Triple Major Doesn’t Leave Involvement to the Classroom
Jason Nguyen ‘18 attributes success to abundance of opportunities available to SCU students.
Portland native and recent College of Arts and Sciences graduate Jason Nguyen is the definition of “involved.” A triple major in Biology, Spanish, and Public Health, he is passionate about using his education to help support marginalized groups and reduce the disparities in our society. He recalls applying to Jesuit universities because he went to a Catholic high school and enjoyed the emphasis on social justice and community service. Santa Clara was the perfect fit because he wanted to go out of state to become more independent, but didn’t want to travel too far away from home.
Immediately upon arrival, Jason immersed himself in a broad spectrum of student organizations. His passions range from supporting the LGBTQ+ community and engaging culturally with other Vietnamese-American students, to volunteering his time with Camp Kesem, where he helped provide support to children affected by a parent’s cancer. He feels especially connected to his peers in the LEAD scholars program for first generation college students, saying “everyone has overcome so many challenges just to be here, and with their accomplishments I am inspired and feel there is no excuse for me not to thrive.”
Jason’s outgoing nature and involvement on campus has opened many doors for him--one of them being his study abroad experience in Ecuador during his junior year, which he considers to be one of the more formative experiences of his college career. Choosing to complete a Public Health program in a Spanish-speaking country pushed him out of his comfort zone as he was urged to use the local language in the community. He recalls that such a hands-on program was helpful in that he learned more than he would have elsewhere, and was able to make both personal and professional connections that he still keeps in contact with today.
When asked what he will miss most about SCU, Jason says he will miss being able to walk across campus and run into multiple friends and classmates. He feels that this tight-knit community is almost like a neighborhood, and the familiar, comforting faces around campus helped him to realize that he had built a support system at his home away from home. He is grateful for the opportunities SCU provided him, as he feels like he has been able to pursue anything he’s found interesting, gaining a plethora of applicable skills from each experience.
Although Jason still doesn’t know where he will end up career-wise, he feels the skills he acquired at SCU will allow him to be comfortable, confident, and successful in anything he pursues. He says, “I would ideally like a job that allows me to pursue different interests. It’s not like the same job all the time--there’s always new opportunities, new challenges, and new skills I can learn. I didn’t expect to learn about marketing or how to fundraise. These weren’t skills I was pursuing, but that I picked up throughout my years at Santa Clara--and they’re valuable. I am hoping for a job where each day feels like there’s things to discover about myself and the world in general, a job that feels new and refreshing and exciting.”
After graduation, Jason will take his talents and passion to UT Health in Houston, where he will work toward earning a Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology.