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Hien Nguyen

Student Spotlight, May 2011

Hien Nguyen at 2011 "Homeless Connect"Senior Social Science major Hien Nguyen is all about making connections. She stays connected to the community and her fellow students through a range of programs offered through Community Engagement Center.  Over the years Hien has participated in multiple Sac State Serves and Alternative Break community service events, and is a Student Tutorial Coordinator with Ethnic Studies’ 65th Street Corridor Community Collaborative Service Learning Project.

As a Student Tutorial Coordinator, Hien works with other student coordinators and oversees tutors at Will C. Wood Middle School.  In addition to placing tutors in the classrooms, the 65th Street Corridor project organizes field trips to let middle school students experience Sac State’s campus, because as Hien states,  the youth otherwise “would never know there was a campus next door.”  For her research work with the project, Hien was a student presenter at the Community-Based Research Conference held at Sacramento State in Spring 2010 and in Spring 2011 presented her work at the 14th Annual Continuums of Service Learning Conference.

Out of all her volunteer efforts Alternative Break has always been Hien’s favorite, because “rain or shine there is always someone ready to help, showing the incredible initiative of Sac State students who come together.”  Hien began participating in Alternative Break in 2009. Since then she has participated in many different service projects with organizations such as the Sacramento Zoo, Sacramento Public Library, Center for Land Based Learning, Habitat for Humanity, Sacramento Tree Foundation, Harvest Sacramento, and Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.   

Hien Nguyen as costume character at 2010 "Safetyville USA Halloween Haunt" “[Alternative Break is] always fun, always energetic.  No matter how tired everyone gets something always gets us going again.” Hien and several of her fellow volunteers exhibited this when they worked a spring 2011 service event.  After the official event was over and many volunteers had already left, Hien and her fellow Alternative Break peers stayed behind because they “had to finish what we had started, for the sense of accomplishment.”

Hien believes that every volunteer opportunity is a, “Mini adventure you can take yourself on; you experience new things, meet new people and old people you don’t usually see.” When asked what her ideal volunteer opportunity would be she replied with, “everything” especially any opportunity where she can re-connect with volunteers from previous activities.

Hien originally wanted to become a U.S. History teacher, but inspired by her service experiences, is now looking for a career involving community, perhaps getting involved with a non-profit or working with children in an afterschool program. Hien intends to graduate in Fall 2011.

Contributed by A. Hamilton


Each year, more than two thousand Sacramento State students, faculty, staff, and alumni participate in programs and projects sponsored by Community Engagement Center. Programs such as Alternative Break, AmeriCorps Students in Service, Sac State Serves, and Service Learning fulfill our mission to facilitate learning and engagement by linking campus and community for mutual benefit. Through Spotlight, Community Engagement Center will highlight outstanding individuals and programs advancing community engagement in the Sacramento region.

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last updated: 7/8/2011