Kristin Dinh '21

Kristin DinhMajor: Biology

What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college?

I am the first individual from both my mother and father’s side to attend a four-year university in the United States. I am saddened when my parents do not understand the college environment, such as the rigorous academic pace, building community, attending school events, or where to find scholarships. As a biology major, I also wasn’t certain what I would be doing after UP. I knew I was interested in the medical field yet had no idea who to seek information from. I was able to set an appointment with the Pre-health advisor, Ms. Becca Henley, and enrolled in the pre-health professions course. From my three years at UP, I have learned that professors are also human. They want to help and get to know their students. Mentally, I had always thought there was a wall between a professor and student, making them seem extremely intimidating. I hope to use my experience to help other FGEN students learn from my mistakes, how to ask for help from various resources, and to change their mindset regarding difficulties or setbacks.

What does it mean for your personally to be a part of the FGEN community and, specifically, to be a FGEN student ambassador?

To be a part of the FGEN community provides comfort and an anchor in times that members may struggle. Before knowing about the FGEN program, I often felt that I was alone as my other peers seem to seamlessly slide right into the college environment. The enthusiasm of Mr. Daily and the other FGEN ambassadors are very warm and encouraging. The benefits of the FGEN program are to provide skills that guide students to success within the classroom, navigating the social environment and clubs, and being involved with various organizations to strengthen the community bond at the University of Portland.

What is your advice to FGEN students at UP who are facing challenges?

Please do not hesitate to seek help when needed. You are not alone and many people right here on campus are more than willing to offer their guidance and support. Professors, counselors, and peers are also humans and experience challenges along the way. A great bonus of the UP community is the relatively smaller size, teachers strive to know your name and who you are. Many resources on campus are designated to help a student’s experience here as a member of the University of Portland such as the Shepard Academic Resource Center, learning commons, health and counseling center, the career center, or personal appointments with any professor or academic counselors.

Did a mentor play a role in your experience?

It was during my freshman year that the FGEN program was starting and I had the opportunity to be paired with Alexys, another biology student before she graduated. I had wished for more time to be with her and seek advice. From this positive experience, I was prompted to be more involved with the FGEN program and help at least one incoming student during their transition to UP.

What resources have been significant, meaningful or helpful for you so far during your UP experience?

Many resources on campus are designated to help a student’s experience such as the Shepard Academic Resource Center, learning commons, health and counseling center, the career center, or personal appointments with any professor, academic counselors, RA’s, priests, hall directors, workshop peer leaders, or classroom TA’s. I have not met a single person on campus that did not offer assistance when I had sought help. Professors and academic counselors go above and beyond to provide answers, guidance, and support to students.

Anything else you would like to add?

Enjoy your time here at UP, it truly goes by fast! You will discover new classes, opportunities, and long-lasting friendships. Every moment and experience contributes to the development of your character that you will learn and cherish in the long run.