Salt Lake City education advisor honored for overcoming obstacles to help other students

Salt Lake City Senior Education Advisor Angela Doan was honored today by the multi-state education organization ASPIRE with the Utah Trio Achiever Award. She received the award for persisting in her educational goals while making significant civic, community and professional contributions.

Those contributions started after University of Utah’s Upward Bound academic advisor Maria Baldwin saw potential in Doan when she was an eighth grader at Glendale Middle School. Baldwin got her involved in Upward Bound, an ASPIRE program that prepares students from low-income families who have the potential to become first generation college students. Upward Bound is focused on students from ninth to twelfth grade but Doan was one of the few selected to participate in the program starting in eighth grade. 

The program supported and inspired Doan to get a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Utah and return to her community in Glendale to be a fourth-grade teacher at Edison Elementary School. 

She went on to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership and a law degree at Boston College. During her studies, Doan worked at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Massachusetts Advocates for Children and the New England Innocence Project. She now oversees education policy at the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office.

“Angela deserves recognition for the groundbreaking work she is doing to end the school-to-prison pipeline,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Her personal and professional background gives her a unique insight to identify the gaps in the education system and find solutions, so every student has a chance for academic success.”

Doan’s parents came as refugees from Vietnam to Utah in the early 80s, not knowing a word of English. When her grandparents arrived in the U.S., their first jobs were working as night-time custodians at the City and County Building, the same place where their granddaughter is now working. 

Doan said she is driven to give students the same chance at an education she was given. “As the first generation to be American born, I know in one generation, access to education through great teachers and mentors can lead to incredible academic and professional success. This success should be the norm for all students. I believe it can be the norm.”

The Utah Trio Achiever Award was given to Doan today at the Bigelow Hotel in Ogden, Utah. More information about the Upward Bound program can be found at https://trio.utah.edu/upward-bound/.