“My name is Lada Lau. I was born in the beautiful country of Cambodia where I danced in the monsoon rain, climb trees, and skipped rocks along the banks of the Mekong River. I left my childhood in Cambodia and came to America with my immediate family in search of the American dream.
Currently, I work as the co-op adviser for the engineering students at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. I aspire to be a leader in my field of work as well as in my community.
Growing up in Lowell as a Cambodian-American, I was constantly made aware of the large number of Cambodian kids in my town that joined gangs and/or dropped out of school too soon. Being Khmer and hearing so much negativity towards my race, I was determined to be different and to prove that we can be successful.
I think my community is struggling to grow and advance beyond what we have already accomplished. At the same time, I think we are taking steps towards that growth. For example, we just elected the first Cambodian man to represent us in the state representative elections.
I have multiple role models in my life. First and foremost is my father. He taught me the value of education, the rewards of honest hard work, and the love of family. Another role model I have is the Dean of Campus Life at my alma mater. She showed me that women can be strong leaders and taught me that growth starts at the end of my comfort zone.
I feel very optimistic about the future of Lowell’s Cambodian community. I see my peers graduating from college and entering well respected fields. I see more and more Cambodian leaders emerging in the community. I see high school kids paying more attention to their studies and their future. And since I currently work at UMass Lowell, I see a growing Cambodian student population striving for change and to make their parents proud. I’m very excited for our future.”
In her own words by Lada Lau