March 23, 2016
By Troy Wilde
Tempe, AZ – Thao Phan (tao – fan) has come a long way from the small town in Vietnam where she spent the first eight years of her life.
Thao, now 22 and pursuing a bachelor’s degree of Science in Health Administration at Arizona State University, has fond memories of Vietnam, “I just remember always being around my family. I had a really large family so I always had cousins and relatives around me, so it was very family oriented over there compared to how it is here. That’s kind of one thing that I really miss about it – that, and the food.”
Thao started the second grade in Phoenix not knowing English but soon learned the language and excelled in school. She graduated from Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and earned a scholarship from BHHS Legacy and College Success Arizona.
Like many of the students who earn scholarships from BHHS Legacy and College Success Arizona, Thao will graduate from college with little or no student debt. Thao adds that guidance from Matt Sotelo, her success adviser with College Success Arizona, is also very helpful:
“What I wanted more than anything was the support, and that’s what I needed – I needed somebody to help me follow through.”
Thao, who is fluent in Vietnamese, plans on becoming a nurse and also hopes to volunteer for the Peace Corps after graduating from ASU in 2017, “If they (Peace Corps) would let me go to Vietnam to do my service that would be fantastic because actually that’s where I would be most useful.”
Thao credits her success in college and the desire to succeed in life to her mother and father, “My dad graduated high school but never went to college – my dad just struggled so much with raising a family of four kids and so he was always telling us to do well in school so we could have a better future.”
Young people considering college may consider the following words of encouragement from Thao, “You need to go to college even if you don’t know what you’re doing because at some point you’re going to figure out what you’re doing and you don’t want not going to college to be your biggest mistake. So essentially, go to college if you know what you want to do. Go to college if you don’t know what you want to do, just make sure that you have that under your belt because it’s going to help you later on.”