- A State Department official discovered to have embellished her work history also appeared to have fabricated her educational experience, which is limited to attending unaccredited universities and seminars.
- Mina Chang, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary to the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, has made misleading claims about her education at Harvard Business School, according to NBC News.
- Business Insider has learned that she also did not complete a six-day program at Southern Methodist University in Texas, where she claimed to have taken a leadership course.
- “Anyone with basic due diligence would have been able to catch this,” a former State Department official told Business Insider. “It’s insane that someone with such flimsy credentials could get into the State Department.”
- In 2014, Chang told a Dallas newspaper she had a career in music during which she recorded albums in Korean and English before the 2010 earthquake in Haiti prompted her to pursue nonprofit work.
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A State Department official discovered to have embellished her work history also appeared to have fabricated her educational experience, which is limited to attending unaccredited universities and seminars.
Mina Chang, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary to the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, has made misleading claims about her work experience, according to an NBC News investigation.
Chang, who joined the Trump administration in April, was nominated to manage the US Agency for International Development in Asia and its $1 billion budget. She was passed on the position and assumed her current position in the State Department.
The educational history on Chang’s LinkedIn profile says she took part in an “Executive Nonprofit Leadership” program at Southern Methodist University in Texas.
The Non Profit Leadership Certificate Program is a six-day program with a $900 fee. The Center for Nonprofit Management in North Texas, in partnership with SMU, hosts the program, which is designed for those interested in leadership roles in nonprofit groups.
But Chang’s enrollment information is absent, according to an employee from the Center for Nonprofit Management, which compiles all the details on prospective students. Though her basic information was found in the center’s database, the employee familiar with the matter told Business Insider that it never received payment or course records on Chang since the program’s inception in 2007.
The employee noted that the center did not include an “executive” designation for the program until this year, with the inaugural class expected to complete the course in the coming weeks.
“I wouldn’t understand why somebody would lie about the program,” the employee said, adding that the course was beneficial for those interested in the nonprofit sector.
Attempts to reach Chang were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Chang’s educational experience appears to be limited to attending seminars and unaccredited universities. She claims in her official State Department biography to be an “alumna” of Harvard Business School, but the university told NBC News that she attended a seven-week program in 2016.
According to her now-private LinkedIn profile, she also attended the University of the Nations with a focus on “Development” and “Aid Practices.”
The University of the Nations, which describes itself as an international Christian learning center founded on biblical principles, says it has chosen not to apply for accreditation because of “major differences” in national accrediting agencies.
“Viewing the world as both its classroom and venue for ministry, the University of the Nations is committed to teaching and developing Christian men and women called to ‘make disciples of all nations,'” the University of the Nations’ website says.
The University of the Nations, which provides no phone numbers on its website, did not immediately respond to a request for comment as questions emerged about Chang’s credentials on Wednesday.
It was unclear how Chang’s misrepresentation of her education history was overlooked by government officials.
“Anyone with basic due diligence would have been able to catch this,” a former State Department official told Business Insider. “It’s insane that someone with such flimsy credentials could get into the State Department.”
Chang, who was the CEO of the nonprofit group Linking the World for nine years, worked to “break the cycles of poverty” and “build resilience and self-sufficiency,” she wrote on her profile, which includes pictures of her travels around the world.
In 2014, Chang described having a career in music during which she recorded albums in Korean and English before the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which she said prompted her to forgo an opportunity to re-sign with her recording label and pursue nonprofit work.
“I took a huge chance stepping away from something I thought was safe and such a huge opportunity, but I knew this is where my heart is,” she told the Dallas Observer at the time.
“My work has given me such a perspective and it’s taught me to walk through a period of my life,” Chang added. “When you’re in the field you’re stripped of who you are. You’re just existing together in that moment. It’s not about your clothes, or your image, it’s about what you’re giving. This year is just one season on my journey.”