Major: Planning, Public Policy, and Management
Dream Job: Working for the CDC
How/why do you want to change the world? My passion for public health and health policy is tied to my family’s health background. I experienced first-hand with my grandparents how the lack of affordable healthcare coverage can hurt families and witnessed how socioeconomic factors affect a community’s health. My grandparents’ poor health can be traced to harrowing experiences from the genocide of the Hmong during and after the Vietnam War. The brutalities of racism, colonialism, and imperialism the Hmong have endured to this day are the foundations for my passion to preserving and enhancing effective health policies, and educating the community on the social determinants of health. My inherited traumas and tragedies are affiliated with the discourse of ethnic minorities and I desire to bring these issues to the forefront through advocacy, policy change, and policy implementation in order to prevent others from going through what my family did.
What are you proud to have been involved with at UO? I am the President of the PPPM Student Community Organization, a FIG Assistant, the Career Education Team Manager and Career Peer Educator for the Lundquist Career Services, and a member of the Southeast Asian Student Alliance, Women of Color Coalition, and the Asian Desi Pacific Islander Alliance.
What are some of your goals after college? After I graduate, I plan to travel to Laos and apply my knowledge and experience to help the Hmong community with public and environmental health issues. I also plan on going to graduate school, and maybe even pursuing a doctorate.
Who’s your biggest role model/influencer? My father is my biggest influence; he is the reason for my strong commitment to education. He came to the United States at the age of eleven as a refugee with no education. Despite this, my father desperately wanted to succeed. But with the responsibility of taking care of his handicapped mom, my father dropped out of college after two years and gave up his dream of becoming a math teacher. Instead, he got married and supported my mother with her education by working full-time at a warehouse. And now, after working at the same place for almost thirty years, all my father wants is for my siblings and me to have a better life than the one he has lived. My father’s sacrifices push me to excel in academics and reminds me that education is a privilege and should never be taken for granted.
Which fictional character is most like yourself? Katniss from The Hunger Games. We are both independent, responsible, and would do pretty much anything to help our family.
What is one fun fact about you? A fun fact about me is English is my second language, and my native tongue is Hmong. When I entered elementary school, I had to enroll in an English class. The little English I knew, I learned was from Elmo.