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Anson Nguyen

8645

Bold Points

48x

Nominee

7x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hi there! I'm Anson (he/him), and I'm an undergraduate student at Brown University ('27) studying sociology and modern culture and media. Down the line, I plan to further my lifelong love for education in graduate school — with the ultimate goal of fighting for change through social justice. I graduated in the 98th percentile of Riverview High School's Class of 2023, dual-enrolled full-time at the State College of Florida, earning both my HS diploma and AA. I've also been a research assistant at Brown for over a year, creating GIS data to study the residential segregation of immigrants and racial minorities. I'm incredibly passionate about social & reproductive justice and have worked extensively with Planned Parenthood as a peer sex educator. I was also the editor-in-chief of a youth magazine with Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, pushing for political activism & advocacy in thousands nationwide. In my free time, I love to dance — my friends call me "Dancin' Anson!" As a queer Vietnamese-American immigrant and as the first person in my family to go to college, I am truly humbled, grateful, and blessed to be able to pursue higher education. Unfortunately, I currently do not qualify for financial aid and have to pay nearly $90,000 out-of-pocket this year alone. I would love your support to help make my dreams come true. Let's work together to be bold and make a change!

Education

Brown University

Bachelor's degree program
2023 - 2027
  • Majors:
    • Sociology

State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota

Associate's degree program
2021 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Social Sciences, General

Riverview High School

High School
2019 - 2023

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Sociology and Anthropology
    • Social Sciences, General
    • Public Policy Analysis
    • Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies, Other
    • Psychology, General
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Higher Education

    • Dream career goals:

      Creating positive change through social justice

    • Host

      Cafe Barbosso
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Receptionist

      Angel Nails & Spa
      2018 – Present6 years

    Sports

    Karate

    Club
    2015 – 20216 years

    Awards

    • 2nd Degree Black Belt

    Research

    • Sociology

      Brown University — Research Assistant
      2022 – Present

    Arts

    • Vogue Dance and the Ballroom Scene

      Dance
      2016 – Present
    • Rise Above Performing Arts

      Theatre
      School of Rock, The Addams Family, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
      2018 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Bored of Boredom — English, Culture, and Arts Tutor | Recruiter
      2020 – 2021
    • Advocacy

      Fabulous Arts Foundation — Lead Event Organizer
      2022 – Present
    • Advocacy

      Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florda — Editor-In-Chief of Youth Magazine; Peer Educator
      2019 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Teen Court — Juror
      2017 – 2018

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Adam Montes Pride Scholarship
    Winner
    "Menial" My nostrils have been ransacked by the pungent smell of nail polish remover since the age of five. My parents and I immigrated to the United States a week following my second birthday. Leaving everything behind, they sought their American Dream and landed on “Angel Nails.” The grand opening of “Angel Nails” marked a new chapter of my childhood. Courtesy of the “employees-only” backroom, I had my family’s version of “bring-your-kid-to-work day” every day. You’d typically find me snoopily roaming between rows of pedicure chairs, chatting up clients, awaiting my mom’s voice to cut my scheming short: “Anson, time to go!” A client would soon likely be startled by an eager second-grader, Power Rangers rolling backpack in-hand, dashing out the door; I’d unintentionally mess up many drying mani-pedis stumbling out of “Angel Nails.” In sixth grade, “menial” was one of our vocab words, “not requiring much skill; lacking prestige.” My classmate, a past visitor of “Angel Nails,” asked, “Aren’t nail techs kinda menial, Anson?” I pieced together a shrug, but as the day went on, the word “menial” continued to echo in my head, reverberating the whispers of humiliation I had previously tried to suppress. This comment had struck a deeper, familiar nerve: on career day, as my friends’ parents presented their lab coats and doctorate-level educations, I questioned if my working-class upbringing was inferior. Hearing my parents’ American Dream described as “menial” solidified a perceived “Devil Nails,” tainted with shame and embarrassment. What I’d failed to grasp was that within those pedicure chairs laid hidden inspiration and passionate hearts— far beyond what met the eye. On either side of me, as I strolled through the halls of “Angel Nails,” were my parents and the rest of our technicians, all first-generation Vietnamese immigrants without college degrees, impassioned with a legacy of perseverance tracing back to post-Vietnam War chain migration, working diligently to perfect their craft. Watching my mom make free mani-pedi house visits for a client undergoing chemotherapy treatments, I realized there was nothing about “Angel Nails” to be ashamed of; my parents and the rest of our technicians were undeniable role models and didn’t need Ph.Ds to show their worth. As I began embracing my upbringing at “Angel Nails,” stories from our “employees-only” backroom enriched my after-school days: each one of our technicians fought for their place — against the odds — overcoming educational, linguistic and cultural isolation, abject poverty, and xenophobic immigration policy. Their stories ignited newfound passion in my mission of social justice; the possibility of alleviating these same barriers for future immigrants inspired me beyond the vague framework of “helping people” I had haphazardly adopted — sparking tangible goals of reform in social mobility, immigration policy, education, and accessibility to fight for. Today, I advocate for change by shining a light on stories formerly written off as “menial.” Whether I’m calming peers down during pregnancy scares or spreading LGBTQ+ allyship praxis to sex educators across the country, I strive to center empathy and open-mindedness as a catalyst for progressive political change. I like to think that through this work, I’m writing the next chapter of Angel Nail’s story. I now know that my nail salon upbringing doesn’t make me “less than,” but rather empowers me with a unique perspective I can lean on as I work to create change. Ironically, I now find comfort in the same smell of nail polish remover that irked me years ago: a sense of familiarity…of home.
    Your Dream Music Scholarship
    “Break My Soul” by Beyoncé As a Queer Vietnamese American immigrant and reproductive justice activist, I consistently find myself the target of hateful rhetoric and discrimination. During the height of COVID, this often took the form of xenophobic comments about my race, and within my right-wing Floridian community, slurs attached to my queerness are just as common. On days when I feel like throwing in the towel, Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” inspires me to persevere even in the height of this marginalization. As an advocate with Planned Parenthood, I’ve been harassed and looked down upon by protesters, classmates, and even family. As I’ve walked through Planned Parenthood’s doors, through my headphones, Beyoncé’s infectious chorus, repeating the mantra “You won’t break my soul,” has drowned out the screams of protesters, relaying an unrelenting message of optimism and bringing newfound courage. I’m reminded that my goals of advocating for comprehensive sex education and LGBTQ+ allyship remain impactful no matter the naysayers, and the motivation from an artistic icon like Beyoncé never fails to reinvigorate me. Even in the height of reactionary waves against social justice: the overturning of Roe V. Wade, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” I know that through my work, “I'm buildin' my own foundation… and I'm takin' my new salvation,” across my community — laying the groundwork for change, even when it feels like our government is moving backward. Whether I’m calming peers down during pregnancy scares or sharing my story within magazine articles to thousands of youth and sex educators across the country, I strive to center empathy and open-mindedness as a catalyst for progressive political change — never allowing my soul to be broken, and uplifting others’ souls in the process.
    @frankadvice National Scholarship Month TikTok Scholarship