Student Spotlight: Vicky Vo

Uyen (Vicky) Vo

Undergraduate Student

Major: Design Studies

Home Town: Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

Vicky is a current SJSU student with a lot going on. Not only is she the co-founder of the non-profit group Students of UXD (User Experience Design), she was also recently identified as a potential candidate for Forbes 30 Under 30 in the area of Art & Style. Vicky was also named the World’s 38th Best Designer in mobile technologies, applications, and software design by Design Classifications (DAC).

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to become a User Experience Designer that brings impacts and makes things accessible to everyone. To reach my goal, I rely heavily on the support of the SJSU Design Community. The friends and the professors at SJSU have been extremely supportive, and thanks to that, I feel motivated and encouraged to push myself hard for success every day. 

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

Besides school and internships; I have a passion for bringing the Design Community together. In the summer of 2020, I founded ‘Students of UXD’ (studentsofuxd.com), a community of UX Design students worldwide, currently at 500+ members from all over the world. The goal is to help connect with other designers across the globe and provide free access to UX Design related events and workshops. I started Students of UXD after noticing a problem: there are a few student design communities out there; however, most of them focus solidly on topics such as career building and portfolio building. While these communities are certainly helpful, we wanted to create a community that explores deeper issues within design. That said, our events are inclusive of different angles of UX and emphatic of impactful social change issues. 

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What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

One thing that I’m proud to say about my Vietnamese culture is that we’re extremely welcoming. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what your background is, or what language you speak, we treat everyone like guests. When the travel ban is removed, and when we can all go to travel for leisure again. I invite you to come to visit Vietnam and experience all the greatness! 

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

At SJSU, what I appreciate the most is the diverse community. Personally, I’ve never seen any other school that has such great diversity. I believe in the power of people, and the power of what different backgrounds can bring to the community as a whole. 

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is definitely the student union. Before the COVID lock down, I used to spend my break times between classes at the student union getting food and just hang out with some friends. Definitely a place with many memories! 

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

To my Global Spartan community: things are hard now during the pandemic, but remember, this too shall pass. We suddenly moved to remote learning and many of us are still trying to adapt to it including me. But let’s not lose focus! Just take one step at a time, focus on your goals, and soon we will get through all these together.

Student Spotlight: Lina Khoang

Fyong Lin (Lina) Khoang

Lina Khoang

  • Undergraduate Student
  • Major: Public Health
  • Home Town: Kharkiv, Ukraine

Lina may be a familiar face to many as she has been a Global Leader since summer 2019, and she also works in University Housing as a Residential Assistant.

What is your dream job?

I’ve always wanted to become a teacher of elementary school or lower with special needs kids. SJSU gives me a strong knowledge foundation that I will use in my future jobs but also our school has great resources to gain demanded life skills. In SJSU, we have many opportunities to get involved on and off campus that help us to develop leadership and communication skills. 

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

Global Leader in ISSS, Peer Health Educator in Student Wellness Center, Residential Assistant in University Housing.

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

Ukraine is a beautiful country with pure nature. We have endless sunflower, corn, and wheat fields. Around these fields, there are many tiny villages where you can meet very friendly families with their own farms.

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

Diversity. SJSU is one of the most diverse campus in the U.S. Students come from very different backgrounds which means we value open minded mentality. I enjoy it the most because I feel accepted and welcomed. I also learn so many interesting things that help me to reflect on myself and grow.

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

I love the second floor balcony of Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center. Before COVID-19 I would go there to do homework because the view to the pools is really pretty, and inside everything is so new and nice. Although, nowadays we can go in only to work out, I still love that place.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

You MUST have  some knowledge about leadership, communication, and diversity to apply to any job, either it is on campus or beyond. Also, Americans are very community oriented, all service hours are highly appreciated. 

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

We all made it so far,  we can never give up but always keep working hard for better future for our families and ourselves

Alumni Spotlight: Wai Hou (Harry) Sio

BA Graphic Design, 2020

During his time at SJSU, Harry was part of the inaugural Global Leader team at ISSS and an active member of our Global Spartan community. He was also our undergraduate student speaker at our spring 2020 graduation celebration, and he continues to give back to our community by volunteering as a Global Leader.

What are you doing now?

I am studying interaction design at CSU East Bay (graduate program).

What is your most favorite memory of SJSU?

Being a part of the Global Leaders, joining a lot of campus events, and meeting some talented international students.

How has your SJSU experience impacted your life either personally or professionally?

I joined a group called International Circle, and it changed my first semester at SJSU. It created a safe space for me to share my struggles and I met some great people, and some of them become my mentors.

Being part of the Global Leader team, I got a lot of chances to speak with strangers. To be honest, I didn’t want that. My dream job was a job that I don’t need to talk. The more I talked as a Global Leader, I started to enjoy it. Now these skills help me so much as a UX designer, because part of my job is to interview with users and present my ideas.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or about being an international student at SJSU?

Find an on-campus job or organization that has weekly regular meeting, that how I dive into the community

What advice would you give to current international students?

Network crazy on Linkedin! Talk to people that are working in your favorite field. Most people will respond to you since they are very nice.

Student Spotlight: Hungyeh (Alvin) Lin

Alvin Lin

Hung Yeh (Alvin) Lin

Major: Computer Science, BS

Home Town: Taipei, Taiwan

Alvin is the undergraduate recipient of the 2020 Louie Barozzi International Scholarship.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to initiate a start-up to mitigate the gap of education between the rich and the poor using technology.

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

I am involved in programming competitions and research work with CS professors.

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

Many people love boba, but few know where it comes from. Yes, it is from Taiwan, and there are thousands of boba shops in Taiwan. Come to Taiwan, and you will never regret it.

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

What I love about SJSU is that the school gym is so huge and full of professional equipment. I always spend one to two hours in the gym before class. Sometimes, I meet friends or make friends in the gym. Working out really relieves my tension from the coursework.

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is the 6th, 7th, and 8th floor in the library. The library is so quiet, and it has a very beautiful view that I can focus on studying and take a break when I am tired.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

I wish I would have known that there are abundant resources on campus, such as professors, clubs, and classmates. I always feel surprised when I talk to people on campus because many of them are doing really cool things and I would never discover it if I did not talk to them. For example, I did not know there was a AI club until I talked to a CS professor. Hence, I wish I would have talked to every person I met although it is almost impossible. But trust me, you will find out that everyone is your friend, and they can help succeed on campus.

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

Slow down and enjoy the school life. Make friends and help others because they will come back and help you as well.

Student Spotlight: Hazel Choi

Hazel Choi

Haeseo (Hazel) Choi

Graduate Student

Major: Urban & Regional Planning, MA

Home Town: Seoul, South Korea

Hazel has been a Global Leader with ISSS since 2019. She is also the recipient of the 2020 Louie Barozzi International Scholarship. 

What is your dream job?

City Planner or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

  • SJSU Recognized Student Organizations: Urban Planning Coalition, TRANSITion, 
  • On-campus job: Global Leader at ISSS, 
  • Community Organization: CommUniverCity 

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

The city of Seoul consists of various colors. The city, for example, has a high-tech aspect in the Gangnam area, and shows more traditional history in the Gangbuk area. One of the hottest places is Itaewon, where diverse ethnicities and cultures are mixed together. I also strongly recommend eating street food if you visit Seoul. There are so many kinds, such as Eomuk, Bung-eo-ppang, Tteok-bokki, which is very delicious and cheap!

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

I take advantage of the school’s various resources as an SJSU student. Academically, I use the Writing Center to review my assignments once more before submitting them. In particular, graduate students can meet with tutors for 1 hour. I have also joined student organizations that are related to my major. Through these organizations, I received financial support for conferences or seminars that I wanted to attend. Finally, I have learned professional skills and tips that I was unfamiliar with as a foreigner and built networking by attending events hosted by ISSS or the Career Center. 

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite place within the school is the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery in the art building. Sometimes I get too stressed out, or if I want to go somewhere quiet, I take my time there while disconnecting from the world for a while.

What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or SJSU?

At first, I had difficulty communicating with professors and American students. It would have been helpful to know a little earlier about how important emails are in the U.S. After time to get over it, I Immediately contact and confirm with professors regarding any confusing matters related to the class. In addition, I first shared articles related to the class by email to my classmates and formed a friendship with them. It is also important to check the email frequently as various school updates are notified through email.

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, but I think it creates anxiety and uncertainty, especially for those studying abroad. We can only take classes online and have fewer opportunities to experience various American cultures. At this point, I think it’s important to look back on why we are attending SJSU. I believe we’ve all come here to achieve our own goals. Think positively and hope that everyone will endure well at this time. Best wishes for this new semester!!