Vivian Chung believes that education is a right no one should be denied.
A recipient of the Jackson Distinguished First Generation Scholarship, Chung shared her story at the Colorado State University First Generation Awards celebration in February. “Anyone who wants to go to college should be able to go to college, there are so many resources available to help students,” she said.
Chung is graduating with a degree in biomedical sciences and a minor in Spanish and hopes to complete CSU’s Master of Science in biomedical sciences anatomical and physiological sciences specialization one-year program before applying to medical school and becoming an anesthesiologist.
“Growing up, I didn’t even think about going to college,” Chung said. “But when CSU came to my high school and talked about the First Generation Scholarship that could help me afford to pay for it, I became really interested.”
Chung moved to Denver from Taipei, Taiwan, with her parents and younger brother when she was 10 and had to dive right into fourth grade with no previous formal training in English. “I didn’t speak a single word of English and had to learn the hard way,” she said.
In high school, Chung was volunteering at a local pet shelter and had dreamt of becoming a veterinarian. She thought CSU would be a perfect fit given its renowned veterinary program, so she applied and was accepted. But by end of her sophomore year, after volunteering at Poudre Valley Hospital, Chung realized her true calling was to work in human medicine.
She has worked her way through school, most recently at the Medical Center of the Rockies in the radiology department where she processes images. “I get to be really hands-on with patients and health care providers and have learned a lot about how to work in high-stress situations,” she said.
Chung rounded out her CSU experience by joining the multicultural sorority Alpha Phi Gamma and is passionate about its goal of fighting against violence toward women. She also volunteered with the City of Fort Collins Healthy Homes program, where she visited residences in the community to educate people about issues like mold, water damage, and radon that can negatively impact health.
While school, work, and volunteering don’t leave much time for her previous hobbies like playing tennis, flute, and piano, Chung finds stress relief in caring for the four aquariums that take up all the shelf space in her bedroom.
“Vivian’s unique story is a prime example of true leadership and demonstrates the essence of overcoming adversity with determination,” said Galeth Bolanos, retention specialist for CSU’s Academic Advancement Center. “She is an inspiration to all first-generation women of color at CSU.”