Let Us Introduce You: Yuan Gao

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Courtesy of Yuan Gao

CGC Program Coordinator Speaks on Increasing Diversity

She may still be learning the ropes at Saint Louis University, but Yuan Gao has already immersed herself in efforts to enhance SLU’s diversity and inclusion. The new Program Coordinator for Multicultural Education, Gao was welcomed by the University in June and has since been proactive at her first full-time job.

“I really like the University’s emphasis on service and being men and women of others,” said Gao. Taking this aspect of SLU’s mission to heart, the program coordinator has devoted her education and career path towards helping students to feel welcomed at their school. Through her involvement with the Intergroup Dialogue course and her position as advisor on many student organizations, such as Hispanic American Leadership Association (HALO), Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and Asian American Association (AAA), Gao has already started work in bettering this inclusion aspect of SLU’s mission.

“I really enjoy working with the student organizations,” said Gao. “It’s a really rewarding experience to learn with them and grow with them and to help the students develop their leadership skills.”

Gao began her studies in Beijing, receiving an undergraduate degree in international relations. She then went on to study public policy and political science at the University of Missouri, where she is currently still enrolled as a Ph.D. student, and she will receive her doctorate degree in December. Gao has always been interested in such communicative, international studies and hopes to soon be recognized as an expert in her field.

“I guess I was always interested in making connections,” Gao said, “reaching out to other nations and seeking collaborations – regional and international.”

While studying at the University of Missouri, she came upon a dialogue series that inspired her to help promote diversity and inclusion. She then turned her focus on developing and implementing such diversity programs, raising awareness on diversity issues and empowering others to affect positive social change.

“Slowly I realized that that was my passion and my long-term career interest and goal,” she said. Gao is very hopeful for her involvement in such diversity programs this year, and has thus far helped to plan panel discussions for the fall semester that address race and sexual orientation.

“I really wanted to make a difference and develop some programs like this to raise awareness about some really important social issues on campus,” Gao stated. The program coordinator looks to be an official Intergroup Dialogue instructor in the spring, and is helping with efforts to expand the program.

Thus far, Gao has found her favorite aspect of her job to be the collaboration between the different departments. She enjoys focusing on the interpersonal relationships and working with faculty and students. When she’s not busy building relationships and working towards social justice, Gao finds herself exploring the St. Louis area for museums, good coffee shops, and great eateries.

“I’m an aspiring foodie,” said Gao. She wants to try all of the exceptional food places around the city – and in the meantime has become a regular at SLU’s nearby coffee shop Cafe Ventana.