“I want to graduate from college having become a more aware and socially responsible person, and Creighton has helped me on that path,” says Heider College of Business junior Nhu Y Nguyen. “All the other colleges I visited didn’t push me to create a better version of myself like Creighton did.”
This semester, Nguyen will be studying abroad in Vietnam, where she was born. She immigrated to the U.S. with her parents and brother when she was seven. Her father relocated to Omaha, where his sister and a few friends lived, to find work. Six months later, his family joined him, and it has been their home ever since.
Nguyen has not yet decided on her major, though she is leaning toward a double major in finance and business intelligence and analytics. She is hoping her time studying in Ho Chi-Minh City will spark a particular interest in one of business’s many fields. She will be taking five classes, including operations and production management and business ethics.
Her second goal for her semester abroad centers on personal growth: returning to her roots to learn more about the culture from which she came and shoring up her Vietnamese reading and writing skills.
Nguyen is able to study in Vietnam thanks to a $2,000 award from the Gilman Scholarship Program. The Gilman seeks to make studying abroad more accessible to a diverse range of students who are traditionally under-represented in foreign study programs due to financial constraints. Eligibility includes good academic standing, U.S. citizenship, enrollment in a U.S. accredited school and qualification as a Federal Pell Grant recipient.
It was an Arts & Sciences class that led the business student to the Gilman Scholarship. As part of the Magis Core curriculum, Nguyen was enrolled in the global perspective course, Rights and Revolution, taught by history professor Betsy Elliot-Meisel, PhD. One focus of Rights and Revolution was imperialism, with Vietnam as the case study.
The class was perfect for Nguyen for many reasons. First, it explored her native culture, which was important to her. Second, it introduced her to Elliot-Meisel, the Gilman Scholarship faculty advisor. Third, it exposed her to classes outside of her original sphere of interest. “The Magis Core curriculum helped shape my education by providing me with classes that were essential to my personal and academic growth,” Nguyen maintains. “It opened doors to classes and topics that I would have never taken without that extra push.”
“We just connected,” says Elliot-Meisel of her relationship with Nguyen. “Nhu is motivated to make the most of herself and the opportunities she has. She is an extroverted people person and has a passion that is just contagious.”
For her part, Nguyen calls Elliot-Meisel her “angel.”
“The most challenging thing about the application process was getting the essays to speak for me,” says Nguyen. “Dr. Elliot-Meisel helped me reconstruct my papers and find my flow and encouraged me even when I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore.”
When Nguyen returns to campus in January, she will help promote the Gilman Scholarship Program, and study abroad opportunities in Asia. She also plans to return to her high school alma mater, Omaha North, to spread the word about Creighton and the importance of venturing out of your own corner of the world.
Says Nguyen: “It’s okay to burst your comfort bubble and do something different. The only way we can change for the better is if we see the world through a different lens.”