She was chosen from among 30 applicants, each representing one of Temple's University's colleges."I couldn’t believe it," she said, after learning she had been chosen. Oh my gosh, I would love one day to be the speaker of my college. And I talk about how Temple celebrates diversity And I talk about my American Dream, it being called the Temple Dream.It just feels so unreal."Nguyen said she hopes to inspire people with her 3 to 4 minute speech that will relate many of her experiences at Temple."I share my story of being wait listed and how Temple Owls work hard and are proactive," she said. And just talking about how we all have a Temple story."In characteristic fashion, Nguyen is already planning the next chapter in her life, as she begins her career in public relations.
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Nguyen has focused on her professional goals in her senior year, working as a paid intern for the prestigious Tierney advertising agency.
Nguyen's speech on Thursday will be the crowning achievement of her academic career.
Nguyen was active in high school, participating in many extracurricular activities including being a cheerleader, playing tennis and acting in plays.
She also was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and student council.
But Nguyen was determined to get into the school of her dreams.
With the help of a friend behind the camera and using the broadcast equipment at Lebanon High, where she did the morning news broadcast, she made a video declaring how much she wanted to go to Temple and what she would add to the university.Not knowing who to send it to, Nguyen sent it to every Temple administrator's email that she could find online."The very next day I got an email that said I was accepted to the university. "Definitely from that experience I learned that 'no' just means find another way."That can-do, won’t-be-denied attitude is something Nguyen said she has had all her life."Even from a young age and in high school I was always a very involved and ambitious person," she said. There are so many different people with different stories and different backgrounds that weren’t traditional."Nguyen wasted no time in applying herself."I always wanted to do more and be a part of things to make the most of my experience."But Nguyen admits that part of her attitude may be a chip on her shoulder that comes from feeling different from her mostly white, suburban high school friends."My ambition is so high because I feel like I have a lot more to lose than anyone else," she said. I am a first generation college student so there is a lot of pressure on me to do more and be more, because I had more to lose than anyone else.”When she got to Temple she knew she was in the right element to thrive."I feel like when I got to Temple I just felt so liberated, because there is so much diversity at Temple that I really hadn’t experienced before in my life," she explained. As a freshman she got media relations internships at two city companies.Born in Vietnam, Nguyen moved to Lebanon with her parents when she was one-year-old, to join her father’s parents in a modest home on Canal Street, where they had moved in 1985.To support the family, which includes her two older brothers, her father, Tien Nguyen, and mother, Kim Tran, took jobs at Bell and Evans chicken plant in Fredericksburg.Her dad retired a couple of years ago, but her mother still is employed there.