Zifan "Stefan" Kang | Student Stories

Zifan ‘Stefan’ Kang
Meet Zifan “Stefan” Kang

Entire Nebraska community lifts Kang to next stage in life

May 6, 2021 | by Aaliyah Wells-Samci

Zifan “Stefan” Kang's favorite part about moving to Nebraska from his hometown in Xinjiang, China was the kindness and comfort he was welcomed with by all different kinds of people.

"I believe 'Nebraska Nice' is more than a slogan that people say on words, but rather are actions and I am pretty thankful for those moves," Kang said. "Respect, dignity and acceptance can be demonstrated pretty well by this place."

Kang in orientation holding a signOne of the most transformational moments for Kang during his time at UNL was during his role as part of the International Welcome Team for three years. The Welcome Team works with New Student Enrollment to greet and help new international students adjust to UNL and Lincoln, Nebraska each semester.

"Not only [did] me and my team members took care of new international students with our knowledge and expertise, but also, we managed to become lifelong friends," Kang said. "From this job, I became more mature, driven, determined, ambitious, and responsible. In a word, it shaped me to a better person."

Everything I did, both outside and inside the classroom, were involved with students and teachers from all over the world. I take this as a huge privilege and I am really satisfied I was part of the global community at UNL.

Zifan “Stefan” Kang

Kang has committed much of his time at the university to helping the international community even after new students arrive. From being a note taker, teaching assistant and undergraduate research assistant, he was involved with and helped students from all over the world. Kang considers one of his greatest privileges as a Husker to be the fact that everything he did at UNL was working with people from different backgrounds.

Kang in NSE welcome team

As a research assistant in the College of Business, Kang work with Dr. Yijia Lin in the finance department. His main tasks were to track data from different actuarial and finance journals, maintain the university's actuarial science website database and search for articles from external sources to record data and conduct research to aid his professor's publishing articles.

In addition to the skills he learned from working with Dr. Lin, Kang wants to give a special thank you to Dr. Uche Jarrett in the economics department.

"Uche (finally I can call you this as I graduated!), despite I have said it many times, I would like to say once again that I am so thankful for everything!" Kang said. "You are the trailblazer who made both my study and future look clearer for me. I am so lucky to have you as a teacher, mentor and good friend."

To Kang, graduating from Nebraska means stepping into a new stage of life — all while looking at his past experiences at UNL fondly. He plans to pursue his master's degree studying higher education in the next year in either Austin, Texas or Madison, Wisconsin.

"I was well protected and taken good care of by people from UNL when I first came, I want to pass this feeling to others, so I joined and became one of them," Kang said as he reflected on his time at Nebraska. "I am also super glad to see that what I have done had positive impacts on others and they pass the torch along the way."

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