Skyline High senior Cindy Phan jumped with excitement as she opened an envelope from Harvard University and learned that she had just received an early acceptance.
“As a first generation student, this acceptance is validating. It validates all the sacrifices my family has made. They left behind friends, family and their culture,” said Phan.
The trade-off was that she never really knew her grandparents and when they died, she felt sadder in the sense that she never got to really know them.
“Regardless, my life and the opportunities I got in America are much greater than what I would have gotten in Vietnam,” said Phan.
Phan’s goals are to become a physician, and she is looking at join the surgical field. She knows that although she will have to take chemistry and biology as prerequisites, she might also be interested in studying something like humanities or social science. Ultimately, she wants to be an advocate.
“Growing up in a Vietnamese community and as a low-income student, going to the doctors was always a last resort. I want to extend the reach of health care into those communities. A free clinic would basically exist off of doctors and physicians giving their time to the clinics. I would love to help out at free clinics if I get licensed. This is super important for families and communities that otherwise might not be able to afford it,” said Phan.
Getting an early acceptance isn’t the only accomplishment that Phan has to be proud of. She calls herself the guinea pig with navigating education for her family. Phan was a figure for her sister to ask questions and help her navigate going through education. That is an accomplishment that is hard to measure.
Writing is a big part of Phan’s life. Along with her numerous awards she was a second time National YoungArts in 2020.
“This is a very validating. This award is arguably one of the best awards you can get in writing. A lot of young art winners are students who go to school of the arts and have spent years developing their skills,” said Phan.
She did a lot of navigating on her own, but got a lot of support from Skyline teachers Mr. Krueger and Mrs. Thornbrue.
“Teachers at Skyline are amazing. I have my favorite subjects, but through my journey at Skyline the teachers I have had make the subject engaging and I become interested in that course.”
Phan spent many of her summers at many summer programs and creating relationships at summer university programs.
Sophomore year she applied for a summer program with all expenses paid at Cornell and was accepted. That was when she thought she might have the potential to get accepted into a competitive out-of-state university.
“All of the programs are extremely informative and were invaluable experiences. I took classes and the enrichment I got from the community and the connections are amazing.”