China to Alabama to Rock Island Arsenal - one intern's journey to love & success
March 28, 2013
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Love stories happen every day around the world. Many stories we may never hear anything about. One intern from China has defined love against all odds by moving to America, which changed her life and career plans.
While most Minority College Relations Program interns range in age from 21 to 25 and are undergraduates or recent graduates, one intern is twice that age and already has her master's degree.
Yuan White, of Chinese ancestry and married now to a retired Soldier, has attained her master's degree in business administration with a concentration in logistics and supply chain management, from Alabama A&M University.
White currently interns at Army Sustainment Command, in G-8, Resource Management.
The ASC and Joint Munitions Command MCRP mission is to develop collaborative programs within the commands, allowing minority institutions to participate in the programs and enhancing the future readiness of each through these partnerships.
The MCRP vision statement calls for expanding mutually beneficial partnering opportunities between the Army and minority educational institutions.
Originally from Beijing, White moved to Huntsville, Ala., in 2003 after meeting Randell White while she was working for the Chinese government as a senior engineer and team leader.
Yuan had lived in China for more than 30 years.
Randell served as an Army noncommissioned officer for 20 years and retired in 1996.
After her husband retired, Randell worked as a computer technician in California.
"We were working on a fisheries quality system and we needed many computers to support the new system," White said. "His company was a business between the U.S. and China. He travelled to China, if they needed him."
Over the course of three years Randell would visit Yuan in China while he was working for the company.
White said they knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
For them, it meant waiting patiently while working through the immigration process.
"But because of 9-11, it was a very slow process with immigration because of the staff shortage," White said.
Normally, the process would take three to six months, but in White's case the process took three years.
Before moving to the U.S., White quit her job in China and changed her career plans to follow her heart.
"It took three years for us to finally be together, since the day he asked me, 'Would you marry me?'" White said.
White described Randell as a tall man, with a big heart and an honest nature. They've been married 10 years.
The MCRP internship for White means an opportunity to not only gain experience but a chance to support the Army.
White said she wants to serve as a civilian in the Army because she's learned a lot about the Army from her husband.
"The Army's is a part of my family, I want to give back to the organization," she said.
In 10 weeks, White has already passed 16 training classes in Army learning management systems and worked on three projects in her department.
White's internship in ASC has helped her understand the General Fund Enterprise Business System, which is a decision support tool that will provide reliable data to better enable Army leaders in decision making to support the warfighters.
It has also helped White understand how ASC is working to decrease costs.
Graduating with a 3.8 GPA, White was recommended by the dean of her department to seek a doctorate's in accounting but decided to apply for the internship instead.
Even with budget cuts and sequestration, she has high hopes of landing a job.
"It's hard to find a job right now but I am still seeking a government job," White said.
White plans to continue her education to become a certified public accountant.
This semester, the MCRP accepted six recent graduates and seven undergrad students. The interns receive a biweekly stipend, housing and transportation to and from work.
Jasmine Vinson, a quality assurance intern, is White's roommate and has enjoyed getting to know her.
"I like being Yuan's roommate because it has definitely been a learning experience for me. She has taught me things about her culture and she is a genuine person that I'm glad I got a chance to meet," she said.
In April, White and the other interns will brief the ASC and JMC leadership on their completed projects and lessons learned.
White said she has thoroughly enjoyed her internship.
"I'm older but I've learned so much from the other interns. Their cultures and their different backgrounds have taught me so much," White said.
After this internship, White said she will reside in Alabama seeking employment and starting a family.