Graduate Student Spotlight: Cheng Peng

Cheng Peng on the campus green

   Meet Cheng Peng. She is from Beijing, China, and currently living in Aberdeen, South Dakota, as a graduate student at Northern State University.
   With her graduate studies focused on Educational Studies, she plans on working with international students in the future and be dedicated in International Education.
   Peng was an exchange student at Northern in August of 2012, but after she finished one year in the exchange program, she decided to transfer to Northern as a full time student.
   She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance in May 2015, and she is currently pursuing her graduate degree at Northern.
   During her undergraduate career and her current graduate career, Peng is involved with many activities at Northern such as  her role as Northern Gypsy Day Queen candidate in 2016, being an NSU Ambassador, Welcome Week Leader, International Ambassador, Student Association Graduate School Senator, Cheerleader, and the President of Chinese Student Association (CSA). Peng has also worked for the Office of International Programs for the past three years. Among other duties, she helps with international new student orientation and pick up every year.
   She enjoys being active and being able to help international students that come to study at Northern.
   She loves how she can get involved in so many activities on campus as one of the international students. She hopes that by being so active she will be able to change some of the American students’ views on international students.

Cheng Peng, NSU Graduate Student

   Peng wants to show that not all international students stay within their cultural group, as is a common misconception. Several enjoy being active with students from different cultures as well.
   Outside of Northern, Peng is a member of NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisors) and does volunteer work in the Aberdeen community throughout the year.
   In the summer of 2016, Peng worked as a Northern State University admission’s representative in China. She visited the EducationUSA student advising centers in Beijing as well as Shanghai. She also visited Northern’s partner schools in Beijing, Jinan, and Shanghai.
   In addition, while in China, Peng went to various universities and high schools, giving presentations about Northern State to potential exchange students.
   Peng enjoyed being a Northern admission’s representative, saying, “I got a chance to meet exchange students before they came to Northern and talk about what they should do at Northern.”
   Some of Peng’s professional accomplishments that mark her time at NSU were being on the Dean’s List from spring 2013 to spring 2015, and she was voted the Student Employee of the Year in 2014. Peng was also on the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges list from spring, 2014 to spring, 2015, and she won the NAFSA Region IV Outstanding Student Award in 2016.
   She is appreciative of several faculty at Northern, but the person who has been the most influential to Peng is Stacey Schmidt, the International Student Coordinator, who is not only her mentor but friend as well.
   Peng has learned a lot about international education from Schmidt, and she truly appreciates how Schmidt has helped her for the past four years.
   Peng is grateful for her time at Northern and all of the great individuals she has met. She hopes to continue to work with future Northern students.

Alysha Martinez

Photos courtesy Cheng Peng.