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Dorchester Native Wins Aquino Scholarship

05/22/14
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Thinh Nguyen (Photo by Lee Pellegini)

By Rosanne Pellegrini | Chronicle Staff

Published: May 22, 2014

Carroll School of Management rising senior Thinh Nguyen, who plans to pursue a career in accounting – an academic discipline he describes as “a kind of Zen exercise to bring order to life” – is the 2014 Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship award winner.

Presented annually to a student who represents the highest ideals and aspirations of Boston College and the Asian American community, the scholarship provides up to $20,000 toward senior-year tuition.

“The Aquino Scholarship is a testament to the hard work and excellence of the entire Asian-American community, not just myself,” Nguyen said of the award. “It is an incredible honor.”

Nguyen, who grew up in Dorchester’s Vietnamese community, is sensitive to the pressures facing first-generation Asian American students in balancing respect for their traditional cultures and the desire to fit into modern American culture. To help families in his community bridge this gap, he volunteers as an instructor at the Vo Binh Dinh Vietnamese Martial Arts Academy, where students range in age from seven to 18.

That experience, he said, “has been a large part of my life outside of BC. It’s taught me discipline and leadership, but it’s given me the opportunity to work with at-risk Vietnamese American students. It’s been an incredibly rewarding opportunity to teach children who, like me, did not have role models growing up.”

With a CSOM academic focus in accounting and finance, Nguyen studied business law in Venice in 2012, via a McGillycuddy-Logue Travel Grant.

“BC has surpassed all of my expectations,” Nguyen said. “I have had the opportunity to travel to Venice and visit technology companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. I have been a chemistry tutor in the Connors Learning center, and a teaching assistant for Database Systems. Most importantly, I have been taught by the most caring and intelligent professors in the Carroll School. BC has shaped me into a leader, but it has taught me the importance of educating others with what I have learned.”

Nguyen also served as assistant director of UGBC’s AHANA Caucus and throughout his undergraduate years has worked with leaders of several culture clubs and served as president of the Asian Caucus, an umbrella organization for eight cultural groups that seeks to educate the campus community about Asian cultures and the shared Asian American experience.

“The pressure I felt as a first-generation Asian American student was something I pushed on myself because of my natural instinct to care for my family,” he said. “However, the pressure has been replaced by the motivation to help others and the passion to pursue excellence within myself.”

Nguyen – who says he is grateful for the generous support from a number of fellow students, faculty members and administrators – will continue his volunteer efforts in Dorchester this summer, and work in the Risk Assurance Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers.