Green Bay, Wis. (WFRV) – A first-generation immigrant from China, Fanni Xie came to the U.S. for her education; But she got much more than she bargained for.“My Mom’s first job was a translator so she traveled around the world when I was little,” Xie recalled. We were thinking maybe Western style education (would be) simple for me, so that’s why eventually after high school I came to America for college,” she said…. she knew college would be expensive.That’s when a friend made a suggestion; Join the Army reserves, a low-commitment way to help pay for school.
“When I signed up (for the Army), there was a list of jobs that I could choose from and there was one called a Behavioral Health Specialist and I didn’t know what it was, but I thought that might be a job that I can learn from,” said Xie. Xie spent the next year training, learning things like psychological evaluation and PTSD treatment, assisting licensed providers with treating her fellow soldiers.But everything was about to change; Xie and the 113th Combat Stress Control unit were deploying to Afghanistan.
“The first day I went to my reserve unit, the commander locked us in a room, closed the curtains, took our phones and said, ‘You guys are deploying,’” Xie recalled. “Yeah, so much for reserve soldiers two times a month right?” she said.It was during that year in Afghanistan in 2011, supporting her fellow soldiers, when Xie discovered just how passionate she really was about the human mind.
She’s now in the Social Work program at UW-Green Bay.