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Vietnamese Student Nguyen (Gwen) Nguyen Speaks at Temple’s 2015 Convocation

Nguyen (Gwen) NguyenOn Friday, August 21, Vietnamese student Nguyen (Gwen) Nguyen delivered an inspirational speech at Temple’s 2015 Convocation Ceremony, the formal start of students’ educational experience.

 A sophomore accounting major, Nguyen has come a long way since travelling 9000 miles from her native Hanoi to begin her studies at Temple last year.

 “I encourage you to start at Temple by learning a new language, talking to people from another town, state or country, and taking advantage of Philadelphia’s diversity,” Gwen said.

 To rousing applause, she concluded, “And if you see me around campus, I’d love you to say hello or xin chào.”

Click the image below to view her speech.

Nguyen speech link

Nguyen Nguyen’s Success Story

Full Name: Nguyen Thao Nguyen (Gwen

School, Major and year of graduation: Accounting, Fox School of Business, May 2018

Why I chose Temple: Out of the 15 universities that I applied to, Temple University was the only one that went the extra mile to send representatives to my hometown, Hanoi, who visited me and my family in person. They made me and my parents feel assured that I would be taken care of at Temple.

Thoughts on being convocation speaker: Absolutely grateful! I would never have thought that a sophomore like me would be given a chance to speak at such an important event. Luckily, I was allowed to personalize my speech. Through the anecdotes, I knew I was sharing my vulnerable self. By taking this risk, I grabbed the students’ attention and hopefully tapped into each person’s adventurous self.

How being in Honors enhanced my Temple experience: Being in the Honors Program is a privilege. I am an introvert, preferring small class to lecture hall. So far, I have only taken Honors classes, and the biggest one had 25 students. Not only does this allow me to get to know my classmates and professors personally, but also the professors are given more flexibility to implement creative projects. For instance, in a class called “The Immigrant Experience” with Professor Terry Halbert, I interviewed immigrants in Philadelphia and compiled and edited recordings of their responses to create audio stories.

Why I chose the Honors Living and Learning Community (LLC) residence experience during my freshman year: Most first year honors students stay in the Honors Living and Learning Community, so I thought it would be the best place for me to get to know my classmates outside of the classroom. Also, the resident assistants and peer mentors are upperclassmen honors too; therefore, they organize programs and activities that work with the goals set by the Honors Program.

What it’s like to be a Peer Mentor in Morgan Hall: In addition to being a regular college student, I am the peer mentor for Global Living Learning Community freshmen in the Morgan South Residence Hall. It is a tricky but fun position! Tricky because I have to maintain a double identity as student and staff; and fun because I get to live with freshmen and help them make the most out of their first year of college.

Volunteer work I’ve done: Last fall, I tutored at a middle school in South Philadelphia called Southwark. My students were in third and fourth grade and mainly came from Hispanic families. I helped them with math and English homework.

My advice: When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.

Future: Next summer, I will be interning for a public accounting firm called KPMG in their Philadelphia office. The internship will last for about 10 weeks, and I will be placed on an audit team. I can’t wait to have hands-on experience with auditing and learn about the corporate world!

Favorite Philadelphia activity: Tasting food at the Reading Terminal Market!

Favorite Philadelphia food: Tastykake is definitely my guilty pleasure!

Favorite Temple activity: Attend and cheer for the football game of Temple vs. Penn State.

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