March 7, 2022

Students at Miami worked with BVU undergrads last year to produce written and multimedia profiles of numerous residents of Storm Lake. In the spring of 2022, we will be publishing the results of this collaboration and of research in progress on this website.

Sponsored in part by the Storm Lake Community School District, “Small Town, Big World” has the goal of letting regional (and global) audiences into the lives and experiences of the people, from all backgrounds, who call the town “home.”

The first profile is on the Storm Lake Police Department’s Pom Kavan, who has faithfully served as the Community Service Officer to the Laotian community and beyond for the past twenty-seven years. Her work for the SLPD and the community has been essential to building trust between authorities and newcomers, especially. As a celebration of her retirement, and a well-wishing for her future endeavors, we are pleased to kick off the profile series with her story.

We’d like to add here that the working relationship between Storm Lakers and Miami students has been mutually beneficial. Just this morning we received an email from Olivia LeRoux, a former student from last year’s class on Storm Lake, who has gone on to attend law school at Ohio State. LeRoux provided an update on her career: that she has accepted a summer internship at the USDA’s Office of the General Counsel, in their Marketing Regulatory and Food Safety Programs division.

LeRoux writes, “I will be working with the office to research and help construct regulations for the Food Safety and Inspections Services as well as the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration. … Being able to talk about our Storm Lake research and how invested I had become in agricultural communities through that experience gave me an incredible advantage in my job search. I really look forward to being able to apply what we researched and hopefully be able to bring that knowledge to my internship and maybe even make a small difference in communities like Storm Lake.”

LeRoux’s update is especially notable and timely because she is the very author of the profile on Pom Kavan! It’s quite fitting, then, that we begin this series, and this website, with Kavan’s story, as told by LeRoux.

We welcome your comments and criticisms. Please be in touch!

Haley Knuth, Co-Editor,
Sam Purkiss, Co-Editor,
Dr. Andrew Offenburger,

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