At UNAVSA, we understand that education is most powerful when applied, and are ecstatic to announce the launch of our Alumni Mentorship Program (AMP) for 2018. This program is geared towards current students or young adults who are looking to take the next step in their professional careers. Mentees will be paired with UNAVSA alumni who have established themselves in their respective fields, and will receive support in various dimensions of professional development over the span of a year, starting in August. Our vision is to encourage and catalyze the budding careers Vietnamese artists, writers, politicians, community organizers, athletes, scientists, engineers, doctors, professors, and more.

Timmy Vo, UNAVSA’s current Alumni Relations Committee director, remembers his first time talking to his UNAVSA alumni mentor, back in 2012: “My mentor Hanna Nguyen and I talked for almost an hour about how much we loved being part of UNAVSA. With our similar personalities and passions aligned, I became inspired and looked up to her as she shared her knowledge and advices in paving my journey to become a dental hygienist.” With Hanna’s guidance and reassurance, he successfully navigated the necessary coursework and entry-level job applications and today is a registered dental hygienist.

Timmy attributes the inflection point in his professional career to UNAVSA’s Alumni Mentorship Program, which until today had been discontinued, but his growth is not necessarily a common story within the Vietnamese community: due to cultural and socioeconomic barriers, Southeast Asians are severely underrepresented in the workforce, academia, and other industries (read more on the statistics in our reports regarding lack of data disaggregation for Vietnamese North Americans [1] [2]) Though VSAs are able to provide welcoming spaces for those who seek Southeast Asian identity and community development, most students still do not effectively utilize the professional resources at their disposal during their academic careers.

Toni Morrison’s words captures the essence of our vision for alumni relations: “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that… if you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.” UNAVSA trusts that our alumni hold the potential to progress the entire Vietnamese North American diaspora, and that our relaunch of our formal alumni mentorship program will provide a foundation for collective empowerment.

Interested in learning more about UNAVSA AMP?
For more information, see the program description: unavsa.org/alumni/alumni-mentorship-program
To apply to be a mentor, fill out the following application: bit.ly/amp-mentor-app
To apply to be a mentee, fill out the following application: bit.ly/amp-mentee-app
For any other questions, please contact alumni.relations@unavsa.org.

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