Mosaic Stories

    Quang Zhang

    Having lived in St. Louis since he was ten years old, Quang Zhang has long considered this region home. Originally from Beijing, China, the Zhang family moved to the United States so Quang’s father could study at the University of West Virginia at Morgantown. His father then went on to pursue his doctorate at the University of Missouri at Columbia, and the family eventually settled in St. Louis.

    The move to the United States was quite a transition for the Zhang family, who did not speak English aside from Quang’s father. Quang said the language barrier was a significant challenge, and while he was able to become fluent through ESL classes, his parents still struggle. Aside from the language barrier, Quang faced the typical difficulties of switching schools at a young age when he moved to St. Louis.

    The Zhangs are extremely family oriented, which is what led Quang to attend Saint Louis University for college. While at St. Louis University, Quang triple majored in Political Science, International Studies, and Economics. He also had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. After graduating, Quang started law school. He described this decision: “I’ve always liked law and to debate and argue. My mom also liked it and thought it was something I should do.” 

    Quang also became interested in joining the police force when his former roommate became a St. Louis city officer. Midway through law school at St. Louis University, Quang had the opportunity to join the police force. “They gave me an opportunity to put me through the Academy. It was the municipality I wanted to work for because it is where a lot of Chinese immigrants have stores and businesses. It was my opportunity to use my second language skills and serve the community that my grandmother lives in. That was something I didn’t want to pass up.”

    Giving back to his community was very important to Quang, and he has enjoyed his time as a police officer. He said, “It’s definitely a changing vocation. I really enjoy being able to help people and empathize with them, but I also see some of the worst of human nature. It’s an interesting field, and I feel like it has been rewarding.” Quang especially appreciates that he can serve the Chinese community in St. Louis, with which his family has always been greatly involved. Quang attended Chinese school growing up, and his mother is very involved with the church. The St. Louis Christian Chinese Community Service Center helped the Zhangs when they initially moved to St. Louis.

    Quang enjoys living in St. Louis and said, “I like the midwestern values. It’s a nice area to raise a family, and the cost of living is reasonable. There’s just everything you could want here.” He also touched on the importance of welcoming and supporting immigrants. “Immigrants bring in more than just the ability to work; they bring their core values. It is something that my parents have always instilled in me-- hard work, work ethic, and integrity. Some people might not think that immigrants possess these values, but they do. I think they bring more to the table than what meets the eye.” Quang recently passed the legal bar examination and looks forward to continuing his career of public service.