Distinguished Alumni — Foundation & Alumni | Northcentral Technical College
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NTC Foundation

NTC’s Distinguished Alumni Award

This award recognizes Northcentral Technical College alumni who distinguish themselves in their chosen fields of endeavor, by active participation in community service and volunteer organizations, and by generous and selfless giving of time, efforts, talents and financial support to further the mission of Northcentral Technical College.

2014 Award Recipient Lee Lo

Owner, Compassion Personal Home Care

Lee Lo is an American success story. She came to the United States at the tender age of 14, relocating from a refugee camp in Thailand. Before coming to the U.S., Lo had little understanding of what life would be like here. Her only exposure was Red Cross nurses who came to tend to her dying four month old brother. Lo didn't understand who they were until she arrived in the States and was able to ask, through an interpreter, who the people were with red crosses on their hats. She learned, for the first time, the meaning of a nurse. At that moment she knew someday, somehow, she was going to be one.

School wasn’t easy for Lo. She needed to focus first on learning the English language before she could master reading, writing and mathematics. She was also a wife and mother throughout her high school career, in her native country it was an expectation that females marry in their early teens. During high school, she shared with her counselor her dream of becoming a nurse. Her counselor enrolled her in an NTC CNA course and Lo worked as a CNA, at Wausau Hospital throughout her senior year.

After graduating high school, Lo realized she still had a lot to learn before she could enroll in the nursing program. Over the next three years, she diligently worked in the NTC Learning Center to improve her English speaking, reading and writing skills. After gaining confidence, Lo enrolled in the Medical Terminology course to ensure she was ready. Medical Terminology is difficult enough for native English speakers; she knew if she could pass this class, then she was ready. Lo passed and started her nursing education at NTC, graduating with her associate degree in Nursing in 2008.

Lo is proud of her NTC degree and attributes her success to the opportunities that were made available to her during her enrollment. While in the program, Lo used all the resources available to support nursing students including tutoring services. She applied for, and received, multiple scholarships through the NTC Foundation. She was able to borrow a laptop through NTC’s lending program that allowed her to study from home in the evenings after her children had gone to bed.

Lo started her career as a Registered Nurse at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in 2008, worked part-time as a medical interpreter for Marshfield Clinic, and was the main caretaker for her father, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. Lo learned much about what went into caring for a terminally ill family member and eventually needed to drop down to working part-time in order to care for her father’s declining health. She found a home health agency able to step in and support Lo and her family with his care. During that time Lo started realizing another dream, helping other people in similar situations who were caring for elderly or ill family members. Lo and her husband started setting aside money to begin their own home health agency.

In December of 2011, Lo and her husband opened Compassion Personal Home Care. The original employees were Lo and her secretary. Since then, Lo’s company has grown to 157 employees caring for hundreds of patients and their families in Wausau and the surrounding communities.

Lo, even with her responsibilities as an employer, wife, mother and nurse, still finds time to give back to her community. She regularly provides workshops through the Wausau Area Hmong Mutual Association to educate elderly members of the Hmong community about medications, health care policies and advocating for services. She provides regular blood pressure and blood sugar checks as well as assistance with citizenship and SSI applications. She has a booth at the annual Hmong New Year’s celebration, offering free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings.

Lo is active on the local YWCA Board and participates as part of the committee for “Men Who Cook”, a successful annual fundraising event that supports programming for young girls and women in the community. Most recently, she is the newest member of the NTC Board of Trustees.

Lo is an advocate of technical college education. She encourages and supports young women in the Hmong community to enroll at NTC and pursue their dreams. She tells them her story and encourages them to overcome barriers, letting them know about the resources and services that NTC provides to support their education. She has been a successful recruiter for the College as a result, including helping her own sister get through the Nursing program. She also encourages and supports her employees continuing their education at NTC.

Lo has reached a point where she has been able to hire another nurse to take her place in the company and plans to continue her pursuit of her BSN. She now has her sights set on her next dream—a master’s degree in Nursing. Still, she attributes her success to her time at NTC, “Without the time and knowledge that NTC has given me, I would not be here today.”

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

  • 2012: Janice Gulsvig, Co-Founder, My InnerView
  • 2011: Shelly Mondeik, Vice President of Learning, NTC
  • 2010: Yolanda Voight, Director of Volunteer Services, Aspirus Wausau Hospital
  • 2009: Ben Zelazoski, Co-Owner, Zelazoski Wood Products, Inc.

Outstanding Alumni

See what some outstanding alumni are saying in their own words.

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