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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Kathy Nguyen Kathy Nguyen

Kathy Nguyen’s Aztec Experience

Kathy Nguyen was honored as a 2017-18 Sally Casanova Scholar by the California State University’s Chancellor’s Office.
By Kelly Nguyen

Name: Kathy Nguyen
Degree program: M.A. Postsecondary educational leadership with a specialization in student affairs
Campus affiliation: Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, Counseling and Psychological Services, Center for Counseling and Community Engagement, Sally Casanova Scholarship

1. Why did you choose to attend San Diego State University?

I was able to sit in on a master's level diversity course with Frank Harris III and was inspired by the passion of the cohort. I felt SDSU was a place I could find community and be able to support the student communities I care about.

2. What inspired you to declare your major?

As a first-generation student, my family lacked the resources to help me move through the higher education system. When I went to my undergraduate university, I hosted a high school outreach program to the local high schools in my hometown and saw the impact of student-initiated programs and community-based advocacy. Education has been my passion ever since.

3. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Being patient and compassionate with yourself. We are so kind and give so much grace to other people, but rarely do that for ourselves. I try to be as nice to myself as I am to others and try to be patient with my journey.

4. Which SDSU faculty or staff member has been the most influential throughout your SDSU journey?

Michelle Lopez, assistant dean of Undergraduate Studies, has been the most influential person throughout my SDSU journey. She's my supervisor in my graduate assistantship and has connected me to many people and opportunities on campus. As a woman of color in an administrative position of power, I look up to her and know that she supports me in everything I do.

5. What does student success mean to you?

Student success can appear cookie-cutter, but it should be inclusive of people’s identities, mindful of structural and historical inequities and focused on students' individual experiences. Student success happens when someone is able to articulate their personal narrative and envisions their own goals. Student success is someone moving toward their goals, keeping in mind any barriers and challenges they may have.

6. What experience at SDSU has changed your life the most?

Receiving the Sally Casanova Scholarship has changed my life the most. Through this scholarship, I'll have the opportunity to attend conferences, visit Ph.D. programs, and participate in a summer research institute. A few years ago, it was hard to even imagine getting a master's degree. Thanks to this scholarship, my  Ph.D. dream is becoming more real.

7. What has been your proudest achievement while at SDSU?

Getting to host a workshop series about the Asian American Pacific Islander experience and organizing an SDSU delegation to the Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education conference as a part of a Student Success Fee have been my proudest achievements at SDSU. The workshop series is called (API)phany and continues to be hosted in collaboration with Counseling and Psychological Services and the Center for Intercultural Relations.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I see myself in a Ph.D. program for higher education.

9. What's your favorite thing about SDSU?

My favorite thing about SDSU is being able to work with such great students, staff and faculty. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by good people.