot of the opportunities that we had growing up. She grew up in a really small village with a really impoverished family. My accomplishments make her feel great, and I like making her feel great."