October 6, 2020

DAUS Student Spotlight: Lan Nguyen

We at the Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies (DAUS) are so proud of our adult learners and post-traditional students as they help to define our community through their stories and life experiences and make it such an inspirational place. In fact, there are current employees at NYU who have earned, or who are currently pursuing, their undergraduate degrees at DAUS. A few of them recently offered their perspective on how the NYU SPS experience shapes their work-school-life balance. We’d like to highlight one of their stories below.

Meet Lan Nguyen:

What is your current job title and what are your responsibilities?

My current job title is Equal Opportunity Assistant for the Office of Equal Opportunity, specializing in assisting with providing workplace accommodations for NYU employees and prospective employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and applicable state and city disability and human rights laws.

What degree are you earning with us? 

I am in my last year of finishing up my BA in Social Sciences with a concentration in Psychology.

What compelled you to earn your degree with us? Why DAUS?

I chose DAUS because I decided to pursue higher education after working for various nonprofit organizations for eight years. I realized that a degree was essential for moving further in my career. DAUS was a clear option because evening classes and the prospect of learning alongside older and returning students were of particular interest to me.

What was your favorite class? How did it influence your career path?

I have had a few memorable classes that broadened my interests outside of psychology and actually made me reconsider studying outside of my major. Some that come to mind are Cities and Urban Culture (Fall 2018), taught by Professor Boersen, which further piqued my interest in urbanization from an anthropological perspective, and most recently, Food, Culture, and Communication (Fall 2020) taught by Professor Casey Lum. The latter made me wonder why I had not considered going into Food Studies! Notably, the special topics history courses taught by Professor Zaheer Ali such as Malcolm X (Spring 2020) and Prince: Sign of the Times (Spring 2017) were such engaging and creative courses that I felt very lucky to have been a part of them.

Are you working while pursuing your degree? If so, can you comment on the work-school-life balance you achieved?

I have always worked while attending classes. I have never stopped working, especially while having to support myself living in the city. As I transitioned into a full-time position at NYU, the work/school/life balance was a bit difficult to get used to, as I always prioritized school. It is a balance that I am still working on, but thankfully, NYU employers (especially the ones I work for) are incredibly supportive of my academic pursuits.

Any other future career/education goals on your mind?  

I intend to take a bit of a break from school after graduating in the spring, but I am aiming to apply to the NYU Silver School of Social Work for my MSW or NYU Steinhardt for an MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness in the near future. I would like to apply my past experience in nonprofits as well as my degree to the world of social work.

Although the prospect of being a part-time adult student for the entirety of my undergraduate studies was daunting, I am thankful that I decided to wait. I felt that if I had entered college right after high school, I would not have taken my studies so seriously. I am proud of my achievements I earned at DAUS and SPS - receiving academic scholarships, making the Dean’s List, and being inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda, the national honor society for adult students in higher education. These all contributed to the confidence I now have to pursue my goals in academia and in my career. 

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