GSU alumna from China: "I felt like I belonged"
GSU Alumna Dr. Jintong Tang’s ('03) two years at the university were unforgettable. For one, it’s when she met her husband, who is also a GSU alum. But those two years also marked her first experiences in the U.S. after moving from China to pursue a Masters Degree in Management Information Systems.
Dr. Tang admits her early days in the country were lonely. She felt lost and confused in a new culture and faced the challenge of understanding a different language. But that confusion didn’t last long thanks to the way GSU welcomed her with open arms, she says. For her, that experience highlight’s GSU’s commitment to diversity and equity.
“I felt like I was included, I’m appreciated and that I could be who I am,” she says. "I felt like I belonged there.”
She not only found support from her teachers but from the university’s Office of International Services, which assists future, admitted and current students and faculty navigating challenges unique to international visitors. The staff there helped her in choosing courses, opening a bank account and choosing a place to live.
“I never got any impatient looks in that office,” says Tang, who went onto the University of Alabama to receive her Ph.D. in Management after receiving her masters at GSU.
She currently works at the Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University, where she serves as the Mary Louis Murray Endowed Professor of Management and Professor of Entrepreneurship. She’s published more than 60 papers in premier entrepreneurship and management journals, made more than 70 conference presentations and more than 15 invited presentations at universities in the U.S. and abroad.
Recently she was nominated as a finalist for GSU’s Inaugural Alumni Award during a celebration of the university's most distinguished alumni. In a LinkedIn post, Dr. Tang expressed her gratitude for the nomination, writing “I was beyond humbled and honored to be selected as a finalist” for the award. “I am extremely grateful that Governors State University not only provided me with two of the most unforgettable years in my life but also the #knowledge and #skills that prepared me well for my #PHD and for my career.”
She credits GSU for giving her the foundation to achieve those things, noting the university’s “world class” faculty inspired her to continue her education. One of those individuals was College of Business Dean Jun Zhao, who remembers Dr. Tang from a 2001 class.
“I have watched her professional growth in amazement over the years, and am so proud that GSU played a role in her academic, professional, and personal journey,” Zhao says.
In addition to support from faculty like Dr. Zhao, Tang says her foundation was strengthened by the ample opportunities she had to get hands-on experience in her field, including an assistanceship in a university computer lab.
“That work experience helped me apply what we learned in the classroom,” Tang says.