We recently spoke with Tina Nguyen, an international studies major graduating in 2023, who was named to the University of Washington’s Husky 100 list in Spring 2023 for her research and coursework, volunteer and leadership pursuits, and making a difference on campus and in their communities. Congratulations, Tina!
Name: Tina Nguyen
Degrees: (B.S. Informatics 2022; B.A. International Studies June 2023; Interdisciplinary Honors College; Minor Applied Mathematics)
Hometown: South Seattle and Saigon, Vietnam
Languages: Vietnamese (native); English (native); Spanish
Jackson School: How did you decide to do double degrees?
Tina Nguyen: When I first came to the UW as a pre-med, it felt stereotypical as a pathway for immigrants, and I discovered I don’t like the hospital. Then I took my first coding class at UW during that first summer. I loved it. Then the pandemic happened. I missed out a lot of college and went home to take care of my grandparents. International relations had already been on my mind prior to college. I love languages, travel, and culture. In the beginning of 2022 when I was set to graduate with my B.S. in Informatics, I decided to do a fifth year at the Jackson School as an International Studies major. I was able to study abroad as a U.S. Dept. of State Gilman Scholar [Summer 2022] and went to the Netherlands, and it was my first time in the EU. I’m grateful.
Jackson School: Tell us about how your Jackson School experience has inspired you.
T.N.: I am really engaged in the many events and speakers the Jackson School hosts as I love hearing their stories. The Jackson School Alumni Mentor program, run by the School’s Office of Career Services, has been a great experience.
Jackson School: Tell us more on your community leadership.
T.N.: I have had the honor to be a strong leader on campus as an Informatics teaching assistant, club founder and peer mentor to name a few. However, the biggest impact I’ve made is through the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity as a student ambassador and visitation coordinator. I love the people there. During the pandemic, it was hard. I joined as a sophomore, so have been there all four years [as a fifth year student]. I had been looking for a community on campus as a woman of color and as an immigrant. That’s where I found it. We host events, such as Esperanza en Educación; Young, Gifted and Black; Rising Southeast Asians to empower high school students from Washington state and sometimes outside of the state. We show them this is what is available for you here at the UW, that there are opportunities for BIPOC students, and that we are shifting the narrative in creating a welcoming environment that facilitates the achievement of higher education for historically underrepresented groups.
Jackson School: What does the Husky 100 mean to you?
T.N.: It’s a huge achievement for me. It means my efforts at the UW have been recognized. I feel I have a community that I built, and I hope people will want to reach out to me if they don’t have a community. To me it means advancing minority achievement, achieving higher education, breaking barriers, and silencing voices that want to keep us in the margins.
Jackson School: What career are you interested in pursuing after graduation?
T.N.: Being in tech with a Jackson School degree, options are really open for me. I’ve had four job offers. That said, I’m deferring for a few months to travel. This fifth year has given me the time to get in touch with my creative side, and I currently have my inaugural art exhibition displayed in Seattle’s Little Saigon. I want to focus on that more and build upon my creative endeavors.
Jackson School: What would you tell prospective students?
T.N.: If you know you want to major at the Jackson School, plan your degree because a lot of things overlap and it’s really doable. It’s a great double-degree or double-major because there’s so much flexibility. It allows you a better perspective, especially in international or global affairs, for any job. There’s a lot of personalization with a Jackson School degree, so many different tracks. It’s very accommodating to student interests.