Patricia Nguyen '10 has been awarded the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, providing her with $90,000 to pursue her Ph.D. in performance studies. Each year, the fellowship honors and supports the graduate educations of 30 new Americans – permanent residents or naturalized citizens if born abroad, or children of naturalized citizen parents.
Growing up in Chicago, Nguyen listened to stories of her parent's life before and after the war in Vietnam, where her family ultimately escaped as boat refugees to Malaysia and Indonesia and resettled in the United States in the 1980s.
A sociology major, while at Pomona, Nguyen was active with the Asian American Resource Center, working with southeast Asian youth on probation and creating an arts empowerment program. Nguyen also co-founded Rare Diamonds, a 5C women of color collective that used performance and art as tools for political and self-expression. After Pomona, she went to Vietnam as a Fulbright Scholar, volunteered with the Pacific Links Foundation and founded the first arts education program for survivors of sex trafficking at the borders of China and Vietnam and Cambodia and Vietnam.
Currently, Nguyen is a second-year Ph.D. student at Northwestern University. She says her aim in the field of performance studies is to continue to integrate her passions in art, political economy and social justice.
Nguyen says she was deeply impacted by the courses she took at Pomona, among them classes in Africana studies, Asian American studies, Latino/a studies and sociology.
"My time at Pomona was a fundamentally enriching experience that has deeply shaped the way I move, think and feel in the world," Nguyen says.