Meet our Summer Associates: Peter Nguyen

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Peter Nguyen | University of Pennsylvania| Class of 2022

Peter Nguyen is currently an upcoming sophomore studying Biology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on the East Coast. He graduated from Hercules High School as the 2018 Salutatorian and participated a lot in community building and social impact. He intends on applying to medical school within the following 2 years and is extremely involved in Asian-American activism. During his time at Penn, he was involved in PEER (An Asian-American Mentorship Program), ASPIRE (Asian Students Promoting Identity, Reflection, and Education), APALI (The Asian-Pacific American Leadership Initiative), as well as the Vietnamese Student’s Association. 

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Expand on hardships/motivational factors that influence you to this day.

A:  “A lot of my struggle has been due to being intrinsically tied to my environment in Richmond. I think that the fact that I had to navigate the college process on my own and find a pace that works for me in regards to academia as well as financial stability played a huge role in my identity. Being a first-generation, low-income student an Ivy League institution taught me a lot about privilege and only serves to motivate me to always do better. I really encourage Richmond Scholars to keep working at what they aspire to be in order to empower our own communities.” 

Q: How has the Richmond Promise played a role in your education?

A: “Richmond Promise has definitely provided me with a tremendous opportunity to even have college be an accessible experience. I always knew as a child that I wanted to go to college but when I saw the price tag that came along with it, I was extremely intimidated. Not only does Richmond Promise support me financially, but it also keeps me grounded to the place I come from. This organization genuinely seeks to be the backbone of the newer generation and to promote excellence throughout our community.”

Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond or the world?

A: “Right now, I am a pre-med and don’t intend on a change that anytime soon. However, as I grow older I slowly realize that health does not just encompass physical condition but also financial stability and political power as well. I hope that when I’m able to finish my college education, I will make my own abilities and experiences more readily available to students in the Richmond area by working at Kaiser! Ultimately, that is the goal for me and I hope that I can also be a mentor and resource to foster enrichment amongst others.”

Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?

A: “Being completely transparent, my first year in college was extremely difficult. I found the adjustment period to be quite a struggle just because there was a very distinct difference between the coasts. I had never quite struggled so much before in my life. Back in high school, I was always the “gifted” one. Despite all obstacles, I was able to overcome all odds and study hard to get into a top-tier school. But, as soon as I was enrolled, I realized that finishing college is much more difficult than getting in. And although my first year forced me to grow in a way that has never been done before, even now, I can’t definitively say that it was worth the emotional trauma. However, being back home now, I appreciate things so much more and I’m hoping that when I come back next year, I can continue going through another phase of organic growth in my life. ”

Q: What are you looking forward after receiving your bachelor’s/transferring?

A: “I am extremely excited to possibly return back to California. A short-term goal I have within the next 4 years is to get into Stanford Med or UCSF so that I can return to serving the area that I love most. Hopefully, I’ll get accepted and I can continue to be a role model for others in the area. After receiving my doctorate, being an example of authentic FGLI experience is the person I hope to become.

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