Shi Wen Wong maintains a long history of love and fascination with mathematics. As a kindergartener growing up in Malaysia, she fondly recalls watching her teacher write out arithmetic problems on a whiteboard.
“One of the biggest reasons that I love math is the satisfaction that comes when I get stuck on a question for a while, then do a bunch of math to find the right answer,” said Wong.
Her goal: to someday teach mathematics.
“I consider educators to be supremely noble people who spend hours of their time imparting knowledge to and installing moral values in their students,” said Wong. “Ultimately, my career goal is to become a professor of mathematics and a person who
teaches math while radiating positive energy.”
Wong stays busy outside the classroom too. She serves as an officer on Mt. Hood Community College’s Student Activities Board and previously as an officer for Rho Theta, MHCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter. She speaks several languages fluently, including
Mandarin, Cantonese, and Malay. And this spring, she will earn her Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in math.
Wong also plans to establish a nonprofit that offers financial assistance to college-bound students. She herself received the TRIO Student Support Services Scholarship and the Walt Morey Memorial Endowed Scholarship, both from the MHCC Foundation,
and the Fred Fields Scholarship from the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC).
“If I had not received scholarships, I would be incapable of continuing my education and someday becoming an instructor,” added Wong.
Wong, along with Crystal Garriga, a student in Mt. Hood Community College’s Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling program, were selected for the All-Oregon Community College Academic Team this year. The program recognizes high-achieving
two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor. The program is part of the national All-State Community College Academic Team program, in which students from 38 states participate. Program sponsors include
the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, community college presidents, and community college state associations.
For Garriga, she was drawn to the Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling program’s career choices and industry fields, including counseling and community corrections.
“The classes listed were all of interest to me too – like psychopharmacology, counseling theory, and a course on social work careers,” said Garriga. “I thought it was too late in life to have options like these open to me. Honestly, college was not
even on my radar until three years ago.”
Shortly after beginning the MHSSAC degree program, Garriga’s instructor began discussing with her the possibility of earning a bachelor’s degree.
“It was a little intimidating considering it took almost 20 years to begin my associate degree,” she said. “Plus, the field is broad and I’m still discovering career paths and which way to go. But now I’m ready to apply to PSU’s School of Social Work
and take that next step!”
Garriga is discovering more about her new career field through an array of volunteer activities, including experience as a family community health volunteer with Clackamas County and secretary of the Mental Health Club at MHCC. Additionally, she’s
recipient of the Foundation’s Oregon Community Foundation Joseph E. Weston Scholarship and of Gresham Club of Rotary’s Radak and P.E.O. scholarships.
“One of the best parts of being in the program is the communal support I’ve received,” Garriga added. “We all seem to be accepting and genuinely caring for each other, and the instructors are inspiring, knowledgeable, and experienced, while also being