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Cynthia Tran

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Bio

I am currently a nursing student at Charles R. Drew University. I want to apply my compassion and empathy for people to my work and aim to support patients who often find themselves underserved and marginalized by our society. I am seeking financial aid to help keep me in school and further my dream of becoming a nurse and advocate for patients. I am currently also caring for my mom and grandma, and previous to that I was a medical assistant in a cardiology clinic. I have also volunteered at various hospitals and clinics where I have met numerous patients who inspired me to pursue a career in which I could help people like them. Prior to that, I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology. In terms of hobbies, I recently learned how to use a sewing machine, and I enjoy anything that allows me to be creative. I also played the piano and violin when I was younger and love to occasionally pick them up for a tune or two. Now, I enjoy cooking, playing fetch with my dog, and winding down my day with a reflection and meditation.

Education

Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science

Master's degree program
2021 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing

University of California-Los Angeles

Bachelor's degree program
2013 - 2017
  • Majors:
    • Biology, General

Segerstrom High

High School
2009 - 2013

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Hospital & Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      Registered Nurse

    • Home Provider

      In Home Support Services
      2020 – Present4 years
    • Medical Assistant

      Orange County Cardiac Rhythm Institute
      2017 – 20214 years

    Sports

    Tennis

    Club
    2014 – Present10 years

    Research

    • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other

      Cedars Sinai Medical Center — Undergraduate Research Student
      2017 – 2017

    Arts

    • Piano and Violin

      Music
      2004 – 2013
    • Vietnamese Student Union

      Dance
      2013 – 2017

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Southeast Asian Campus Learning Education and Retention — Staff Assistant, Mentor
      2013 – 2017
    • Volunteering

      Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center — Patient Escort
      2015 – 2017
    • Volunteering

      Medical Experience Through Service in Healthcare — Project Health Fair
      2015 – 2017
    • Volunteering

      Venice Family Clinic — Clinical Assistant
      2014 – 2017
    • Volunteering

      Orange Coast Memorial Hospital — Recovery Volunteer
      2021 – 2021

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Bold Science Matters Scholarship
    My mom handed me a small glass bottle filled with a dark, pungent liquid. “There’s snake venom in it,” she said nonchalantly. I held the bottle away from my body and tried not to scream. My nine-year-old imagination conjured up images of my mom wrestling a snake to the ground and extracting venom from its sharp fangs. Of course, that’s not what happened, and I’m not sure that it was actual snake venom in the bottle. Out of curiosity, I recently looked up snake venom and its medicinal uses and found that Buddhist monks used to drink snake venom for resistance against snake bites. Now, we instead have vaccines to give us immunity against disease. Edward Jenner’s discovery of the smallpox vaccine is my favorite. He demonstrated in 1796 how inoculation of the cowpox virus could confer resistance against a more severe smallpox infection. His discovery later led to global vaccination efforts in the mid-1900s that eradicated smallpox making it the only human disease to be eradicated. Other vaccines have since been developed against a long list of diseases: measles, tetanus, polio, pertussis, diphtheria, hepatitis, COVID-19, and more. We can now control the progression of so many different illnesses because of this discovery allowing us to concentrate on other endeavors to improve human life.
    Bold Meaning of Life Scholarship
    I ventured out on my own for the first time when I started college. My sister helped me move in on my first day, lugging all of my belongings up to the fifth floor door room while we held back tears. One of my roommates hadn’t arrived yet, and my other roommate was staying with other friends that night. My sister reluctantly went home, and I hid in my dorm room as voices drifted through the hallways. I was shy and too scared to explore on my own, so I stayed behind the safety of the heavy wood doors. I was alone. If I were the last person left on the planet, life would be meaningless. I grew up in a house with my two parents, my grandma, three sisters, and a brother. It was hard to fit us all into one room during the holidays. Sometimes we would naturally get annoyed with each other, but it was never lonely. There was always something to do and someone to do it with. When I moved out on my own, the silence was deafening. It felt like the world had stopped, like it had lost all meaning and I had lost all purpose. My roommates and I eventually met, and we got along well. I also made good friends at school whom I appreciate to this day. In a big family like mine, there is never wanting for company, and there is always someone to whom you could return the love. As a future nurse, I know my patients will also value the time that I spend listening to their stories. Life is meant to be filled with shared experiences and the love, joy, and laughter of others. Life is meaningful when it is experienced together.
    Bold Great Books Scholarship
    Squirrels on college campuses are notorious for their fearless behavior around unassuming students. One squirrel sat on the bench next to me and stared at my granola bar. I had to move away slowly because I was afraid it would attack me. They know the students are harmless, but this isn't so for all animals. Most animals in the wild are fearful eaters - they either get food or become food. Animals, like humans, can have eating disorders rooted in fear and genetics, too. This among other health-related topics are discussed in one of my favorite books called Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health by Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers. Elks in Yellowstone National Park are prime examples of animals that display fear when wolves, their predators, were introduced to control their foliage-destructive eating behaviors. In one study, pigs displaying thin sow syndrome in which they refuse to eat their normal food had their DNA analyzed to reveal how selective breeding and genetic inheritance affect their feeding. Humans are much the same. We can learn a lot about “human” diseases like eating disorders from our fellow animals. Goats faint, birds have heart attacks, and koalas get chlamydia. The authors explore all of these topics and more in this book to explain how humans can learn from animals. In fact, animals are patients, too. They ask that physicians and veterinarians work together to uncover how diseases affect all of the co-existing beings on this planet. They also include supporting evidence and references to which readers can find more interesting information. This was a book that I couldn’t put down, and it opened up for me a whole new way of thinking about health and medicine.
    Bold Great Minds Scholarship
    Nursing as a profession has only been around for less than two centuries. Formal education for nursing only became a criteria in the mid-1800s with the work of Florence Nightingale, and wars throughout this time period spurred a need for more women who could care for the sick and wounded. One such woman was Clara Barton. Clara Barton, “Angel of the Battlefield” and founder of the American Red Cross, was a former teacher and federal employee before becoming a nurse to soldiers in the American Civil War. She never attended formal schooling but used her experience and compassion to tend to sick and wounded soldiers and bring them essential supplies. After the war, Barton ran the Office of Missing Soldiers to help distraught families locate their missing loved ones and give them proper recognition and burial. During this time, Barton also worked with Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass to support the suffrage and civil rights movements. She became acquainted with the Red Cross while traveling abroad and went on to found the American Red Cross. Despite her humanitarian efforts, she experienced pushback throughout her life as a woman. Nonetheless, she carried out her work with the noble intent of helping those in need. Nurses are now rated as one of the most trusted professions, but they are also being under-compensated and overworked in unsafe conditions. Barton is an example of a woman who would stand up against such treatment. I admire her for her dedication to caring for others while working tirelessly for equality and justice. Nurses are doing this all the time. Barton is a reminder to women and nurses that they can stand up for what is right while providing care with compassion in their hearts.
    Bold Deep Thinking Scholarship
    We had just moved into a new home, and our dog was readjusting to her different environment. She was anxious and constantly barking, so one of our neighbors eventually got annoyed and complained to animal control. We were angry. We needed time to settle in, and we were trying our best to help our dog be comfortable. We couldn’t believe how unreasonable they were when they could have simply knocked on our door. Then we realized that we were being impatient with them too. We hadn’t even met them yet. We needed to calm down and rethink the issue. The biggest problem we are facing now is a lack of compassion. With the impersonality of Internet connections and with politics becoming more polarized, we believe that not seeing eye-to-eye on certain issues makes the other party the enemy. People are immediately labelled as “other”, and we default to perpetuating stereotypes that further fragment our world into pieces. We eventually befriended our neighbors. We learned about each other’s lives and became more patient and understanding. We told them about how we were working with our dog, and they told us about their work-from-home schedule. Now we buy each other gifts and celebrate big milestones like the birth of a baby or the adoption of a new puppy. It is possible then to connect with people who seem different from an outside perspective. We can build relationships off the common themes of the shared human experience of simply being on this Earth. If we can all take the time to listen to each other’s stories and establish a human connection with each other filled with kindness and compassion, then a lot of other problems can be solved.
    Bold Caring for Seniors Scholarship
    The woman next to me clapped and danced along in her wheelchair as I played a tune on the piano in the common area. Her joy was contagious. I smiled as I finished the song, and she said, “That was beautiful! I wish people would play that piano more.” I could see tears welling up in her eyes, and I knew she meant more than what she was trying to say. Maybe the music was moving, but it was the fact that someone was there and spending time with her that she cherished. I was volunteering at an assisted living facility for people with Alzheimers. Many of the seniors there didn’t have many visitors, so it was a treat when students volunteered to play games and read books with them. I loved the time that I got to spend with them. Time and attention are all they wanted from us. My grandma has lived a long life of 93 years thus far and has a lot of stories to tell. She was a girl in Vietnam who couldn’t go to school because someone had to stay home while her brothers were getting their education. She fled Vietnam with my parents after the war, and they worked hard to rebuild their lives in America. Now that I get to spend time with her as her caregiver, she has unfortunately lost many of those stories to dementia. She is constantly in pain and has lost her mobility and independence. I try to make her as comfortable as possible. What she wants most of all though is for me to be present and to listen to the stories she has left. The time I have left with her is something we both cherish.
    Bold Climate Changemakers Scholarship
    My dad hauled out the old sewing machine and set it down with a resounding thunk. He dusted off the case before opening it to release a muskiness that filled the air. While he set it up, I carefully thumbed through the 20-year-old user manual. My parents bought this sewing machine around the same time I was born, and here it was still functioning and ready for a new owner. It is an understatement to say that humans produce a lot of waste. Tons of waste go to landfills each year, and a good portion consists of textile waste from the clothing industry. Learning to sew is one way in which I make a positive impact on our environment because the ability to sew gives me the power to alter and use anything. My dad showed me a few beginner tips and tricks, and the rest was up to me. I watched videos for instructions and inspiration, and my parents answered my questions as I started my sewing and thrifting journey. With some time and creativity, I make my pants fit better and my dresses more trendy. I buy items at the thrift store and make them my own. I also use fabric scraps to make headbands and hair ties. Because my parents had extra fabric from when they were tailors, I also got large pieces to construct new custom clothes. I don’t have to buy new clothes at the store anymore, and I feel better knowing I can contribute less to textile waste in my daily life.
    Connie Konatsotis Scholarship
    My dad did not believe I would make it in Los Angeles. I had just told him about my acceptance letter from UCLA, but our reactions could not be more opposite. I was ecstatic, and he was unamused. On one hand, he thought I would be great in the medical field which is why I was pursuing a degree in biology. On the other hand, he wanted me to stay close to home for as long as possible because I was a Vietnamese American woman with a small, short build and no experience on my own. He had four daughters, none of whom had ever left home to pursue something this big before. He wanted to see me succeed but was scared I would fail or that something horrible would happen to me. This was my dream school though. I had to convince him. It turned out that I didn’t have to do a lot of the convincing because my mom stepped into the arena for me. She is a Vietnamese woman who sacrificed her life in Vietnam coming to America as a refugee, and she wasn’t about to watch one of her daughter’s dreams dashed. She spoke to my dad and convinced him that I was a capable young woman and could make my own decisions. I submitted my intent to register, and a few months later I was off to UCLA. I loved being in Los Angeles from the start because of the people and opportunities that were now open to me. One group that I joined played a major role in my decision to pursue a career in STEAM - the Medical Experience through Service in Healthcare organization. I volunteered with them at a local community clinic where I provided resources to patients and helped take patient history and vitals. I got to know patients and listen to their stories. I also helped organize free health fairs for local communities that needed resources that we strived to provide. The interactions I had during this time shaped my dream of becoming a healthcare professional who provides compassionate and culturally competent care to people in their most vulnerable times. What interested me about STEAM in the first place was the challenge of finding truth and understanding through a delicate balance of creativity of mind and research. I want other young women to see the importance of their perspectives in the STEAM fields as well. However, women are still being denied opportunities for which they are fully capable and qualified. I have two young nieces who are already being told that “girls don’t act like that”. I want them to know that their contributions matter. I want other young women to grow up empowered to pursue higher education and motivated to utilize their knowledge and skills to help others. I am now in nursing school and surrounded by other students who have had similar experiences. A majority of my classmates are young women who have been told countless times in various ways that they would not “make it”. Many of my professors are women who were told that they didn’t belong in leadership positions. Now we have deans and directors who are women shaping the nursing profession and nursing education. Our professors tell us to be prepared to be lifelong learners because we have already proven that women will be an integral part of STEAM research and education moving forward.
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    The first time my friends and I rented a car was when we were driving up to San Francisco for the weekend during summer break in our early twenties. We packed the car with our bags and made sure to leave the snacks in front. It was a rental, so we had to keep it clean and intact for its return, but we were ready to put miles on that car to get to our destination. One of the wisest things I have been told was to not treat my body like a rental in my twenties. It makes sense because this is the only body we will get. There is no exchanging it for another once it wears down like you can with a car rental. Pressed for time and stressed from school, however, so many of us students forget to take care of ourselves. I have skipped too many meals and lost too much sleep during exam season, and my body knows it. That is why this piece of wisdom is significant to me. As a student nurse, patients have told me to value my youth and take care of my health. Most of the time, their advice is to avoid growing old in the first place. Since that isn’t practical, they also tell me to eat healthy and get my annual physical exams. Our professors tell us to take care of our backs when we move patients because workplace injuries are common in our profession. So instead of ignoring that “check engine” light and neglecting any weird creaking noises, we should take care of our bodies the way we would treat our dream luxury cars and give it what it needs to run for the long haul.
    Bold Persistence Scholarship
    My grandma told us on three separate occasions that she was going to die. The first time was about ten years ago when she had the flu. She split up her jewelry and gave each grandchild something with which to remember her. The second time she was admitted to the hospital. My sister held her hand as she lamented all that she would lose. The most recent time, she moaned in pain as she tried to sit up in bed. She prayed louder and more often, more and more frightened at what death would bring with each passing day that she was alive. As a Vietnamese refugee, my grandma had a difficult life and made countless sacrifices for her family to come to America. She and my parents have shown me what persistence looks like. I am currently my grandma’s caregiver, and I watch as she struggles each day to pull herself up just to take her medicine. I also balance nursing school with my family life, and it is a struggle to manage schoolwork, my grandma’s health, and my own health as I learn how to cope with the stress and emotions. I persist, however, because the point at which I am in my life right now is meaningful. I get to be part of my grandma’s life for as long as she has left on this Earth. I get to help make her as comfortable as possible and tell her that she has had an impact on my life. I also get to go to school to become a nurse and care for others with the love and attention that I have been given all my life. Persistence has gotten my family this far because we each had our reasons.
    Bold Hope for the Future Scholarship
    When my seven-year-old niece opened up her Christmas presents, her face lit up with delight because she had gotten exactly what was on her wish list - a camper set for her dolls. I was confused when I saw this on her wish list because it seemed uncharacteristic of her. She doesn’t play with dolls often. She finished tearing off the wrapping paper, turned around, and excitedly handed the box to her little sister. I asked her mom about this later and was told that she had put her sister’s wish on her own list because she wanted her baby sister to have more presents. In a world where every other news article is about COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on low-income and minority populations, every feel-good story feels like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. When I go to the hospital during clinicals or when my professors relay their stories about the pandemic, I am reminded of the many people who need love and hope right now. I am also reminded that I can make an impact as a student now and when I become a registered nurse. As a student, I get to spend time with patients who often tell me that all they need is company and something to look forward to. Knowing that there are people who truly care gives my patients hope. My nephews and nieces are young, but they have a lot to give and have already taught me so much about love and making a positive impact in other people’s lives. My niece’s small act of selflessness gives me hope that there is a brighter future ahead. There is another generation of kind, humble, and compassionate people. My own life and the impact I can have isn’t over yet either. I get to influence the next generation in my future work as a nurse, and helping patients and their families cope and recover gives me hope for a brighter future for them as well.
    Bold Reflection Scholarship
    I once held a human heart in my hands. In high school, I attended a pre-med summer program at a local college where I had the opportunity to participate in a cadaver lab. The instructors carefully placed the heart in my outstretched hands and asked me to locate its parts and functions. I was fascinated. There were other activities during this program that drew me into a career in the medical field. One morning, we spoke with patients at the hospital who were willing to share their experiences with our young minds. My group met a patient who was waiting for a kidney transplant, and his family held back tears as they told us about their arduous journey. They had seen their husband and father go through so much, and there was still so much left unknown. The patient was too tired to talk, but he looked at each of us with imploring eyes. “Don’t go,” he seemed to say. “Please stay and care for me.” From that moment on, I sought out opportunities to interact with patients and help them in any way I could. I volunteered at local clinics and hospitals where I met patients who could not get the quality care they needed. I organized health fairs in communities with low-income and minority populations that are routinely underserved. I now attend a college as a student nurse in Los Angeles that provides opportunities for us to serve our surrounding community to fulfill its mission of social justice and health equity. My hope as a future nurse is to become a patient advocate for those who are often overlooked when it comes to culturally competent, compassionate, and quality care.
    Bold Equality Scholarship
    I was a medical assistant when I first heard of COVID-19. Our clinic immediately put precautions into place to protect everyone, but the fear of falling ill loomed over us. We continued seeing patients when we could, and many of them told me the same thing. They had a loved one who was sick. They knew someone who was an essential worker and who was hospitalized after coming into contact at work. They all wanted the best possible care for their loved ones. I was devastated to see their pain and suffering. Meanwhile, not everyone is getting the care they need. Low-income and minority populations have worse outcomes when it comes to COVID-19 infection and recovery. Unfortunately, my experiences have taught me that such barriers to healthcare are not unique to this pandemic. I volunteered at a low-cost community clinic where I saw patients who had to wait for hours to be seen by their doctors. I organized free health fairs throughout Los Angeles to provide medical screenings to people who could not get such care elsewhere. I constantly saw patients face hardships that made it more difficult for them to get quality healthcare, and these activities were ways for me to alleviate some of those needs. Systemic issues of underlying racial prejudice and the resulting unequal access to resources continues to impact the quality of care that patients receive. I am now attending a historically Black university with the mission of advocating for underserved low-income and minority populations in the greater Los Angeles area. My goal is to become a nurse who can advocate for and support patients who are often overlooked when it comes to access to safe, quality healthcare.
    Bold Success Scholarship
    Our professors told us on the first day of nursing school to cancel all of our plans for the next few years - we would likely not have time to go to birthday parties or attend any of our friends’ weddings. Someone else would have to go get groceries or put gas in the car because we would have absolutely no time during this program. Our professors’ intention was to portray just how difficult nursing school would be. They successfully scared us. I spent years completing prerequisites and applying to nursing schools, however, and I wasn’t about to quit. Also, as a Vietnamese American woman with parents and a grandma who have been struggling with the U.S. healthcare system, I have seen too much neglect of certain patient populations to sit back and do nothing. My mom, for example, had issues communicating with her health care team when she was hospitalized following a stroke in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. My grandma can only go to appointments when one of us can drive her there because transportation services are lacking. Language, cultural, and structural barriers constantly impede my family’s ability to find the care they need. My goal is to become a nurse who advocates for her patients and who provides compassionate and culturally competent care to people who are often under-represented and thus neglected in our healthcare system. I have completed one semester of nursing school and plan to utilize similar time-management and study skills to succeed in future courses. Afterwards, I will be studying for the NCLEX licensure exam which will require the same rigor and enthusiasm with which I am approaching nursing school. After passing, my goal is to be a caring nurse and advocate for patients in their most vulnerable times.
    Bold Loving Others Scholarship
    My primary “love language” is Acts of Service at 40% followed by Quality Time at 27%. If I asked my parents to take the quiz, they would probably end up with similar results. I grew up with parents who told me they love me through plates of cut fruit and dishes that they washed while I did my homework. They walked me to school even though we lived only two minutes away, and my mom would join me at school during breaks to bring snacks and spend time with me. I grew up surrounded by love. This love is what I want to share with those around me. It is less lonely knowing there are people who care about you and who you love back. However, it is hard to show someone you love them if you don’t know how they send and receive love, so finding out other people’s love languages is the first step in showing someone you care. Once I understood my love language and that of others, I expressed my love for them in ways they could understand and appreciate. My parents are not fond of giving material gifts and offering words of affirmation, for example, so I learned to give them the quality time that they spent my entire life giving to me. One of my close friends appreciates gifts, so she finds small, random gifts on her front step from time to time. The act of figuring out how someone communicates love seems trivial, but I have found that it is relevant in truly showing the other person how much you care about them.
    Bold Perseverance Scholarship
    My professor was on the Zoom call lecturing on the anatomy and physiology of the human nervous system, and I was trying to figure out where all of the squiggly lines that are our blood vessels and nerve fibers were heading off to in the diagram on the screen. Eight hours later, I got a call from my sister telling me Mom was sick. I panicked the whole way to the hospital, and they almost wouldn’t let me in because of COVID-19 restrictions except someone had to answer their questions. My mom had actually had a stroke earlier in the day, and no one knew. We waited for the neurologist, but I knew there was nothing else they could do but find out what caused the stroke and get her physical therapy. It was too late. My mom is the rock of the family. She was the one who made sure her five kids were well fed and appropriately clothed. She worked and cooked and cleaned and disentangled us when we were fighting. My dad helped her too, and they loved each other despite the occasional bickering. During my mom’s recovery, I became the rock instead. I would come home exhausted and crying every night, but at my parents’ house I was the one calling the hospital for updates and holding my dad’s hand while he cried and prayed for her return home. I visited her every day after work when the nurses allowed. I also got her to all of her appointments when she finally got to come home. Seeing my mom and family suffer was one of the most difficult times of my life, but I persevered because my family needed hope and something to hold on to.
    Dr. Samuel Attoh Legacy Scholarship
    There is a Vietnamese proverb that roughly translates to, “Siblings are as close as hands and feet.” Family is part of you. They make you who you are and help you when times are rough. They shape you, and they carry and support you throughout life. My mom likes to remind me of this saying when I fight with my siblings. My parents sacrificed too much to stand by and see their children fight amongst each other over trivial matters. My parents came to the U.S. as refugees with three kids in tow and the rest of their lives left behind in Vietnam. They spent 30 years building their lives back up in America, had two more kids, and are now happily surrounded by their children and grandchildren. People might look at my parents and think they have not accomplished much. They do not have millions of dollars to their names, and they do not have stowed-away secrets about how to achieve success in our academic or professional lives, but the legacy they will leave their children is not money or fame. Instead, they leave us with love. My parents were not the perfect parents. No parent is the perfect parent, but they were parents who loved and cared for their five children without bounds. They were very strict and expected perfect grades on my report cards, but they also saved every penny from back-breaking sewing jobs and recyclable collections to make sure we had school supplies. They cut fruit for our snacks and told us to share it with our friends. They never said a word, but they showed us little by little what it means to be loving and kind despite the hardships that they endured. Something I absolutely know I want as part of my future is to be a nurse. Being Vietnamese, I was surrounded by family who constantly told me that my career choices were limited to the medical, engineering, and law fields. Despite the pressure, I found myself to love nursing because it involves caring for patients and providing them with the empathy and support that they need in their most vulnerable times. I can learn pathophysiology and pharmacology from my textbooks, but my parents are the ones that showed me how to be human. They in their seemingly mundane lives leave me with a legacy of love and kindness to be shared with all.
    Bold Generosity Matters Scholarship
    It only happens in movies. The couple is having their first big dinner together at a fancy restaurant they can barely afford, but it’s a special night so they’re here anyway. They have just finished dessert when the waiter approaches them with no bill in his hands. He tells the couple that someone has graciously paid for their entire dinner because the couple reminds them of when the generous patron was young and in love. The waiter says that the kind stranger wishes the couple a long and happy life together. Tears well up in the couple’s eyes, and an upbeat song starts to fill the room as the scene fades away. I thought it only happened in movies until it happened to me. I was one of that couple who was sitting at the candle-lit dinner table on Valentine’s Day, and I was the one tearing up because this was one of the kindest gifts from a stranger I have ever received. Generosity of love and spirit was what I witnessed that night, because there was more than money involved in this gesture. There was love and hope and joy in that moment that I hope to replicate for as many people as I possibly can in my life.
    Bold Joy Scholarship
    When I complained to my older siblings about my homework in grade school, they would counter with grievances about their work and bills and responsibilities and more bills. As a result, I did not want to grow up. I reveled in my free and fun time, and they in turn got to stop hearing me whine about my homework. As a young adult now, I see the truth of their grievances. However, this does not negate the fact that I can find joy in the little things the way I found joy in my childhood. I grew up thinking that there was no joy in being an adult. “Never grow up,” they warned me. “Stay young forever.” While I do reminisce on my childhood and yearn for “when things were easier”, I truly enjoy being able to seek out joy in my own life. I get to play with my dog and water my own plants. I find joy in a nice hike around the park or a walk along the beach whenever I feel like it. I also get to watch TV whenever I like and read whatever books I want. I could even find the inner child within myself and carve a pumpkin or make a gingerbread house if I want to. Joy is the child in each of us that wants us to remember what it was like to see or do something for the first time. Joy is finding the little things in life that add up to bring a smile to my face. Joy is finding beauty in the seemingly mundane.
    Bold Giving Scholarship
    Giving is a choice: we choose what to give, when to give, and whom to give to. I am lucky to have been chosen before. I am actually lucky to have been chosen several times. Another patron chose to pay for my meal when I was a young college student and new in the city. Someone else chose to help me carry my things when I did not have a car. People at my school chose to provide free meals from the food pantry even when the campus closed down from the COVID-19 pandemic. I am lucky to have been chosen. There are others who do not get chosen. I volunteered at clinics where people come because they are turned away by other places. I also organized free community health fairs for people who could not find care and resources elsewhere. I was also a volunteer listener for those who needed someone to lend an ear. I want a lifelong journey of giving where I get to choose people to care for and love the way I have been my whole life. People often make choices they regret, but giving to others and seeing the positive impact it has on their lives is not something I will ever regret.
    Bold Simple Pleasures Scholarship
    We are constantly chasing happiness in its various, seemingly elusive forms. We buy things that we do not need, eat things that we think will satisfy our endless cravings, and do things that may not have been wise in retrospect thinking they will make us happier people. I am guilty of buying too many sweets and eating them in front of the TV while watching sitcoms, for instance. There are many things that I think will make me “happy” but few that make the feeling last, and the simple pleasures in life turn out to be those few things. One thing that will undoubtedly make me happy is coming home every day to my 11-year-old chiweenie, Caramel. In turn, she is always happy to see me as evidenced by her tail wagging at rates comparable to marathon runners. No matter what time of day it is, she is ready to greet me when I walk through the doors. She also teaches me to live in the moment and find joy and fun in the most mundane parts of life. She does not dwell on the past nor distress herself over a future that has not yet come. Her thoughts are purely on the love and affection of the present moment. Whether I am watching TV, baking, watering my plants, or doing some arts and crafts, I can count on her to be there to remind me of the importance of all of these simple pleasures in life.
    Pettable Pet Lovers Scholarship
    Caramel is enjoying a warm and cozy winter evening at home where she can snuggle up in bed with her loved ones. She is a chiweenie with a big heart, and she loves peanut butter, bananas, chicken, and any other treats you have to offer her. She loves to play fetch, so for now she's hoping for a new tennis ball for the holidays.
    Bold Self-Care Scholarship
    My calendar is packed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I always made sure I was doing something, but I have learned over time that I can “pack” my schedule with things other than school and work and other commitments. I could either pack my suitcase with only heavy rocks, or I could intersperse a few squishy packing peanuts to cushion and lighten the journey. Practicing self-care is a way for me to cushion my journey and make it a more enjoyable experience. My favorite self-care activity is sewing and arts and crafts. I love creating things out of nothing and making my ideas come to life. I also end up with fun gifts that I can share with others, like aprons for my parents or clothes for my dog. Arts and crafts are also a way for me to spend time with the people I love when we do activities to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Being creative and spending time with my loved ones takes away some of the burdens of the day so that I can more fully enjoy my life. Self-care has given me the gift of time where I thought it did not exist before. Carving out time in my schedule, or packing a few foam peanuts into my heavy luggage, allows me to fully enjoy the present moment doing the things I like with the people I love.
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    When I started nursing school, our professors told us to be flexible and ready to absorb information like a sponge. A lot of changes were about to happen and things were not going to go the way they were planned. Also, the person I was at the beginning of the program is not the person I will be when I graduate. I still have a lot to learn and a lot more experience that I have not yet had, so keeping a growth mindset where I can learn from myself and those around me is of the utmost importance. To keep a growth mindset in my life, I take the time to reflect each month on what I have accomplished and the areas in which I can improve. I also set small and specific goals with deadlines that keep me accountable in school and work. Setting aside time to think back and to plan ahead helps me celebrate my small achievements while steadily working towards my larger goals. Reflection also helps me to realize what strategies work for me and to identify ways in which I can improve my understanding of topics or performance in skills. I know that my old ways of thinking, like being afraid to offer an answer in class because of fear of failure, can impede my ability to learn. Reflection helps me to identify and curtail those habits so that I can continue to grow and metamorphosize throughout my life and career.
    #Back2SchoolBold Scholarship
    The year 2020 was the year that my mom had a stroke. She could not have visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and she could only speak directly with her healthcare team when they spoke Vietnamese, her only fluent language, so she was always confused. She told me every day that she was terrified. The people who were there for her though were her nurses. They reassured us that my mom was in good hands, and they adhered to strict precautions to keep her safe. They nursed her back to health as if she were their own mom. They also made sure that she was able to connect with our family so that we could tell her every day that we love her. My mom was terrified, but she will also always remember the compassion of her nurses, and this compassion and hope is what I aim to give to my future patients as a nurse as well. The year 2020 was the pandemic, but it was also the year that my mom found her strength and reminded me that I could go back to nursing school and have an impact on patients and families like my own.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    This quote is from a children’s book by Charlie Mackesy who wrote, “When the big things feel out of control, focus on what you love right under your nose.” I first saw the quote in a nurse’s social media post about her journey through school and work, and it came to me at a time when I was grappling with my family’s decline in health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. My mom had suffered a stroke a few months prior, and I was taking care of my 93-year-old grandma with dementia. There were a lot of big things that were out of my control. This nurse reminded me of everything that I still had to be grateful for despite facing a time of hardship. For instance, I was healthy and strong, and I had my family who loved me. I had also just gotten accepted into a Master’s nursing program after a year of submitting applications bringing me one step closer to realizing my dream of becoming a nurse. There was so much more to be grateful for, so much about life to love, and so much that could motivate me. This nurse helped me find hope for a brighter, happier future in my time of need. As a future nurse, I also want to help others find hope. I will be caring for patients who are very ill and families who are very worried. They will need me to help them find a reason to keep fighting. This quote is special to me because it will remind me of the importance of gratitude and hope for brighter days ahead for both myself and the people I have the opportunity to care for. My goal is to be a nurse who can provide compassion and warmth to her patients in their most vulnerable times and to help them find love right under their noses.
    Susy Ruiz Superhero Scholarship
    I was fortunate to have many wonderful teachers and educators in high school. I was set up for success following high school because of them: I was valedictorian of my class and had gained a lot of experience from volunteer and extracurricular activities. However, I simply did not have the money that would allow me to pursue a degree at my dream school of UCLA. My parents were Vietnamese refugees who sought a new life in America after the Vietnam war, and they had never dreamt of a college education for themselves let alone financing their five children’s educational aspirations. In the beginning, I did not know how I would reasonably cover gaps in my federal financial aid that was preventing me from going to school. I was fortunate, however, to have a higher education counselor at my high school who would not allow me to give up on my dreams and who provided me with financial resources throughout my senior year. Ms. Huezo was the one who informed me of a recurring scholarship that I was granted just before my freshman year of college. She consistently sent emails to individual students including myself that she thought was relevant to our situation. These emails consisted of scholarship opportunities and information regarding other forms of financial aid. She made sure that I knew how to apply for these opportunities, even going so far as to help me draft a cover letter asking one of my other teachers for a letter of recommendation. Because of her, I received a scholarship that was sufficient for my situation, and I was soon on my way to UCLA. I know that I am not the only student who benefited from her kindness and generosity in spirit and time. Ms. Huezo was also the one who held evening workshops for students and parents to help them fill out the FAFSA and other college applications. She helped our English teachers proofread all of our applications; there was not one personal essay that did not pass one of their desks. Ms. Huezo took her own time to put together personalized emails to each student that she intentionally put under her radar. She was also always available to us students. Her office was right off of the main square of campus and was always open to us whether we needed financial, academic, or emotional support. She is exemplary in what she does and is a prime example of an educator who goes above and beyond to help students breach whatever barriers are in their path to success. I am now reminded of her and all of the extra effort that she put into us students, and this motivates me to continue my dream of a Master’s degree in nursing to show her that her efforts were not in vain.