Hui Jiang

Hui Jiang
Photo by David Schmitz

Dean’s Scholar

Major: Child & Adolescent Development
Connie L. Lurie College of Education

Why did you choose your major?

Various reasons contributed to my decision to major in Child and Adolescent Development. One reason is that my grandma was an elementary teacher. She inspired me want to be an educator when I was young. Initially, I studied business in college while I was in China. I worked as a part-time teacher in a language institution during my college years. I was always delighted when second and third graders gave me hand-made flowers and cards to show their appreciation. It was such a rewarding and fun experience to work with children. When I had the chance to go back to school, it was without a doubt that I would choose to major in Child and Adolescent Development.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

Receiving this award is a great honor. I feel deeply grateful to my professors, friends and family who have helped and supported me along the way. Succeeding in college is hard. Learning as a second language learner is even harder. I have to study harder than I ever have before. There are times when I feel extremely overwhelmed by my research papers or frustrated that I have to re-read class materials many times in order for it to make sense. Sometimes I doubt myself and question whether I made the right decision to study in another country. The award is an acknowledgement for my hard work. It reminds me all the difficulties are temporary, and it motivates me keep moving forward in my future academic and career life.

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life?  In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

I am fortunate to be surround by so many kind and lovely people in my life. There are so many people who have influenced me significantly in different ways in my life. The person who has had the greatest influence in my life is my grandma. She raised me and my little brother. She was the one who taught me to be content with what I have and appreciate others. She taught me to work hard and dream big. Next, my parents have also had a huge impact on me. Their ongoing support and love means a lot to me. Since I was little, my dad taught me to make decisions on my own and be responsible. My mom is a hard working woman. Her dedication for our whole family inspires me in so many ways. In addition, I am grateful for the Ratliff and Chin family. These two lovely families treated me like a part of the family and made me feel at home in a foreign country. Carla Carvalho, a determined and hard working career woman, has had a great influence on me. She has been a big sister, mentor and a role model to me over the past 5 years. She is the one always expects me to do well and tells me I can do it. Also, my good friends Priscilla and Danielle, have been a great support and help for me academically. I am truly appreciative each and every one of them.

One SJSU faculty member who has contributed most to my academic success is Dr. John Jabagchourian. I have taken 3 classes with him, and I am so glad I am in his senior seminar class. He is acknowledgeable, approachable, supportive and motivating. He genuinely cares for his students and wants them to learn and do well. I’ve learned so much about children’s cognition, research methods and policy in child and adolescent development in his classes. He is also a role model who inspires me to wholeheartedly give and love the children I work with. In addition, Dr. Donna Bee-Gates, Prof. Maria Fusaro, Prof. Gary Cava, and Prof. Joy Foster have taught and inspired me how to motivate, support, and work with children and youth. There are many more. I deeply appreciate all the professors who have taught me, all the advisors, counselors, faculty members who have helped me. I feel a sense of strong community and belonging at SJSU because each of them. 

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

There are so many experiences that have shaped me into who I am today. One experience I want to mention is the decision I made to come to the U.S. through a cultural exchange program as an Au Pair 6 years ago. It was a humbling and amazing experience. Living in a foreign country taught me different things. It taught me to get out of my comfort zone to make friends. Additionally, it helped me to be independent and courageous. It taught me perseverance, persistence, to appreciate diversity and embrace differences.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

One thing I want to tell students to attain academic excellence is to utilize the great resources SJSU provides and to not be afraid to seek help. All the professors and advisors are here for you. Go visit your professors during their office hours if you ever need help with papers or are confused about the class material. Another thing I want to add is that it is important to set goals and plan ahead. Working on assignments last minute is not efficient and not fun.

What makes you a Spartan?

I think my perseverance and determination makes me a Spartan. I am proud and glad to be a Spartan.


Nominated by John Jabagchourian
Professor, Child & Adolescent Department

“I believe a first-generation student who works very hard in her academics - something she clearly values. Very modest who is continually working on improving her skills even when she is already excelling.”