Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Meet your Mrs. Minnesota 2013 " Andrea Bennett Xiong

My name is Andrea Bennett Xiong and I was born  in Minneapolis, MN. I have four siblings and my mom and dad are Alton and Verlayne Bennett. As early as grade school I developed a passion for community service while attending Dowling Urban Environmental Learning Center where I learned the importance of being socially responsible. As a kid I learned about community service by accompany my dad on many of his trips as a social activist throughout Minnesota and traveling even as far as the nation’s capital.

In 1991 my family moved to Woodbury where I attended middle and high school. In high school, I participated in softball, soccer, track, gymnastics, dance, and choir, while I worked many jobs including nanny, lifeguard at the local YMCA, water safety instructor, and model. After graduating with honors from Woodbury High School in 1998, I left home to pursue a liberal arts education at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. In college I continued to be active in such groups as the Black Student Union, La Fuerza Latina, Ladies Night Out (LNO)-the women’s acapella group, Student Government, and even got to travel overseas to Portugal with Denison’s Gospel Choir to perform concerts just to name a few.

In 2002, I completed my undergraduate degree in Humanities with a focus on Women’s Studies from Denison University. After college I moved back to Minnesota where I kept myself busy by working in childcare at Children’s Home Society, as a receptionist at Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council, nutrition services at Hennepin County Medical Center, volunteering with local youth groups, singing in a local band, and pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. In 2009, I completed my graduate studies in Human Resources and shortly after my Certificate in Policy Issues on Work and Pay.

On May 28, 2011, after two years of dating, I married my husband Tou Ger Bennett Xiong, a nationally-known activist and artist. Currently, I am employed as the Human Resource Staffing Specialist at an inner-city charter school which serves over 900 students. In my spare time I enjoy singing, journaling, writing poetry, watching movies, vision boarding with friends, and occasionally serving as a spiritual life coach to my friends upon request. Recently, my husband and I adopted a baby Chihuahua named Abbey.

For the past 15 years, I have been passionately advocating for girls and women. In 2012, as Mrs. St. Paul, I partnered with the Love Is Not Abuse Coalition, a teen dating violence education advocacy group, and competed in the statewide Mrs. Minnesota International Pageant. On March 16, 2013, I was honored and humbled to be crowned Mrs. Minnesota International 2013. I will go on to compete for the title of Mrs. International in Chicago on July of 2013. I am excited and look forward to serving this great state as your Mrs. Minnesota International 2013.

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