Thanh says that she was mainly influenced by her family to pursue college. “I was raised in a family full of dreamers. Both of my parents were lucky enough to get their high school diplomas, so they ingrained the idea in me that I must go beyond—to achieve higher education. I learned to value the importance of education at a very young age and I am very happy that I was able to achieve my dream and my family’s dream. I am the first in my family to go to college.”

But it was her grandfather who had the most influence. “My grandfather never set foot in school, so he grew up learning how to write on his own. He was the one who taught me the real value of education and he encouraged me to push myself as far as I could go. ‘Don’t be afraid of learning,’ he said. ‘Education is a gateway to a better life; therefore, take every opportunity that comes your way.’ This is my daily reminder as I push myself to do better.”

Thanh entered college and worked two jobs to pay the bills. She fully expected to be heavily in debt when she graduated. “I didn’t know about the Curtis Fund until one day in my sophomore year I received an email from my then VSAC advisor that I was nominated for a grant. It was unexpected and I was very grateful for the opportunity! Receiving the Curtis Fund was a huge help for me! I was able to cover some tuition and supplies for school and I was able to have a little more time to focus on studying. Also, my parents didn’t have to worry about working extra hours to help me pay for school.”

Currently, Thanh is working as an Admissions Counselor at UVM. She says, “I want to thank the Curtis Fund and VSAC for assisting me on my journey to higher education. My VSAC outreach counselor guided me through the college search process and helped me find my passion. The Curtis Fund helped me be a student. I am forever grateful for what you’ve done for me. I don’t think I would be where I am today without the help! Thank you for helping me and many other students around the state achieve our dreams!”