Vietnamese scholarship aims to unite community

By By Nathan Storey

By Nathan Storey

The Vietnamese American Student Association recently awarded its first scholarship to Thuy Nguyen, a freshman engineering major.

The $1,000 scholarship is for Spring Semester and was the first scholarship offered specifically for Vietnamese students at the U.

“This is a good way to bring the Vietnam community together and make us stronger,” said Sue Tran, president of VASA and a sophomore who is pre-med and majoring in biology and art history.

Having a scholarship of its own will bring pride and respect from both within and outside the Vietnamese community, Tran said.

But while the scholarship gives Vietnamese students something to aim for, that is not its only purpose.

Tran said the idea is not just to award scholarship money to students but also to improve the Vietnamese community as a whole.

Nguyen won the scholarship with her essay on how to unite the gap between the younger and older Vietnamese generations, and VASA wants to use the essay to apply it to the community.

In the essay, Nguyen proposed finding scholarship money so young people in the Vietnamese community could travel to Vietnam to experience their culture firsthand instead of hearing it from their parents. In return, the recipients of the program would perform 100 hours of community service “to promote and raise the status of their Vietnamese community.”

Because VASA is limited in funding and connections, Tran said it cannot realistically make everything in the essay happen. However, she said as group they will modify it according to what they feel is best for the community.

Tran said she would like to make the scholarship a tradition, but that would depend on funding and future presidents’ decisions.

VASA put up $500 for this year’s scholarship, with the other $500 coming from Vietnamese businesses and families. Tran hopes to get enough funding in the future to award multiple scholarships.

Tran said she has already established an impact project aimed to help elementary students learn about science through projects, demonstrations, classroom discussions, presentations and scholarship money use.

“I want this scholarship to help me continue to fund my science program, thus helping me become a better leader in my community,” Nguyen said in a written statement.