California State University, Fullerton

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Hardships and Achievement Recognized

Business Major Receives Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award

Sept. 19, 2012

Vietnamese woman wearing glasses

Diem Hoang

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A Cal State Fullerton business administration major who came to the United States about five years ago unable to speak a word of English, is one of this year’s recipients of the William Randolph Hearst/California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The awards are given each year to students who have demonstrated financial need, experienced personal hardships and have attributes of merit, including superior academic performance, exemplary community service and significant personal achievements.

Learning English was one of the biggest hurdles in the life of Diem Hoang when she immigrated with her family to America in 2007. “Everything was so strange to me. I had the feeling that I was supposed to start all over again — and it would be a path with many challenges....”

Nonetheless, the first-generation college student has maintained a 4.0 GPA during her years at both Cal State Fullerton — where she is a junior — and Fullerton College.

“Diem was a leader in my class through her exceptionally high grades and thoughtful responses in class discussion. She always came to class well-prepared and enthusiastically contributed to the discussed topics in a productive manner,” said Brian H. Kleiner, CSUF professor of management. “I was very impressed by her intelligence, enthusiasm and dedication to getting educated.”

“My parents gave up many things in Vietnam — better jobs, their favorite people, their comfortable life, and everything else they knew to come here with a wish that I can have more chances for education and have a good life with the career that I have chosen,” said Hoang, who lives in Anaheim.  

“I have made tremendous steps to overcome the fear that I could not adapt to the new language, the new culture and the new environment. I have a belief that being in the United States will allow me the opportunities to help reach my dreams.”

In addition to her studies at CSUF and Fullerton College, Hoang has been a volunteer at the Sunkist Library in Los Angeles and Tet Festival in Garden Grove. She was a member of the Educational Opportunities Program Student Panel and volunteer at Fullerton College's Disability Support Services Office, assisting her fellow students with homework and computer use. Her achievements earned her a 2011 President's Volunteer Service Award and two certificates for volunteer service from Fullerton College.

“I am glad that I can be able to get involved in the campus and community,” she said. At CSUF, she is a member of several student organizations, including the Accounting Society, as well as CalCPA and the American Society of Women Accountants, and took part in CSUF’s Student Leadership Institute. “These groups have allowed me to interact with many professionals in the field, strengthen my communication skills and widen my knowledge and social network,” she said.

Hoang, a 2012-13 Alumni Association Award recipient, is on a path to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in 2013. “After that, I am going to apply for a full-time job and keep going for the MBA. I would like to work in the field to enrich my skills and experiences first, then find a teaching position at the university level to share all the experiences that I have with my students.”

Media Contact:

Pamela McLaren, 567-278-4852

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