Van Nguyen

Share one volunteering experience that was most memorable to you.
"I will never forget the awe that I felt when I first stepped inside International Community School’s gymnasium where the First Annual East Oakland Community Assembly was being held in September 2017. There were so many local residents, of all ages and identities, gathered to develop a list of action items to present to city representatives at the upcoming City Hall meeting that they had to move into separate classrooms during the event’s breakout sessions! The energy in the room was contagious; I’m positive it could be felt from miles and miles away."

Department: Vietnamese
Year: Senior
Major: Public Health and Molecular & Cell Biology
Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hers

Joined VHIO: Fall 2016 (though I wish I could have joined way, way earlier!)
Why VHIO? 
"Growing up in San Jose, California, I took being able to find Vietnamese food at every corner I turned, hearing firecrackers for hours before and after the start of Lunar New Year, and going to school with friends who looked like me all for granted. Throughout my freshman year of college, I desperately searched for the few opportunities on this campus that I could use to retain what was left of my Vietnamese identity. It is through learning with and from the communities around me that I feel rooted in my dreams and aspirations!"
How did you help the community through VHIO?
"To be honest, I believe the communities we serve through VHIO have helped me grow much more than I could have possibly helped anyone! With every space I’ve had the joy and honor of being connected to through VHIO, I’ve received so many new opportunities to learn what it means for communities to empower themselves to create change in the world we live in, to see the many different ways my Vietnamese culture is celebrated, and to better understand what it means to be an effective and responsive patient advocate and community ally. I can’t say enough about how meaningful my volunteer experiences have been for me, and I hope I’ve been able to provide the same for others!"
Future plans? 
"I’m a double major in Public Health and Molecular & Cell Biology: Immunology & Pathogenesis! I dream of becoming a healthcare provider one day, in whichever way it is that will allow me to best serve and support immigrant and refugee communities."
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