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Texas Exes Asian Alumni Network » Student Spotlight » November Student Spotlight: Valerie Nguyen

November Student Spotlight: Valerie Nguyen

Continuing our monthly spotlight, this month’s spotlight is on UT student: Valerie Nguyen.

Valerie Nguyen
Valerie Nguyen
1. What are you involved in here at The University of Texas at Austin?

I’m currently serving as the President of the Texas Exes Student Chapter, and I also sit on the Board of Directors of the Texas Exes.  I’m also the social chair and a member of Redefined Dance Company, a hip hop dance company here at UT dedicated to spreading hip hop through the Austin community.  We offer free dance classes every other week (which is great on the student budget!).  We also hold a charity dance convention once a year where we bring in choreographers from all over Texas to teach a weekend of dance classes.  Last year, we raised over $1,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.  I’m also currently a double major in Finance and Advertising, and I’m in the Texas Creative program.

2. Best memory, favorite tradition, or favorite thing about UT?

Best memory: freshman year living in the dorms, I did everything with my neighbors (they’re still the people I hang out with now!).  For home football games, we’d wake up early and go get bagels at Einsteins.  Then we’d blast the Longhorn Band CD and paint up for the games.  After being crazy at the game, we’d go out and grab a bite to eat, take a quick nap, and then go out to celebrate our victory.
Favorite tradition: One thing I love about UT is the diversity of the student body.  This is very clearly reflected in my dance company: we have guys, girls, every ethnicity, different majors, and foreign exchange students.  So for Thanksgiving, we always get together and have a big potluck.  We end up having everything from traditional cornbread to kimchi to Mexican flan.  And sometimes, it ends up being somebody’s first Thanksgiving ever.
Favorite thing: Running into a fellow Longhorn far away from Austin.  Once you throw up the HOOK EM, everybody knows what’s up.
3. Are there any interesting projects that you’re working on?

This year with the Texas Exes Student Chapter, we’re hoping to have more alumni-student events, through job shadowing and our “Dinner with Twelve Strangers” program.
4. Any advice for any current students or incoming Freshman?

JOIN. A. STUDENT. ORGANIZATION.  Chase those random hobbies that you’ve always had.  Try new things that you think will probably embarrass you.  Check out a student org just because their flier is cool.  The friends and memories you’ll make are worth it!

5. UT’s motto is “What Starts Here Changes the World”. What’s one thing you would like to see done while here at UT

I would love to see free parking on campus!  Just kidding!  While I’m here at UT or afterwards, I would like to see UT become a more green campus.  For example, lots of organizations hand out paper fliers when they table (especially at the beginning of semesters).  While organizations might not like to hear this, a lot of students have no interest at all and end up throwing away the fliers at the next trash can they walk by.  A small way to be more green would be to provide paper recycling bins near areas where organizations are tabling.  Also, I don’t know if this has changed since I was in the dorm, but we didn’t used to be able to recycling plastic bottles.  That could change too!  I’m a big believer in small changes making a difference towards greater overall change.
6. What’s something that you’ve learned while at UT that you didn’t learn from a classroom?

I’ve realized that the most learning potential comes from stepping outside of your safety zone.  Whether it’s taking a randomly interesting class or allowing yourself to be dragged to some strange new activity by a friend, you never know the surprising opportunities or knowledge you might gain.

7. Favorite role model or someone you look up to

One of my favorite role models is one of my high school teachers, Mr. Kristan.  He has the ability to make you feel like you can save the world.  As a leader, it is important to be able to make people feel like they matter, like what they do does make a difference.  As I have started to step into leadership positions, I realize how important this is.  We still email even though I graduated from high school three years ago!

Written by Jennifer Wang

Filed under: Student Spotlight

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