The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Khuong Ngyuen

Jun 09, 2022
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Melany Velasco/THUNDERWORD

Khuong Nguyen came to the United States in search of a better life.


Khuong Ngyuen

Student seeks new life, finds new possibilities

“At TRiO, officially speaking, the academic adviser that was assigned to me was Kathy. 

He said that mental illness is often either exaggerated or downplayed. That was what drew his interest to the field. He’s driven to understand the truths behind mental illness, deeper than what is often portrayed to the public.

“I’m aiming to be a clinical psychologist. I just like, when I was young I was really fascinated by mental illness, like schizophrenia. But as I grew up and was subjected to patients I learned that what the public knows about mental illness through the media isn’t accurate. 

“Mental illness has been something that has been exaggerated or underestimated, and I want to be someone who can help others who are struggling mentally and emotionally,” Ngyuen said.

Rika Deveney • Staff Reporter

Khoung Ngyuen came to the United States to find a better life. Now he wants to help others do the same. 

Ngyuen was born in Vietnam, and eventually came to the U.S.

“To me Vietnam was fine, it’s where I grew up. The culture shaped me. I wouldn’t like to complain about it, there’s always good and bad things, but they are both a part of me,” he said. “Love the place, love the food.” 

Nguyen left Vietnam as a teenager. 

“I left Vietnam and came to the states when I was 15. The decision was very tough, for all international students,” he said.

“Life in Vietnam was a bit tough for my mother and I. Mostly due to financial issues, since back then I was underage and there weren’t many jobs available for my mother to earn sustancial finance or for us to live comfortably.

“Due to those reasons, my mother and I, together we decided to come to the states,” said Ngyuen. 

Ngyuen faced many challenges, but eventually he reached Highline, where he found a new family in the form of TRiO.

“I went to Highline High School, and then I went to the Running Start program and the counselor pointed me to Highline College, and I loved it. It was all set up nicely,” he said.

TRiO is a government funded set of programs that offer students in need a chance to fulfill their scholarly goals by giving them community and educational support.

TRiO helped Ngyuen by allowing him to navigate through college while allowing him to form new bonds. He was employed by TRiO, and he formed a professional mentorship relationship with Kathy Nguyen, who is the TRiO program manager and academic adviser. He also formed a more informal mentoring relationship with Gabriella Osorio, an adviser and retention specialist for whom he worked as a TRiO Assistant.

“At TRiO, officially speaking, the academic adviser that was assigned to me was Kathy. 

At TRiO I also worked for Gabby, even though officially she wasn’t my adviser, she still worked with me,” Ngyuen said.

“TRiO helped me with a lot of different things, they gave help with studying and mentorship. They talked to me like a friend and helped me cope with the new environment. I was so lucky to be introduced to Highline TRiO,” Ngyuen said.

“Before Covid, it was a very fun time, I loved going to classes, I had a lot of favorite professors. Then COVID hit and we had to stay home. I still managed to have a good relationship with TRiO, and they really helped me go through some quiet times,” he said.

Now, at the age of 20, he is moving on to try to become an expert in mental health. He will be attending the University of Washington Tacoma, where he will be majoring in psychology.