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Dalia Kyi

Dalia Kyi

When Dalia Kyi moved to Des Moines three years ago, she was determined to lend a hand to immigrants looking to establish a footing in the United States. She quickly learned that DMACC's Urban Campus was the perfect place to set her dreams in motion.

"Growing up, I never thought I would be given the opportunity to come to the United States and pursue a college degree," Dalia says. She was born in Burma, raised in Thailand, and moved to Rockford, Illinois, in 2008. "This has been a dream come true."

Dalia says in moving to Des Moines, she planned to work to help support her family while her brother enrolled in college. She says the cost for both of them to attend at the same time would have been impossible for the family to bear.

But, in exploring options at Urban Campus, Dalia learned that she was eligible for a DMACC Foundation Scholarship. She says the financial support made it possible for her to start school right away.

"It was enough that I could go to school and just work part-time," she says. "Without the support of the DMACC Foundation, I couldn't do it."

The support has enabled Dalia to move more rapidly toward her career goal of becoming a social worker with an emphasis on serving the immigrant community. She plans to transfer to Grand View University after completing her work at Urban Campus. Interestingly, social work is also what her brother is studying.

"As first-generation college students, we will be the first two in our family to get degrees," Dalia says. "That makes me very proud."

And her course work has her looking forward.

"It is very important to me to give back to my community," Dalia says. "When I came here I didn't speak any English and today I see others struggling like I did. That's why I want to be a social worker. I want to show them they can make it here."

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