Three-Year-Old Graduate Creates Her Own Story; while specializing

“Learning about history is like looking through a window of the past,” Noorjot Kaur recalled his Rio Vista Middle School teacher said on the first day of class.

As she sat in front of the class, watching a slide show about the importance of learning history, the aspiring lawyer realized it was up to her to create her own.

“In order to understand why I chose history as my major, you have to learn my story and that of my parents,” Kaur said.

Kaur was born in San Jose and raised in Selma until age 7, when she was taken to India to live with her grandparents while her parents returned to the United States. They struggled to become financially stable after their restaurant collapsed due to the 2008 recession.

Kaur said that at her school in India, bad behavior and poor grades had physical repercussions. “In India, teachers [were] allowed to hit you for doing wrong,” Kaur said. “Despite having to work twice as hard as my other classmates, I quickly rose to the top and was always one of the top five students in my class.”

After a few years, she returned to the United States. By then, her parents had lost their home and filed for bankruptcy. She had forgotten most of her English and was struggling in school, but she held herself to a higher standard and put more pressure on herself to do better – just like she had in India .

Eventually, her parents were able to open another restaurant in Fresno — Royal Taj Fine Indian Cuisine — and Kaur said that limited their free time to spend with her. However, they still paid attention to his newsletter.

“I remember how happy my parents were when I got A’s in sixth grade. I would do anything to make them that happy again,” Kaur said. “That’s why I never got what let it be less than an A in my educational career.”

In college, she was recognized as an honor student. She graduated from Bullard High School in Fresno as valedictorian, with principal’s honors and a number of academic achievements and student involvement.

She then attended Fresno City College, where she volunteered with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability to research Proposition 218 – the right to vote on the tax initiative, and create an information sheet for residents. She received her certificate of completion from the Law Pathways program and transferred to Fresno State. She had longed to become a bulldog ever since her older sister took her to the Henry Madden Library when she was in high school.

This year, she was honored as the Fresno State College of Social Sciences Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist. The opening ceremony of the College of Social Sciences is at 10:15 a.m. Friday, May 20at the SaveMart Center.

Kaur articled at the immigration law firm Singh Ahluwalia as a legal intern and participates in the UCLA Law Scholars Program. As of April 2021, after becoming a legal assistant, Kaur continues to work with asylum seekers and immigrant victims of violence in the United States.

As a future lawyer, Kaur hopes to provide the same services and assistance to immigrants and asylum seekers just as her parents once needed.

“Kaur is an exceptional student. The fact that she rose to all of these challenges and excelled at every turn speaks volumes about her abilities and work ethic,” said Dr. William Skuban, President of the Department of History at Fresno State. “Plus, she got her BA in three years, despite all the challenges of the pandemic.”

Thanks to her determination, Kaur flourished at all levels of her education while working long hours to help her parents in their restaurant. She still works there, doing everything from serving to managing the restaurant’s social media.

Perhaps because of her childhood experience of being transported halfway around the world and then removed, Kaur developed a source of empathy for people caught between two worlds.

She also works as a paralegal at a law firm specializing in helping ease the pain of the immigration experience for those trying to seek asylum in the United States. She helps asylum seekers in many ways, while using her fluency in Hindi, Punjabi and Spanish.

“Through her efforts, she provides excellent service to a desperate and needy community in Fresno, and found inspiration for the future,” Skuban said.

In history, there is never a formula, equation or format. It was and is a story. Kaur said her goal is to make a difference in the Fresno community and be known as a proud Fresno State alumnus.

“The blood, sweat and tears my parents shed to build their lives, and mine, are not forgotten.”

Celebrating the Class of 2022
FresnoStateNews.com highlights the stories of inspiring students who will be graduating this spring. The opening ceremonies of the eight colleges and schools of the University as well as several celebrations of affinity will take place on May 20 and 21. commencement.fresnostate.edu for more details.

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