SESSION iiiExperiential Learning
Growing up in predominantly Caucasian communities and having no prior community involvement, the culture shock of joining UCLA VSU and VNLC in 2004 helped Nick discover his cultural identity and propelled him to grow as a servant leader. He has been active with UVSA SoCal, UNAVSA, and supports other regional UVSAs in their growth and development. Nick is an avid graphics designers and in his spare time enjoys focusing his energy on developing non-profit community based organizations.
Arlene was born and raised in the heart of Orange County and grew up in Little Sài Gòn. From a young age she was exposed to and involved with many Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American organizations dedicated to promoting awareness of and preserving Vietnamese culture. This continued into her high school and college years as she was heavily involved with VAHSA, UVSA of Southern California, and attended her first UNAVSA conference in 2013 in Anaheim. Arlene graduated from the University of California Irvine with degrees in Human Biology and Psychology and will be attending medical school at Western Michigan University School of Medicine this fall.
Lucy Tran most recently served as the Internal Vice President of UNAVSA from 2014-2016 and began her involvement originally with VSAs during her freshman year at the University of Colorado at Denver in 2010. Her journey in developing VSA’s and Southwest UVSA propelled her aspiration for leadership development and engagement with the Vietnamese community. Lucy continues her involvement and wishes to give back to the UNAVSA community by helping provide tangible resources for the future, especially through fostering UNAVSA’s partnerships with other nonprofits. Lucy has also previously served as the Southwest UVSA Vice President and UNAVSA Collective Philanthropy Project Campaign Co-Director. Lucy now lives in San Francisco where she is an Account Manager with a staffing company called Aerotek where she hopes to excel in sales and to drive diversity and inclusion with her clients and the workplace.
Ly Nguyen was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 3. She was raised in the Emerald City of Seattle and graduated from Seattle University as a Magna Cum Laude in Computer Science & Software Engineering. Currently she resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a software development engineer for Amazon Web Services by day and is an amateur foodie by night. Ly found her love for the Vietnamese culture and commitment to leadership with Seattle University VSA. She was involved in various roles with the organization throughout college, led Northwest VSA Leadership Summit after graduation, and went on to UNAVSA as one of two Conference Executive Interns and Collective Philanthropy Project – Selection Committee staff. As the Secretary of UNAVSA for 2016-2018, her interests lie in preserving the Vietnamese community in North America. She hopes to strengthen engagement, mentorship and education initiatives.
Mai is currently working as a project analyst for naviHealth, a healthcare software company. Toquynh is pursuing a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science while being a chief scribe for ScribeAmerica in Holden, MA.
Mai & Toquynh are both recent graduates of Boston College, where they served President and Vice President of their VSA from 2015 – 2016. They are no strangers to traditional Vietnamese dances – having both choreographed and taught a number of different dances during their time at BC, including fan dance, lotus dance, hat dance, and umbrella dance.
Matthew Zin spent most of his extracurricular time at Boston University working with VSA as an eboard member and serving as President & Performance Captain of the Kung Fu Club. With these dual interests, he found it only fitting to combine them and spend part of his gap year before medical school teaching self-defense workshops at various regional VSA conferences and summits. With his experience this year presenting at MAUVSA’s MAC-6, NEIVSA’s VES-3, Northeast UVSA’s Spring Leadership Summit ’17, and most recently, UVSA South Leadership Summit ’17, he hopes to cap off a great year of teaching VSA members across the country basic techniques to defend themselves. He also remembers his fond memories from UNAVSAs 11-13 and and hopes to make new ones this year in New Orleans!
Nghia holds a Masters of Social Work degree and is currently working as a Children’s Social Worker for County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services. He works with families through issues of mental health, substance use, and domestic violence towards the goal of child safety. He is committed to working with the Vietnamese American community, having served as the Internal Vice President of UNAVSA and committee member to numerous committees for VSAs on the local, regional, and national level. On his free time you can find Nghia hiking, Crossfitting, or eating a large bowl of ice cream.
Jason R. Nguyen is a dual-doctoral student at Indiana University, Bloomington in the Departments of Folklore & Ethnomusicology and Communication & Culture. His in-progress dissertation is a multi-sited study of Vietnamese identity discourses and the networks that Vietnamese people use to circulate them, with special emphasis on Vietnamese media industries (companies like ASIA Productions and Thúy Nga Entertainment), Vietnamese American youth organizations (like UNAVSA), and Vietnamese social activism campaigns. He is also a musician, specializing in the Vietnamese đàn bầu, a one-string traditional instrument, and he shares his special brand of hip-hop inflected Vietnamese music and unconventional pop song covers as “SoulGook” (http://www.soulgook.com).
Julie Tran was born and raised in Boston, MA. She graduated in a B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Asian-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts – Boston, where she is continuing her studies in Education as a graduate student. Julie was first involved with the Vietnamese community when she was part of UMass Boston’s VSA and has grown to taken leadership positions in New England Intercollegiate Vietnamese Student Associations, UNAVSA, etc. Julie’s experiences with UNAVSA included as a committee member of the UNAVSA-14 Programming Committee, the UNAVSA-13 Logistics Director as well as the co-CORR for the New England region for the 2014-2015 term. She wants to use her experiences in order to educate others the importance of leadership and history in the Vietnamese community. In her free time, Julie loves to travel, living the foodie life, and puppies.