What first got you interested in your field of choice?
As a first-generation Vietnamese American I want to utilize my knowledge of the Vietnamese language and culture to serve my ethnic community and bring more representation to the current field of medicine. The start of my passion towards this field started with me being a translator for my family during their medical and non-medical appointments and over time becoming the main healthcare provider of my grandma. Growing up, my family and I didn’t receive and understand a lot of information about school, medical treatments, and other key information due to the fact that there weren't many Vietnamese translators available.It was a confusing experience, because we heard so much about living in more diverse times, yet my family was still being overlooked.
Under those circumstances, my mom started to bring me along with her to all her appointments to help me improve on my Vietnamese language skills. Through this, I was able to enhance my communication and translational skills. As I got older and my translational skills improved, I started accompanying my older relatives to their medical appointments which later led me to becoming the main healthcare provider of my grandma. This experience gave me the chance to ensure that my family members understood what was happening and what choices they have going forward, especially when it came to their health, because who wouldn’t want their family member to be healthy? Despite all of the advances we have made in achieving diversity in medicine, we still have a long way to go. I have begun to fill that gap for my family, and I want to continue to do the same for the other Vietnamese-American families that are going through the same experiences.
What type of obstacles have you had to overcome on the road to getting your education?
I have faced and conquered many challenges in my life thus far getting my education: being the oldest of five children, having English as my second language, and being a first-generation college student living in a low-income single parent household since the age of 9. I had to play the role of second mother and mentor for my younger siblings. Once I got older, I started working to support my family financially all while going to school.
It was tough and I was put under a lot of pressure; pressure of being the oldest daughter and siblings, pressure of having to be a walking Google translator, pressure of balancing school and finances. I had a lot of responsibilities that someone at the age of 9 and growing up shouldn’t have had. I did not know it at the time, but after watching the Disney movie Encanto I realized I took on a lot of pressure to make sure that my family didn't have to, much like the character Luisa. But instead of having literal super strength, I was the rock for my family. In light of these challenges, I was able to understand and know what real responsibility feels like. I know how tough the grown-adult world can be because of that and because I know these things, I am ready to go into a field as tough as medicine.
Although my childhood wasn’t the best, I chose to see these challenges as an opportunity for growth and reshaped them into motivation to succeed in my education to provide my family with a brighter future, one where I will bring honor to my family and provide my siblings with opportunities that I never had and peace of mind of never worrying about basic necessities. I want to show everyone that everything that my family and I have been through wasn’t for nothing. Looking back now, I’m very proud of myself for being able to overcome these challenges, as they taught me how to become more independent, stronger and wiser for my family As I look towards my future in medicine, I know that these obstacles have given me the strength to go through what it takes to become a physician.
How did you know that KGI was the right school for you?
I knew KGI was the school for me from the beginning of the application process. The admissions staff was amazing and was always there to help me down the road by checking up on me and my application, answering all my application questions, and directing me to the correct office/person if they weren’t able to answer my questions. In addition, when I was struggling between two different degrees the admission team provided me with knowledge of how I could be part of both the Post-Baccalaureate (PPC) and Master of Science in Applied Life Sciences (MS) programs. I’ve applied to many other post-baccalaureate schools and none of them were as helpful and supportive as KGI. Coming straight from an undergraduate institution where seeking help was deemed as being weak, I was surprised how the KGI community was such a friendly, welcoming, and supportive community amongst the students and staff. I felt seen by the staff, and not like I was just another face on campus, and I knew that was what I wanted for my graduate school experience.
Why did you want to become an Admissions Ambassador?
I want to connect and share my experiences and path to those individuals who are looking for a place where they can thrive. I strongly believe that with my insight and all the professional development that I have developed here at KGI, I can provide expectational guidance to the incoming potential students as an admission ambassador. I remember this one time at KGI where my class had a project to develop an in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) for CAR T-cell Therapy-Induced Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS). Through this, I was able to enhance my leadership skills, I became a better speaker, I went out of my comfort zone to become a team manager, and I was nominated for strong team, stronger performer, and most valuable player. It was super cool and I can’t wait to share that experience with incoming students.
I enjoy mentoring students as it allows me to strengthen my coaching and leadership skills by working with individuals from different backgrounds and with different personality types. In addition, I enjoy learning new perspectives, finding talents and potential within individuals, and transferring my knowledge to others. KGI gave me a second chance to become a better individual and applicant for medical school by providing me with the personal and academic support and guidance that I needed to grow thus far. Through the rigorous courses, working in teams, and bonds that I have made with many individuals and staff here at KGI, I am so much more confident in my future and what I can bring to the healthcare field. I hope to one day help other students feel the confidence I found at KGI.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
A fun fact about me is that I have a guitar and the only thing I know how to play on it would be the tab version of the Harry Potter Hedwig's Theme song.