Interview with KU BEARS Recipient Van Anh Thi Nguyen

In the Summer of 2021, Communication Studies and Political Science major Van Anh Thi Nguyen was awarded a KU BEARS Grant to study health acculturation among Asian Immigrants under the guidance of Dr. Yuxia Qian.

How has this experience contributed to your undergraduate education and your life goals?  

The research topic is on health acculturation among Asian Immigrants. We did sixteen interviews over the summer, and most of the participants were from China and Vietnam who came here around the 1970s to 1980s. I was able to interview those who are Vietnamese because they prefer to speak Vietnamese during the interview, so I translated/transcribed [the content] with their permission. Dr. Qian, the professor that I worked with for the research, interviewed those from China and helped to translate and transcribe that set of interviews. The reason it helped for my future field of study is because I'm going to grad school with a focus on health communication at Penn State for my master’s and PhD. This research really helped me to build my portfolio and helped me with my research experience as well because I also mentioned this research experience in my statement of purpose when I applied to grad school. We also hope to publish this research in a journal in the future, so we are looking for more interview participants, even during the summer, because I will have the opportunity to keep working with Dr. Qian even after I graduate.


What experiences will you take from this research that will impact your future and education, research, or professional career?

As I mentioned, I'm going to grad school for my master's and PhD in health communication at Penn State starting this fall semester, so this research contributes to my research experience as I learned the necessary process to publish research, thanks to Dr. Qian. I’m also doing a capstone research project for the Honors Program and another one for the Communication Studies Department, so the summer KU BEARS opportunity, to do all the research with Dr. Qian, really helped me learn throughout the entire research process. It helped me go through the research experience easier with my own capstone project and I can apply every skill that I learned with Dr. Qian to my education in the future at Penn State. I want to work in academia, so these experiences are very valuable to me.


Would you participate in research again like this if given the opportunity?

Yes, I would love to participate in this kind of research again if I ever have the opportunity. And even when I graduate, I'll still keep in touch with a lot of the professors in the Communication Studies Department to collaborate and do research with them.


 Would you recommend the KU BEARS program to students?

Yes, if I ever have an opportunity to do a guest talk or anything about the opportunity and how it helped me in the future, I would definitely recommend and give advice to the students to be part of KU BEARS. This is definitely a really great opportunity, not just for those who are into the research area, but also for those who are interested in learning about a certain aspect of their field of study. It's a way to establish a connection with your professor. This is really a lifelong connection because they also help you to network with a lot of other professors and a lot of universities as well, and also help with your internship or finding jobs if you're not planning on going to grad school. For those who plan on going to grad school, it's an incredible opportunity to make your portfolio and resume stand out when the committees look at your resume and you have your research experience in undergrad. That's really valuable for them.