The Meet the Challenge Hawkeye Awards recognize five undergraduate students who exemplify one of the values promoted by The IOWA Challenge to Excel, Stretch, Engage, Choose, and Serve. This year, international student Hexiang Wang was awarded the Meet the Challenge Award in the Stretch category. Hexiang was nominated by International Programs' Dean Downing Thomas. Below is his letter of nomination describing the many ways in which he has seen Hexiang seek out personal challenges during her time at Iowa. Congratulations Hexiang!
I met Hexiang and her mother, Lingling, several times by chance during orientation week in 2011. Since my family and I have hosted international students and scholars many times, we invited Hexiang to meals, for ice skating and other activities. I was impressed by Hexiang’s desire to make the most of her educational experience, both in and out of the classroom.
Through all of this, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and has been receiving radiation and chemotherapy back in China. It has been a personal stretch for her to continue with her studies—something on which her mother has insisted—while staying in touch so many miles from home.Another way in which Hexiang has stretched cultural boundaries is by volunteering, something that was not part of her background in China. Through the University Honors Program, she has volunteered at the University Children’s Hospital and helped cook and animate conversation with the residents of Hope Lodge, a retirement community in Iowa City. Through Students Today Leaders Forever, she also helped build fences for wildlife in Arkansas, worked at an animal shelter in Oklahoma City, and prepared food at a local church in Texas.
Hexiang’s curiosity and willingness to challenge herself personally and academically have been extremely impressive to me. If anyone has taken the Iowa Challenge, it is Hexiang.
Meet the Challenge is a collaborative program between the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership, the Office of the Dean of Students and the Provost's Office. For more information on Meet the Challenge Awards and instructions on applying or nominating a student visit their website.