Bay Area Student Rebounds From Family Strife, Scholarship Loss; Diploma Now In Sight

Students Rising Above with Sherry Hu

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area student who appeared to have his college dreams shattered has overcome the loss of his university scholarship and is months away from being the first in his family to graduate from college.

We’ve only known Edward Nguyen for four years, but it is amazing what just a few years can do. This winter, Edward will graduate from University of California, San Diego with plans to become an attorney.

That wasn’t always his plan, though. Originally he had his sight set on a career in high-tech. “Working at the DA’s office has been a really crucial experience,” he said. “This has taught me a different side of things, I’ve learned a lot more techniques and I’m feeling a little more confident in my decision to pursue a career in law.”

San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian believes Students Rising Above interns like Edward have a lot to offer. “I think life experience is so important for our office and so important for what we do every day,” said Bastian.

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For Edward, this internship at the district attorney’s office has meant much more than the typical summer job’s goals of staying busy or making money. “It’s definitely been a journey with a lot of obstacles for me.”

When we first met Edward in 2012, he was candid about the challenges and obstacles he faced during his childhood. He was only six years old when he witnessed his father choking his mother. When his father left the picture, his mother had to pick up a second job, but Edward didn’t want her to carry the weight of single parenting alone.

“I feel that growing up in a single parent household, I’ve had to take on a lot of responsibilities,” said Edward. “One of those is just having a really positive outlook on life, and just trying to make the best choices I can in order to succeed, because I want to be able to support my mom and sister as well.”

He did support them when they were evicted from their home, but this came with a price. Edward had to leave college and a prestigious scholarship at Santa Clara University to continue his education at a nearby community college. His advisor, Dee Dee Romo-Nichols, said he pretty much hit the wall, but “he’s going to accomplish greatness because that’s the kind of person that he is.”

Edward is, in fact, on his way to greatness, as becoming a proud member of UC San Diego’s Class of 2016 is within sight.

“I definitely couldn’t have imagined myself in this position right now, back when I was in high school going into college I thought I had everything figured out,” he said. “I was very self-assured and I knew I was taking a path towards engineering and focusing my studies towards working at pharmacies and tech companies, but now I realize through my college experience with SRA, things change a lot and they’re going to change all the time throughout your life.”

We look forward to congratulating Edward when he receives his college diploma!

More from Sherry Hu
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