Q&A With Baylor Fulbright Recipient Huong Nguyen

May 11, 2012
Huong NguyenBaylor University senior Huong Nguyen of Houston is one of five Baylor students and recent graduates who have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

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WACO, Texas (May 11, 2012) - Baylor University senior Huong Nguyen of Houston is one of five Baylor students and recent graduates who have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. A senior Medical Humanities major on a pre-med track, Nguyen will pursue the Master's of Science in Health Sciences and Public Health Research at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Baylor Media Communications recently conducted a Q&A with each of Baylor's most recent Fulbright recipients.

Baylor Media Communications: How did you find out that you had received a Fulbright and what was your reaction?

Huong Nguyen: I found out about receiving the scholarship when I was in Florida. We had a long day on the beach, and I had just woken up from a nap. I was checking my email for other reasons, and I saw an email from Dean Vardaman that had the tagline: "CONGRATULATIONS." I scrolled down and saw an email from the Fulbright Program, and couldn't believe what I was reading. I just started jumping up and down, screaming in a room filled with great friends. My roommate read the email, and that was when we realized "it" was happening. I called my mom first; luckily she was with my dad and sisters. They were excited and told me they were proud of me, and that made me happy. Then I called two of my best friends from back home, Anthony and Jami, and that was a great moment, too. I don't think I've ever felt so blessed in my entire life to have such wonderfully supportive family and friends in my life.

Baylor Media Communications: Why did you decide to apply for the Fulbright and why the UK? Which university will you attend?

Huong Nguyen: Sometimes I don't think I decided to apply to Fulbright on my own. A sweet friend of mine, Alejandra, actually told me about it. Her exact words: "Huong, I think you're perfect for Fulbright. You just have to try!" So, I contacted Dean Vardaman and she took a chance with me. We worked for three weeks, nonstop. I actually averaged about three hours of sleep every night during that time. But it was so worth it. We decided to go after a country and a university that would benefit me the most in the future. We looked at the UK, and the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland, and I knew right away that this was where I needed to be. Their Master's of Science in Health Sciences and Public Health Research is in a league of its own. I am so excited to be a student at Aberdeen!

Baylor Media Communications: What will you study/research there?

Huong Nguyen: I will be pursuing a Master's of Science in Health Sciences and Public Health Research.

Baylor Media Communications: Why did you decide to come to Baylor for your undergraduate study?

Huong Nguyen: My decision to come to Baylor wasn't an easy one to make. I wanted to "go away" for college; my family is extremely close, and it would have been difficult to be away. But I researched Baylor, and I knew I wanted to go to a school that excelled academically and one that would provide me with spiritual guidance. The moment that "sealed the deal" was when I visited the campus and saw the Baylor Sciences Building. I don't know if everyone has had the same feeling, but I knew I belonged. Baylor was calling, and I wanted to answer. Home is where the heart is, and for the past four years, Baylor's had mine!

Baylor Media Communications: What are your plans after Baylor and the Fulbright?

Huong Nguyen: After graduation, I'm going to work until I leave for Scotland in September. After my time with Fulbright, I plan on attending medical school and continue on my pursuit of becoming a pediatric oncologist.

Baylor Media Communications: Who are some of the Baylor faculty members who helped you in your major, as well as your Fulbright application?

Huong Nguyen: Dr. Michael Attas has been a great mentor of mine. He was one of the professors who wrote a recommendation letter that I fully believe is one of the reasons why I got the Fulbright. He headed up the start of the Medical Humanities program here at Baylor several years ago and he's also a cardiologist in Waco. And I am grateful to Dean Vardaman and Dr. Escobar in the Office of National and International Scholarships!

Michael Attas, MD, cardiologist, part-time lecturer and associate director of Medical Humanities, Baylor College of Arts & Sciences: Huong is simply remarkable--perhaps the best of my many gifted students that I have been fortunate enough to teach over the last 13 years. What makes her so unique isn't necessarily that she is conversant and knowledgeable about the many disciplines of medicine, philosophy of health care, economics, literature and spirituality. It is the way she integrates and synthesizes them that sets her apart. It is what was once referred to as a "seamless garment." I don't think she does this intentionally as much as it just flows naturally. She avoids compartmentalizing her knowledge and life of faith as effortlessly as anyone I've ever known. It took me a long long time and a lot of blind alleys to get to the level of emotional and cognitive maturity and self discipline that she demonstrates daily. It was one of the great gifts of my time at Baylor to know and teach her!

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