Women of Distinction


Nancy Xiao Liang (Left)

Liang, Vu and Ketchum


  • Outstanding International Woman Student, 2011
  • Lawrence Public Schools Chinese Translator, 2009-present
  • Student Senate International Student Association Senator 2008-‘09; School of Engineering Senator, 2009-‘10
  • Clark Coan International Student Leadership Award May 2011
  • Graduated with Chemical Engineering Department Honor May 2011
  • Institute of International Education Scholar 2007 – 2011
  • Joan Kirkham Mathematics Scholarship 2010-2011
  • David Scholarship in Engineering 2009-2010
  • May Landis Scholarship in Mathematics 2008-2009
  • Honors Program
  • Rolling S. Wade New Student Scholarship in Mathematics Spring 2008
  • Chinese Students & Scholars Friendship Association Vice-President 2007-2008
  • Center for Community Outreach Co-coordinator for Daily Bread Program 2009-2010
  • International Student Orientation Leader 2009-2011
  • University Advising Center Peer Advisor 2009-2010
  • Global Awareness Program Ambassador 2009-2010
  • KU Biodiesel Initiative 2008 – 2010
  • Mortar Board Honor Society
  • Phi Beta Delta Honor Society
  • Volunteered at Ecumenical Christian Ministries, Theater Lawrence, Douglas County AIDS Project, Alternative Breaks and etc.

How I became interested in my field:

I was ‘Undecided’ when I first started at KU. The honor Calculus class I took in the first semester made me consider majoring in engineering, and later in Chemical Engineering. I was good at math and science in high school, so engineering is a good fit.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me:

Helping international students/community has been most meaningful to me. As an international student myself, I experienced the cultural adjustment when I first started at KU. Being away from family and friends, I understood the hardship faced by international students to maintain a healthy balance of school and life. I was blessed to have the help and guidance from many people, so I felt obligated to return the favor and support others. I worked as an orientation leader to help incoming international students to start their journey at KU; I organized many cultural events to promote awareness on campus; and using my language barrier as an opportunity instead of a hindrance, I have worked with immigrant families and helped Lawrence Public School district translating send-home letters, immunization records and other important documents.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

I took a photography class from Prof. Pok-Chi Lau in my sophomore year, and he inspired me in many ways. He introduced the techniques of photography and more importantly he encouraged students to explore and capture the moment of society. He made a multimedia presentation on Chinese Immigrants at Cuba from his visit and fundraised for two singing ladies’ trip back to China after they moved to Cuba for decades. He taught me art could be a powerful tool to express strong messages to the audience and make immeasurable impact.

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:

I am always grateful for the abundance of support and love from family and friends. They motivate me to pursue my dreams and challenge myself.

My favorite KU memory:

  • Picnic by the Potter Lake on a beautiful spring day
  • Enjoying some good conversations with friends and the nice weather.

An important life lesson I have learned:

I have learned that we need to follow our hearts and devote ourselves to things we truly like.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know…

Get involved! KU has so much too offer, so try to find your niche on this campus.

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

My favorite quote is from J.K. Rowling, the author of my beloved Harry Potter series.

“It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Looking back, I went to a boarding school for middle school, studied at a high school 600 miles away from my family then attended college across the Pacific ocean from my home country. I never set boundaries, so there is always space for me to grow. Sometimes, the choices might seem to be outrageous to other people. However, the leap is necessary for any breakthroughs in life.