Barbara Pierre-Louis

From: Pétionville, Haiti  Current City: Oakdale, MN
"I speak five different languages, and I share everything I learn about these cultures with young people. I like developing young minds to be more globally-minded."
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Barbara Pierre-Louis loved the local color in Haiti: the variety of tropical flavors, the rhythmic music, and more. She missed these things when she left, but learned to love her new home. She uses these experiences and her role as an educator to open the minds of her students.

Born in Pétionville—a suburb of Port-au-Prince—Ms. Pierre-Louis was raised by her extended family after her parents went to the U.S. to find better opportunities. While she enjoyed living among her relatives and the lively Haitian culture, life in her home country had its share of struggles. Living in a home with extended family sometimes meant that there was not always enough food to go around.

At the age of seven, an aunt applied for a visa on behalf of Ms. Pierre-Louis. It was approved, and she flew to Miami, Florida to reunite with her parents. It took some time for Barbara to adjust to life in the U.S. Her family lived in cramped, one-bedroom apartment, and everything about America seemed strange—smells, food, language. School was particularly difficult. Ms. Pierre-Louis struggled with a language barrier and was bullied by her peers for being “different”.

After high school, Ms. Pierre-Louis attended the University of Florida for her undergraduate studies. Following that she earned her Master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota where she studied Spanish and Portuguese studies. Currently, Ms. Pierre-Louis is a educator at Metropolitan State University in the Twin Cities. Barbara lives in St. Paul with her husband and two children.

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