See Lee joins WISE as the first full-time WeLEAD Program Coordinator. WeLEAD is WISE’ post-secondary support program and aims to help immigrant and refugee women and girls transition into higher education. This includes financial aid guidance, homework help, and leadership skills training. As the WeLEAD Program Coordinator, it is See’s job to help the girls navigate higher education and connect them to resources in the Twin Cities. Although See comes to WISE with a background in college coaching and at-risk youth advocacy, it is her personal experience navigating college and job hunting that brought her to WISE.
“I felt like there was not a lot of support [in the schools] and even if there was support there wasn’t a lot of POC doing the work when I was growing up. Today, many students are obtaining a degree, which is amazing, but not a lot of students know what to do after, such as how to get a job or use their skills. That’s what led me to work with nonprofits in the education area. The leadership in many organizations don’t represent the population served, however WISE is unlike that. WISE is also smaller so it values quality coaching over quantity.”
In serving her community, See feels like she is doing something impactful and important. She loves that WISE has such a flexible and supportive team, as well as a group of WeLEAD girls who are respectful and hardworking. Because the WeLEAD Coordinator was initially a less than part-time position, See had to put a lot of effort into re-building WeLEAD participant relationships with WISE. “My relationship with them helps them build the confidence to speak up and ask for help,” says See. She believes that relationship is key to supporting her girls and helping them build the confidence to advocate for themselves. Something See has valued in getting to know her students is learning about the different cultures and populations WISE serves.
“When I become silence, I enable others to walk over me. [Immigrant and refugee] students have a difficult time speaking up for themselves and telling others what they think. The moment I found my voice things become smooth for me.”
In her position, See looks forward to building her network with other advocates in the Twin Cities in order to help her students navigate their own path.
“I believe in partnerships with stakeholders so that I can connect students. A degree is good but it’s all about how to use your network to get to your final destination. It helps students be advocate for themselves and lead themselves.
When I become silence, I enable others to walk over me. [Immigrant and refugee] students have a difficult time speaking up for themselves and telling others what they think. The moment I found my voice things become smooth for me.”
See lacked a strong support group growing up, but now as an adult, she hopes to be able to offer support and kindness to those who need it. “I got support from TRiO and academic advisors, which empowered me to help others,” says See.
Outside of WISE, See enjoys learning about business management and real estate investment. Her and her sister are rising entrepreneurs in the real estate investment business! Congratulations to See and welcome to the Women of WISE team!