Fox Valley Tech’s diverse student population earns recognition

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) — After more than doubling its minority student population over the last five years, Fox Valley Technical College is the first technical college in the state to be awarded the Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award.

As the technology taught in the classrooms keeps evolving, so do the faces of the students in them.

“We have anywhere between 3,000 and 3,500 students on campus,” said Rayon Brown.

That number represents the school’s minority population, up from roughly 700 before Brown took over as the school’s manager of diversity and inclusion.

Brown is of Jamaican decent and says he was the only person of color in his classes while attending Fox Valley Tech more than a decade ago.

Lamond hill says Brown is his inspiration.

“I think when diverse people or minorities succeed it shows other minorities that “hey, that guy/that girl looks like me or is like me and they’re doing very well” and that’s inspiration to other people,”” Hill said.

Hill has already found a job and hasn’t graduated yet. That success is a big reason why the college is getting state recognition.

Panar Vang studies nursing at FVTC and says Brown’s office has given her strength to pursue her career.

“They encourage me. This is why I’m up here. If they don’t encourage me I’ll still be down at the base of the mountain,” Vang said.

“We all come from different places, have different social constructs, have different experiences, and the most we elaborate and expand on these experiences and have others within our community to learn from these experiences the better our community will be,” says Brown.