Michelle Nguyen graduated Magna Cum Laude from the LMU Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts in 2020 as a political science major with minors in international relations and philosophy. Nguyen kept busy during her time in BCLA, serving as a teaching assistant for two upper-division political science courses, working in the Campus Business Services Center, and interning for Congressman Ted W. Lieu (CA-33) in 2019.
Upon graduation, Nguyen was appointed executive editor of Asia Media International, a real-world media lab and news site staffed by students that has been operating at LMU since 2011 under the direction of Tom Plate, LMU’s Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Studies.
Most recently, Michelle Nguyen was awarded a prestigious Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) fellowship with the congressional office of U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nevada). The full-time paid position will last at least nine-months and provide Nguyen with the opportunity to build her leadership skills and public policy knowledge. All APAICS fellows are placed in a congressional office and serve as part of the legislative team focused on issues affecting the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
For Nguyen, this award is an acknowledgment of many years of hard work. “As a longtime advocate for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community, I was incredibly honored to receive the APAICS Congressional Fellowship. My family are all first-generation refugees from Vietnam, and when they arrived in America, they had a strong community network to support them. That’s why it’s incredibly important to me to give back to my community—I want to help others the way my family was helped. I simply wouldn’t be here today without the kindness of others, and I want to extend that same magnanimity to those who don’t have the means to support themselves. It’s for these reasons that I’m pursuing a life of public service, and why I’m grateful to have received this fellowship.”
Ed Park, chair and professor of the Asian and Asian American Studies Department offered his congratulations as well: “The APAICS Congressional Fellowship recognizes individuals with the highest potential for political leadership in the APA community. The alumni of the fellowship represent the who’s who of APA political leaders in the country. The program typically selects three to six awardees a year from the very best universities in the country. This is a wonderful demonstration of LMU’s academic excellence and engagement with the APA community.”
Normally fellows work on-site in congressional members’ DC offices, but due to COVID-19, Nguyen will work from her home in Orange County. Given her qualifications and staggering work ethic, she stands to make a big difference for Congresswoman Lee’s constituents and members of the APA community across the country.