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Stephania Vu

Like the explorers who set their sails against the winds to journey to the New World despite not knowing what they might encounter along the way, Stephania Vu has a penchant for venturing into uncharted waters. “I do a lot of things in my life where I like to try new things,” says the M.A. student in elementary education. Considering her many accomplishments in her first year at TC, it is quite clear that Stephania’s personality reflects a sense of adventure infused with a spirit of altruism.

Like the explorers who set their sails against the winds to journey to the New World, Stephania Vu has a penchant for venturing into uncharted waters. "I do a lot of things in my life where I like to try new things," says the M.A. student in elementary education. Considering her many accomplishments in her first year at TC, it is quite clear Stephania's personality reflects a sense of adventure infused with a spirit of altruism.

Stephania and her three sisters are the daughters of parents who immigrated to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon, Vietnam. Born and raised in Orange County, California, she graduated in 2003 from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in English. Her interest in education was fostered during her time in college through a variety of research and volunteer experiences. As the recipient of a grant from UCI's School of Humanities, she was the first student to conduct an assessment of its Humanities Out There program to study student response to the arts and the effects thereof. Stephania also acted as a literacy tutor for adults with Read Orange County because she believes reading is a critical skill parents "will eventually pass on to their children. Seeing a parent feel so accomplished because he could read a book was so wonderful." Another aspect of this volunteer effort was tutoring for an inmate program. "It was very different," she reflects, "but to me, reading is the basis for communicating and the most powerful thing anyone can do. We didn't just teach them to read, but to read what was important to them," she says, such as job applications.  Stephania likens that experience to the constructivist teaching philosophy she has learned at TC. Through her coursework thus far, she understands the importance of "taking what students learn in their everyday lives and using it in the classroom." Lessons learned like this are why she moved cross-country from the Golden State to the Big Apple. "TC struck me as focusing on both practice in the classroom and research." She is excited about teaching after she completes her program in another year, and would like to do so in New York City because of its diverse student population. Stephania hopes to eventually work in school administration, and is currently interning with an elementary school principal at a year-round school in California during her summer break. "I see elementary education as the beginning of the educational journey. To start from where it begins and to get them to think critically . . . to be part of that growth [is exciting]. Personally, I learn a lot from children."

When her parents visit Vietnam later this year, Stephania will accompany them on the journey that will be her first to their homeland. "It's a piece of my history I don't know too much about." She would like to do research with schools in Vietnam to study the ways in which the country patterns its educational system after the United States, particularly its adoption and implementation of an inclusive learning model for approximately the past 10 years. These travels will provide her a more global perspective. "TC is just such a great place for the world of education; it's just amazing."

In addition to her demanding studies, Stephania worked last year at the College's Computing and Information Services helpdesk, participated in the Black Student Network, and served as chairperson of the Student Life Committee for the TC Student Senate. Her involvement with the latter entailed assuming leadership roles for two major events--collecting 400 children's books donated for the Ready to Read program at North General Hospital and organizing the College's Spring Gala that showcased TC's talented musicians, poets, and performers during an evening of entertainment and award presentations to faculty and staff. "When I came to TC, I wanted to be involved. I just wanted to be part of something." Through the Senate she also participated on the College's Safety and Security Committee as its student representative, working to sponsor Children's Day. Next year, Stephaina will serve on TC's Committee for Community and Diversity and will be a Community Assistant in Whittier Hall, one of the College's student residential properties.

Stephania says she wanted to have a variety of experiences in her graduate program, and she seems to be fulfilling that goal. "Everyone's passion is so contagious." Although she is a long way from home, she says coming to TC "has been one of the best adjustments I've made because everyone is so nice and so interesting. It makes you feel at ease when everyone is so welcoming." Although she thought the transition would be more difficult than it has been, it has gone smoothly. In fact, she says, the only real obstacle has been adapting to the frigid temperatures typical of the Northeastern United States. But for this student who saw snow for this first time this past winter, life is more than okay as she laughs and says, "It's not too bad if the worst thing is the weather."

Published Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005

Stephania Vu

Like the explorers who set their sails against the winds to journey to the New World, Stephania Vu has a penchant for venturing into uncharted waters. "I do a lot of things in my life where I like to try new things," says the M.A. student in elementary education. Considering her many accomplishments in her first year at TC, it is quite clear Stephania's personality reflects a sense of adventure infused with a spirit of altruism.

Stephania and her three sisters are the daughters of parents who immigrated to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon, Vietnam. Born and raised in Orange County, California, she graduated in 2003 from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in English. Her interest in education was fostered during her time in college through a variety of research and volunteer experiences. As the recipient of a grant from UCI's School of Humanities, she was the first student to conduct an assessment of its Humanities Out There program to study student response to the arts and the effects thereof. Stephania also acted as a literacy tutor for adults with Read Orange County because she believes reading is a critical skill parents "will eventually pass on to their children. Seeing a parent feel so accomplished because he could read a book was so wonderful." Another aspect of this volunteer effort was tutoring for an inmate program. "It was very different," she reflects, "but to me, reading is the basis for communicating and the most powerful thing anyone can do. We didn't just teach them to read, but to read what was important to them," she says, such as job applications.  Stephania likens that experience to the constructivist teaching philosophy she has learned at TC. Through her coursework thus far, she understands the importance of "taking what students learn in their everyday lives and using it in the classroom." Lessons learned like this are why she moved cross-country from the Golden State to the Big Apple. "TC struck me as focusing on both practice in the classroom and research." She is excited about teaching after she completes her program in another year, and would like to do so in New York City because of its diverse student population. Stephania hopes to eventually work in school administration, and is currently interning with an elementary school principal at a year-round school in California during her summer break. "I see elementary education as the beginning of the educational journey. To start from where it begins and to get them to think critically . . . to be part of that growth [is exciting]. Personally, I learn a lot from children."

When her parents visit Vietnam later this year, Stephania will accompany them on the journey that will be her first to their homeland. "It's a piece of my history I don't know too much about." She would like to do research with schools in Vietnam to study the ways in which the country patterns its educational system after the United States, particularly its adoption and implementation of an inclusive learning model for approximately the past 10 years. These travels will provide her a more global perspective. "TC is just such a great place for the world of education; it's just amazing."

In addition to her demanding studies, Stephania worked last year at the College's Computing and Information Services helpdesk, participated in the Black Student Network, and served as chairperson of the Student Life Committee for the TC Student Senate. Her involvement with the latter entailed assuming leadership roles for two major events--collecting 400 children's books donated for the Ready to Read program at North General Hospital and organizing the College's Spring Gala that showcased TC's talented musicians, poets, and performers during an evening of entertainment and award presentations to faculty and staff. "When I came to TC, I wanted to be involved. I just wanted to be part of something." Through the Senate she also participated on the College's Safety and Security Committee as its student representative, working to sponsor Children's Day. Next year, Stephaina will serve on TC's Committee for Community and Diversity and will be a Community Assistant in Whittier Hall, one of the College's student residential properties.

Stephania says she wanted to have a variety of experiences in her graduate program, and she seems to be fulfilling that goal. "Everyone's passion is so contagious." Although she is a long way from home, she says coming to TC "has been one of the best adjustments I've made because everyone is so nice and so interesting. It makes you feel at ease when everyone is so welcoming." Although she thought the transition would be more difficult than it has been, it has gone smoothly. In fact, she says, the only real obstacle has been adapting to the frigid temperatures typical of the Northeastern United States. But for this student who saw snow for this first time this past winter, life is more than okay as she laughs and says, "It's not too bad if the worst thing is the weather."

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