How I became interested in my area of study/research/discipline:
As a first-generation Vietnamese-American, I have always been interested in cross-cultural issues. I love languages and learning about different cultures, so I decided to study Russian and Arabic at KU.
An honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to me:
In high school, I volunteered at a local elementary school in Exeter, NH where I tutored a young 3rd grader named Kevin in English. Kevin's family had just moved to New Hampshire from Vietnam and he was extremely shy because he was the only Vietnamese boy in his class. However, we decided to throw a multicultural party for his class where we made Vietnamese food and taught the students a few phrases in Vietnamese. The students were excited to learn about Vietnam. After the party, Kevin announced to his class that he actually preferred to be called by his true, Vietnamese name: Hung. This was the proudest moment of my life and my most meaningful achievement because I had been able to help a young boy appreciate his Vietnamese identity instead of hiding it in shame.
Someone I admire:
Mathew Horsch is World War II veteran and POW that I volunteer with at the VA hospital in Wichita. Despite the many hardships he has experienced in his life, including the amputation of his arms after his plane was shot down during World War II, he has THE best humor in the whole world--always joking with everyone and brining joy into others' lives. I admire the sacrifices he has made and his wonderful sense of humor.
Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:
My parents have had a significant impact on my life. They have sacrificed so much for me, and my other siblings, that words cannot describe how grateful I am to them. Their strong sense of work ethic, honor, sacrifice and their continual emphasis on the importance to give back to my community through volunteerism and service have guided me in my life decisions.
Most favorite/least favorite memory as a student:
My most favorite memories are all the wonderful people I have met at KU: professors, classmates, roommates, friends, SUA members etc. When I think of KU, I think of all the people that make KU and Lawrence a great place to be.
An important life lesson I have learned:
Don't worry about the things that you can't control. It's not worth it and is a waste of time and energy. Learn to let go and move on because things will always work out in the end if you charge on and make the most of what you CAN control.
A favorite quote or saying:
– Saint Augustine
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
This quote is meaningful to me because I think it is always important to connect with others and to learn more about people and their amazing stories. Whenever I am walking on the paths, I like to stop and talk to people.
My hopes for the world:
I hope that all young people can work together to create social change so that the extreme poverty and suffering in the world can be remedied. If only people can understand each other more, the world can be a much better place.