Guest blog post by Thuy Nguyen, IT Specialist, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
I grew up in Vietnam and came to the United States as a refugee in 1993. I graduated from George Mason University with a B.S. in Management Information Systems. I have always been proud of my Vietnamese heritage. My dad was a soldier in South Vietnam's Armed Forces prior to 1975. I love the book “Shadow Warrior” by Felix Rodriguez that tells the story of the service the author and my father service during the Vietnam War.
I joined the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in July of 2007. I currently work for the Office of Policy Coordination and Management (OPCM) as an Information System Specialist on the Enterprise Architecture and Change Control Management team. My team and I are responsible for establishing and administering IT policies, procedures, and managing IT architecture and standards. Over time, I have built a strong relationship with my NTIA coworkers. We not only work well together to fulfill our tasks, we make sure to also support each other as people. During a Combined Federal Campaign cook-off event, I got the chance to share Vietnamese cuisine with my coworkers. Sharing food with them that reflects my cultural heritage made us grow as a team and helped them better understand one of the pieces of my culture that I love.
Volunteering is very important to me. I participate in the “Share a Meal program” at my local community shelter and senior housing facility. Since 2007, I have been a member of the Vietnamese Literary & Artistic Club (VLAC), a non-profit organization aiming to promote Vietnamese-American heritage in the Washington Metropolitan area. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have participated in VLAC’s program that is making cloth masks and donating PPE to local hospitals and frontline workers. I am passionate about the work I do with VLAC because I get to pursue my two primary interests: preserving my cultural heritage and serving my community.
While volunteering in various community activities, I have had the amazing opportunity to interact with many other people, many who have become friends. Witnessing the revival of traditional cultural practices has provided me with insights into different values, presenting a newfound perspective and a refined appreciation for our multi-cultural community that further strengthens my passion for research and exploration.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month reminds me of the important benefits of joining together to share our individual experiences and to stand united to make our Nation great. As a federal worker, my main aspiration is to give back to society and to always serve with pride. By participating in many cultural seminars, volunteering in my community, and serving my country as a public servant, I have been able to see how the little things can truly make a big difference.
Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series showcasing the vast and diverse work of Department of Commerce AAPI employees during Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.