Saturday, September 23, 2017

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President of Gates to Success, Kelly Nguyen President of Gates to Success, Kelly Nguyen
 


Entering the Gates to Success

This program helps first generation college students succeed at SDSU.
By Stefanie Banks
 

Since her freshman year, Kelly Nguyen has been a leader on the SDSU campus.

One of her leadership roles is showcased in her position as president for Gates to Success, an organization created to support first generation college students by providing them a safe space, and encouraging students to take full advantage of the college experience at SDSU.

"Gates to Success centers around leadership through scholarship, mentorship and professional development," said Nguyen, a sophomore health science major. "It also opens students’ eyes to opportunities on and off campus."

Nguyen, a first generation college student herself, has benefited from resources the organization provides. 

Striving toward scholarship

One such resource is the organization's adviser Michelle Lopez, assistant dean of SDSU's College of Undergraduate Studies, who encouraged Nguyen to apply for the National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program Award.

Nguyen won the $20,000 scholarship and was selected as one of just 11 recipients chosen from a pool of more than 200 applicants across the nation. As a part of the program, she will be paired with a National Institutes of Health mentor to conduct research with this summer.

Giving and receiving mentorship

To further develop students, Gates to Success created a program within the organization — Steps to Success — that allows the executive board members to mentor a student.

Gates to Success also partners with the Aztec Mentor Program and the Center for Intercultural Relations as well, to pair its members with first generation alumni, allowing members to see what it takes to succeed from someone with a similar background.

To raise awareness of the services provided by SDSU, Gates to Success brings in guest speakers who introduce students to various departments. For example, the International Student Center spoke to students about study abroad programs, and Career Services spoke about internship opportunities and offered advice.

Looking ahead

In addition to her involvement with Gates to Success, Nguyen is also a student in the Weber Honors College at SDSU. She began her campus engagement freshman year by joining the Freshman Leadership Connection program; which she attributes to her becoming the president of Gates to Success and a member of Rotaract.

Looking ahead, Nguyen sees herself helping people of low-income communities live longer, healthier lives.

“Eventually, I hope to start a program that prevents health disparities among minorities,” Nguyen said.

For more information, e-mail Gates to Success.