Top UW business student moves to U.S., then finds his voice at SPSCC

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Inspired by SPSCC: Nhan Hoang

Marketing Intern, United Way of Pierce County


“My goal is to make a big impact for the community.  Business is my passion but people are my value.  I want to be able to combine my passion and my value.”

Nhan Hoang, SPSCC (2014), Associate in Business – DTA

Nhan is driven, smart, and extremely likeable.  He’d say that those qualities were hidden under insecurities and loneliness when he first came to the United States.  The experiences and opportunities he found at SPSCC, however, allowed Nhan to embrace and reveal his true self—and now he’s making a big mark on Thurston and Pierce counties.


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Nhan left his family and friends in Vietnam when was just 16 to pursue his dream of going to school in the U.S.  “I started at SPSCC in 2011.  I didn’t know English and I had no communication skills and no friends.   There was also a cultural barrier.  I didn’t feel I am valuable and I didn’t feel I’m good enough for anything.”

That all changed when Nhan found a new family in the Diversity & Equity Center at SPSCC, a hate-free space that embraces what makes us different and encourages the community to share their stories and learn from others.  Nhan was encouraged and quickly became involved with student government and the planning for two big events at SPSCC, the Students of Color Conference and the Queer I Am Conference.

“They made me realize that I’m valuable—and how to be confident with myself.”

Nhan’s deep passion for serving the community and underrepresented populations has only sparked further since graduating SPSCC in 2014.  Since transferring directly into his junior year at the University of Washington – Tacoma, Nhan has joined student leadership to represent the 600+ students in the Milgard School of Business, has worked as a Husky Mascot Coordinator, and has planned over a dozen workshops to progress social justice on campus. He’s also come back to SPSCC as a guest speaker and Marketing Intern for the Students of Color Conference.  He was recently recognized as a Husky 100 at University of Washington for his outstanding engagement, character, and contribution to UW students.

On top of it all, Nhan works as the Marketing and Communication Intern at the United Way of Pierce County, where his knowledge, work ethic, and character are highly valued.  When we visited him there on a brisk and sunny winter day, the entire office lit up with smiles as we photographed and interviewed their “bright star”.  It was clear that his hope of combining his passion and value was already being realized right there at the United Way, serving children and families facing poverty.

Nhan earned an Associate in Business Direct Transfer Degree and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing in June 2017 from University of Washington – Tacoma.  And he wouldn’t change a thing about starting his journey at SPSCC.

“I take advantage of my college experiences in order to gain the skills I need for the life I want.  I am Nhan, living in social justice, pledging to love who I am, speaking up for myself, and helping others be successful together.”

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