Howdy! I’m Christi Nguyen, and I am originally from Detroit, Michigan, but have been a proud Houstonian since 2009! Currently, I’m a sophomore at Rice University studying Social Policy Analysis and Sociology with a minor in data science and a certificate in Civic Leadership. My research passions are especially focused on immigration, criminal justice, voter suppression and Asian-American and Pacific Islander issues. I’m currently working on a project about the prison-to-deportation pipeline in Houston and its relationship with CO-VID and disenfranchisement. In the future, I want to attend law school or graduate school for public policy, but first I either want to apply for some fellowships to travel and do research or get some work experience in consulting. A fun fact about me is that I have aphantasia, which means I can’t visualize.
Growing up, a college education was always expected of me. I was taught that it was what my parents came to America for — my opportunity, an opportunity I could never have been afforded in the hardships, violence, and traumas of their home country. However, as a low-income, first-generation college student, I was terrified of the college application process. It was stressful, confusing, and very lonely considering I was the first in my family to go through it. I knew the importance of what an education would mean for my future and my family but navigating what kind of education I wanted and would help me fulfill my goals that were still uncertain was very scary for me. For me, doing research and asking questions and questions about asking questions about things I might not even know of was what helped me throughout the process. It has always been a mission I had for myself help make the process easier and less stressful for others in any way I can. This process is something I understand and hold close to my heart to. Momentum Education recognizes these inequities in an access to education, and I am proud to be able to serve its mission.
At Momentum Education, I am the Student Engagement Intern and my main focus is on enrichment programming for mainly our high school students and helping them achieve their goals and get to post-secondary institutions throughout the application process and with summer opportunities. This means I manage both our essay and resume programs as well astrain and update our super-star essay and resume readers. I also help connect our students through the planning virtual college information sessions and workshops for our students and introducing and connecting students to summer opportunities! My favorite parts are getting to work with other people, the research work I get to do to create these programs, and challenging myself to automate parts of the process and make it the most student-friendly it can be.
My biggest advice for students is to use all the resources available to you in terms of academic and emotional support because both aspects are so important for your success. Don’t be intimidated, your post-secondary community serves to help each other. Make connections! Learn from others! Ask questions! Above all, take time for yourself often to check in, reflect and reevaluate with yourself to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, staying true to your goals and priorities. Also, use this time to evaluate what you like about certain classes or programs or interests and perhaps changing your plans to do what you are most passionate about. It’s ok to change your plans, the most important part is to know why you’re doing something and to make sure that it is true to you and what you want. Each evaluation should bring you closer to a specific area of profession or study that is the best fit for you.
A post-secondary education experience is a very unique, once in a life-time experience. It’s a time to work hard and challenge yourself and grow and discover your passions. It’s a time to learn from mentors and teachers and make lasting friendships. It’s a time to focus on YOU. So, I really encourage you to do just that.
Lastly, for remote students, make sure you keep track of your assignments! They are sometimes difficult, but the best you can ask of yourself is to do your best. However, there is no excuse for missing things because you forgot or not putting in the best effort you can. I recommend making task lists and using google calendar to stay on track. Use this extra time that you may have in quarantine to stay connected (safely!). Make the extra effort to develop connections and friendships or mentorships with alumni or professors or professionals! This quarantine can feel like an isolating time, but I promise if you reach out, it will make your experience so much better!
— Christi Nguyen, Class of 2023