WSU senior aims to create more fair, diverse workplaces

Hospitality major plans to complete master’s degree, travel home to Vietnam for work



Vi Nguyen, senior majoring in hospitality business management, moved to the U.S. with her family after eleventh grade.

SANDI KOBIESA, Multimedia editor

As Vi Nguyen grew up in Vietnam surrounded by extravagant hotels and resorts, she eventually developed an interest in the hospitality business.

Nguyen was born in Da Nang, a city in central Vietnam, but she moved to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, when she was 5 years old.

“My childhood memories are a combination of Da Nang and Saigon,” Nguyen said.

She and her family celebrate Tet, also known as Lunar New Year, which was her favorite as a child. Growing up in Saigon, they made it a tradition to fly back to Da Nang to visit extended relatives, Nguyen said.

In Vietnam, she attended school from kindergarten to the eleventh grade. Then, Nguyen and her family moved to the U.S.

Nguyen said she immediately noticed differences between the school systems.

Her school in Vietnam required students to wear a school uniform, and the subjects taught were compulsory, which did not include electives, like art or language arts. Nguyen said the U.S. focuses more on sports than in Vietnam.

Nguyen’s father is a mechanical engineer for a construction firm, and her mother is an agent for an employment insurance company, she said. Both of which work in the U.S.

When Nguyen came to WSU, she decided to major in hospitality business management with a minor in human resources management.

“I chose to concentrate in human resources because I want to learn how hospitality organizations build excellent and fair employment systems, especially with the industry facing diversity issues,” she said.

After Nguyen graduates with her bachelor’s degree in December, she plans to work in the U.S. for a year. Then, she wants to pursue a master’s degree in hospitality management with a concentration in human resources, she said.

“I have experience in food and beverage, and I think it would make sense, for now, to continue working in that direction,” Nguyen said.

After she graduates with her master’s degree, Nguyen plans to move back to Vietnam, she said.

“Tourism is among the biggest contributing factors to the economy in Vietnam, therefore, I think my home country provides rich opportunities to work for the hospitality field, and I’d really like to grab that chance,” Nguyen said.

Outside of school, Nguyen loves to play the guitar and practice cooking.

“I’ve had the opportunity to perform for a few events on campus, including the [Footprints of Vietnam] by the Vietnamese Student Association,” Nguyen said.