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My Pham
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

My Pham

Graduation year: 2018

Majors: Accounting, business administration-finance

Minor: Economics

Activities: Order of Omega, Mortar Board, Relay for Life, Sigma Kappa Tau sorority, Student Government Association, Peer Mentor

Internships: Human resources Intern at Office of Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (Rock Island), accounting Intern at WQPT Public Broadcasting-Western Illinois University (Moline), finance Intern at World Relief (Moline)

Post-grad plans: Enrolled in a double-degree program (accounting and business analytics) at the University of Texas at Dallas

Why Augustana?

I wanted to go to a liberal arts college like Augustana because of the student-faculty ratio. Besides, I heard people in the Midwest were friendly and had a very nice accent. The school also gave me an art scholarship so I did not hesitate in deciding to go to Augie.

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

Yes and no. Going to Augie was the first time I had ever left Vietnam. As a freshman, I never thought I would be exposed to so many great opportunities to get involved on campus, make connections with friends from all over the world and spend time traveling in different countries while taking courses on study abroad programs. Looking back at my past four years, I am thankful for everything that happened and helped me become a better version of myself, which was a goal I set when I first came to campus.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I would like to send my deepest thanks to these wonderful people who helped me achieve my goals:

My accounting professors: Dr. Tapis, Dr. Delaney and Dr. Schwartz for being patient with me, providing tremendous help and advice on my career, classes and the grad school application process;

My business professors: Mrs. Marmé and Dr. Trang Phan for having faith in me when I got lost on my career path and giving me continuous support to pursue my goals even when they seemed crazy;

My economics professor: Dr. Marmé for always having the right answers to my questions (I don't know how you did it) and giving me incredible advice whenever I needed it;

My Chinese professors: Prof. Hua-mei Chang and Prof. Jen-mei Ma for making me feel like I'm at home and introducing me to various kinds of Chinese food;

Pastor Priggie: for always being welcoming and helpful to me;

And, all the staff members in the CORE office: for understanding the struggles of international students and helping me with all the visa and work documents.

Without the help from these people, I would never be where I am now. I also could never have achieved any of my goals without my parents and brother, who were always there for me and never stopped believing in me. 

Peak experience?

My peak experience was studying abroad in Italy and in East Asia. As an adventurous traveler, I always enjoyed every chance to visit a new place. Meeting people in different countries and learning about their cultures made me realize how different everyone is, but it is these differences that make each of us special in our own way.

What surprised you?

I learned that I really like different languages. I tried taking Italian and Latin and ended up loving them. I plan to keep studying these languages in my free time.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice for my East Asian term. It was a 10-week program in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Hawaii. What I remember the most was when each student on the trip spent a day with a host family in Matsuyama, Japan. My host family took me to a local market and bought me mandarin orange ice cream, made a traditional Japanese dinner for me, then took me to their second daughter's school to watch her rope-pulling practice with her classmates. Spending time with them was the most enjoyable memory I had on the trip.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss my professors and friends who always gave me a big smile when seeing me on campus. I kept telling my friends I didn't belong in the cold weather in Illinois, but the people always gave me a warm feeling that helped me survive four winters here. I will miss all the memory-making experiences I had with them.

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Be open to changes because you never know what doors will open unless you give it a try. Once you have made a decision to do something, have faith in yourself and don't ever regret it. It's okay to fail, just make sure you get back up. A future full of surprises is awaiting you. Best of luck to you all!

“My has really made the most of her time at Augustana. She has been extremely busy completing multiple majors and internships, and taking on leadership roles in student organizations. My has never shied away from tough work or tough assignments. With everything going on in her life, it is incredible she always stays so calm and cheery. Her work ethic is tremendous, and she will no doubt be a star at the University of Texas at Dallas as she completes masters programs in business analytics and accounting. My has a great future ahead of her, and I'm glad to have had the chance to work with her."

– Dr. John Delaney, professor and chair, accounting