Jennifer Nguyen has been awarded the Mary Roosevelt Honor Scholarship in Teaching and Learning during the UCI School of Education 2018-2019 Scholarship Award Ceremony. Jennifer is pursuing her Single Subject Master of Arts in Teaching in Science. Below, she shares her thoughts about her academic journey.
My parents emigrated from Vietnam to flee the Vietnam war and started completely over in the United States. Despite the challenges that accompanied our home, my parents always ensured my brothers and I had everything we needed for school. They encouraged us to learn as much as possible, so we could be afforded opportunities they were not able to have. With this tucked away in the back of my mind, at a young age, I saw school as a hopeful means to opportunity and a good life, and my teachers were the people who wanted to support me and help me get there.
Throughout my undergraduate career, I struggled to find what I wanted to do, but in hindsight, it was painfully obvious education was the only path I was truly eager to pursue. The realization came after a summer job as a college readiness tutor for a program in my local community serving underprivileged students. I was excited to wake up at 6AM to go to work and see the students and colleagues I had built meaningful relationships with. This position gave me the privilege of helping students work to achieve their goals to attain higher education, many of whom came from very different walks of life. Here, I learned the value and reward that came with affirming a student’s trust and creating a space which catered to the diversity in cultures, backgrounds, and experiences of each individual.
Beyond the content, education should prepare students to be informed and integral members of society, and part of that preparation is gaining a sense of self and the people around them. As an educator, I hope to provide opportunities for my students to develop a greater sense of awareness, and consequently, a better understanding of the world they live in. I hope to cater to the different needs and adversities of every individual and ensure that everyone receives as close to an equal opportunity at success as possible. I strive to instill these values and believe that creating a classroom that is sensitive to others will promote a safer learning environment in which everyone can thrive.
Jennifer Nguyen and Mary Roosevelt