Mt. San Antonio College, ESL Program
Nominated in 2022
Yunting Li started taking ESL courses in 2019 in Level 5 at Mt. San Antonio College. Then the pandemic hit. Yunting not only had to overcome all the challenges and obstacles in everyday life in the United States, but she was overwhelmed by the rapid changes from in-person to online education, the stay-at-home orders, and the increasing anti-Asian sentiment and threats. On this point, she said, "One day, I was walking home from Mt. SAC, and two girls yelled at me, 'This is America, you Chinese go back to China with your dirty diseases!' After this experience, I was full of fear, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness, but with the help of professors and counselors, I was able to express what had happened to me. I received the support and encouragement I needed to go on."
After completing the ESL program at Mt. San Antonio College, she enrolled in the VESL Career Paths Program. In her own words: "I also took the Vocational ESL Program to improve my chances of getting a better job in the U.S. In the VESL program. I particularly benefited from the computer class because it covered Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint." A few months after completing the VESL Program, one of Yunting's professors recommended her to work as a student employee in the ESL Department. Yunting got the position, and she started her new job in the spring of 2022.
While she was a VESL student, she made a positive impression among professors and students alike. As her professors pointed out, Yunting was actively engaged with her classmates in all activities, and she used to help them with their assignments. After the VESL Program, Yunting was one of three students to receive the ESL Scholarship in 2021 to enroll in the American Language (AMLA) Program as a noncredit student. In this program, Yunting often volunteered to be the team leader in her classes and helped her classmates with difficult assignments. AMLA Professor Barbara Mezaki noted that Yunting's classmates always commented on how much help and support they received from their classmate, Yunting.
Yunting's future plans are to continue improving her English by taking credit courses at Mt. SAC and later to apply for a Master's in Fine Arts program. Her career goal is to become a ceramics professor to foster student's creativity through pottery.