The Lighthouse Series

The 2016-2017 Council of Regional Representatives is proud to announce The Lighthouse Series! Leaders from across the North American Vietnamese community will be providing insight and expertise on a variety of topics. Through this interactive online series, learn more about Vietnamese traditions, building your VSA, professional and career development, civic engagement, health and fitness consultation, and many other various subjects!

With Education as our main operating pillar, we at UNAVSA want to expand on this ideal: by providing resources, and relevant material to further our members and their journey through leadership. UNAVSA believes a well informed individual is a successful individual and with help from the right tools, potential is turned into a reality.

Our series is split up across 5 categories in order to accommodate the varying interests of our constituents:

  1. VSA/Leadership Development
  2. Professional Development
  3. Culture
  4. Community Engagement
  5. Miscellaneous

For comments, questions, or concerns, contact


Lead The Way With VSA!

Lead The Way With VSA! is a two part series in which we’ll explore the various aspects of building your VSA and developing yourself as a leader. In part one we’ll go through common issues faced while developing VSAs and conduct a discussion on how we can find valuable solutions to those issues and provide the proper advice needed for your club to succeed. In our second part, whether you’re involved in an organization or not, we will go through ways you can develop yourself and become the type of leader you want to be.

Session Time: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10 PM EST

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Well known for his uncanny ability to motivate and inspire others, Val Chaves is a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who currently pursuing his MBA with a concentration in IT. His current roles in VSA include Co-Executive Director of the 3rd Annual Vietnamese Empowerment Summit (VES-3), UNAVSA’s Council of Regional Representatives (New England), and New England IVSA’s Public Relations Chair. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family, reading for fun, and consistently dreaming of an even better VSA.
Daniel is currently a software engineer at Capital One. He graduated last May from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in bio-engineering. Ever since finding VSA his freshman year, he has served as a 2 term president of UMCP VSA, MACIV Marketing & Media Director, and MAUVSA EVP. His love for MAUVSA sprouted from a reflection of personal growth while involved. He hopes to lead this organization to continue empowering even more students across the Mid-Atlantic. VSA is something more than just an organization, it’s a family.
Vivian Nguyen is currently a 1st year pharmacy student at the University of Florida! She started her journey into UNAVSA as the External Vice President followed by President of the Vietnamese Student Organization at UF. Vivian went onto serving as the Southeast Representative on the Council of Regional Representatives starting from August 2015 to this present day. Most of the time, however, she’ll spend her time watching cute animal videos, taking on foodie adventures, and sleeping!
Andre To is a 4th year undergraduate student at Oregon State University, studying Microbiology and Medical Humanities, and will be attending the Pharmacy program at OSU next year. He has been involved with his VSA since the start of his freshmen year, and has held the Historian, External Vice-President, and currently, the Junior Advisor position for VSA@OSU. His involvement with his region and UNAVSA has led him to become one of the Council of Regional Representative for Northwest VSA. He loves to listen and dance to KPOP and EDM, and enjoys traveling to see the friends he has made through VSA.


Our first “Professional Development” session has concluded. Stay tuned for more!


Let’s Viet

Our vision is to encourage community engagement by revitalizing and preserving cultural heritage through language, tradition and food. We chose Tet as our topic of choice because it is such an important part of Vietnamese culture. There are so many aspects of Tet and so many things we do to prepare for Tet, and we will show you the reasons for them. So come join us in our fun, interactive and informational session on Tet, where we discuss language, traditions and food relating to this important Vietnamese holiday!

Session Time: Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 6 PM EST

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Alan Nguyen is graduate of the University of Toronto where he earned his B.Sc. in Human Biology and Chemistry. He is currently pursuing his M.SC. in Biological Chemistry also at the University of Toronto. He is currently the External VP of UVSA Ontario and also a Regional Representative of Eastern Canada. He went backpacking to Asia last year where he stopped by Vietnam. He highly recommends stopping by Hoi An for the beautiful ambience and delicious foods. His favourite Vietnamese dish is com tam.
Don Nguyen is CORR of UVSA-GC in Louisiana! He recently graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and is now attending LSU Nursing in New Orleans. He is very active in the VSA scene as he is also UNAVSA-14 Conference Logistics staff as well as GC’s Regional Camp Delta’s Counseling staff. He attends all sorts of events, helps as he can, and is passionate in leadership, growth, and development of individual aspiring VSA members. He’s been to VietNam twice with his favorite place to be Vung Tau(Scenery, park and food). His favorite food to eat for sure is Bun Bo Hue, hands down.
Vy Nguyen is a third-year at University of California, Davis. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies, Communication and Education with an emphasis on modern transnational communications and the Vietnamese diaspora. Vy is currently a research assistant at the Asian American Studies department as well as serving as UVSA’s and UNAVSA’s Council of Regional Representatives for Northern California. Her passion is to challenge mainstream narratives and to bridge social and political gaps between overseas Vietnamese and Vietnam. Born and raised in Vietnam, her most memorable experience was having to squat every time she eats street food.
Suong-Kathy Van is a Regional Representative of Southwest Union. She went back to Vietnam in 2012 where she visited Hue and they were preparing for tet at the temples and the villages. She recommends going to visit the royal courts in Hue, of the most favorite dishes in Hue, is: Bun Bo Hue where it originated from Central Vietnam and contains a sweet, sour and spicy taste. It’s her favorite dish to eat at home, and her favorite dessert is Che Thai where she doesn’t like it as sweet.


Civic Engagement 101

Millennials (18-34) make up about 24% of the United States population. Within this group, many are immigrants or children of immigrants. Imagine the things we could achieve with these numbers. With the recent events in our nation, it is important now more than ever to create a platform for our voices, our Asian American voices. In this session, we will explore the role of AAPIs, specifically Vietnamese Americans, in civic engagement and political activism. Now is the time to embrace our civic duty and take a stand for those who can’t. With the tools and resources provided in this session, we are hopeful that we, collectively, can move the nation forward. Be prepared to discuss, plan, and take action for the betterment of our communities.

Session Time: Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 8 PM EST

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Jessica Phan is originally from Wisconsin where she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with a degree in Journalism/Strategic Communications. She is currently a Special Education English teacher at a high school in Baltimore City and pursuing a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration at the George Washington University. Her passion for helping others is expressed every day as she works with her 10th graders. Outside of school, she works with various non-profit, community organizations such as UVSA Midwest, the Miss Vietnam DC Pageantry Organization, the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization (PIVOT), and the Baltimore Dance Crews Project (BDCP). As an advocate for social justice in our communities, Jessica grapples with the struggles that young Vietnamese Americans face in our society. Furthermore, she understands the cross-cultural struggles that we have with other communities of color. Through working with VSAs at the local, regional and national level as well as AAPI organizations, she was able to find her passion and calling in education equality. Now, she is motivated to engage others in civic engagement and in understanding equity in our society from a Vietnamese American standpoint.
Kavi Vu is a videographer and spoken word artist who hails from Atlanta, Georgia. She is dedicated to telling the stories of those who are too afraid, too ashamed, or do not have access to tell it themselves. She noticed how under-represented the AAPI community is and works to be a part of the movement that will give her community the recognition it deserves. Recently, she has taken this ambition to politics, where she was faced with the disappointing statistic that AAPI’s have the lowest voter turnout among all racial groups. Combining her storytelling, video editing, and social media marketing skillsets, Kavi seeks to arm young AAPI’s in the Atlanta area with information that will empower them to speak up about issues that will affect them and their community.
Raised in Sunny Southern California, Jason “Snorlax” Cun graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration. His involvement in VSA began in 2012 when he join his local VSA as an intern to becoming president in 2015. Now currently CORR for UVSA SoCal, he continues his passion for VSA by networking and sharing his experience to others through public speaking workshops and seminars to his local community. Not being Vietnamese has challenged and motivated him to learn more about this wonderful culture and how we can connect and engage with our local Vietnamese community.
Born and raised in New York City, Pong Muangchan graduated from Baruch College with a BBA in Marketing . He is currently the CORR and President for Northeast UVSA, one of our recently started regional partners. An avid event planner, he lives for creating memorable experiences for others.
Michelle Nguyen graduated from Trent University in International Development Studies and History. Her involvement began when she attended the UNAVSA-13 conference as a visionary scholar and continued during her term as Admin VP for UVSA Ontario and as a CORR representative for Eastern Canada. Her passions include learning about history and social justice issues, especially case studies on Vietnamese peoples’ agency, representation, and empowerment.

Hacks for Health!

Come discuss the many options of health, exercise, and lifestyle! There’s always more to learn and implement. We hope to inspire/influence healthy life choices with easy tips and tricks while creating conversation and learning from each other.

Session Time: TBD – Stay tuned for more information!


Anh Nguyen is a graduate from the University of Houston with a degree in Nutrition. Anh has been involved with the Vietnamese community from a young age and continued her affiliations through VSA at the University of Houston. Anh Nguyen currently serves at the outgoing Alumni Chair of UVSA South and is the Entertainment Director of the 14th-Annual UNAVSA Conference. She continues her leadership journey as the newly elected Vice President Internal of UVSA South for the upcoming term.
Henry Nguyen is a third year student at the University of West Florida pursuing a degree in clinical lab sciences. His introduction to UNAVSA was in Dallas, Texas during the UNAVSA-11 conference, where he was able to network and develop his leadership skills. Since then, Henry has expanded his role within the Southeast VSA community by serving as a volunteer for regional UVSA events, member of the UVSASE Marketing and Branding committee, as well as Media Director of the annual Southeast Leadership camp.
Born in South Korea and raised in Dallas, Texas, Jennifer now resides in Houston, Texas to finish out her Business degree at the University of Houston.  Her involvement with UNAVSA began locally with two terms as Vice President External for the University of Houston’s Vietnamese Student Association and since has blossomed with her involvement as Family Leader at UVSA South’s Leadership Summit, Family Captain for UVSA South’s Camp Legacy, and most recently as the Regional Representative for the Southern Region.
Julie Van is an alumnus from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in BioHealth Sciences. Julie is currently working at Providence Neurological Specialities.  Her involvement with VSA began her sophomore year at Oregon State. From there she has held positions such as treasurer and internal vice president. Julie currently serves as co-council of regional representatives for NWVSA with Andre To. Julie’s involvement with the UNAVSA community includes being a past committee member for UNAVSA-13 registration, as well as UNAVSA-14 hospitality committee currently. In her spare time she enjoys reading, dancing and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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