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Campus Grieves Loss of Health Science Graduate

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Cal State Fullerton alumna Tin Thanh Nguyen ’10 was one of the victims of the recent shootings in San Bernardino. She earned a bachelor of science degree in health science.

“We are profoundly sad to have the recent tragedy hit home here at Cal State Fullerton,” said President Mildred García. “As I wrote to the campus community earlier this week, the events in San Bernardino have shaken us all. The Titan community joins me in keeping the family and friends of all the victims in our thoughts and prayers.”

Nguyen is fondly remembered by the campus community as a determined and motivated young woman.

Danny H. Kim, associate professor of health science, recalls Nguyen, who was his former student, as “focused, hard working, yet gentle.”

“I’m still in shock from hearing about Tin’s death,” Kim said. “When I first read her name on the list of those who passed away, I was in denial that it could have been her. When I saw her picture today, it really broke my heart.”

Kim said she was a student in two of his classes between 2009 and 2010. He recalled how Nguyen decided to become a registered environmental health specialist after hearing about it in her “Concepts in Health Science” course.  

“She approached me about how to become a registered environmental health specialist. She was enthusiastic about life and opportunities before her, and she was dependable and down-to-earth.”

In October of 2010, Kim said his former student emailed him to tell him about her new job at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.

“I was very much excited for her future career and that she completed the goal she set for herself as a Cal State Fullerton student.”

While he has not spoken to her since that time, Kim added: “I can testify to all the good things I’ve heard and read about her in the media so far, for I have experienced all of those wonderful attributes while she was on our campus.”

Also while on campus, she completed an academic internship with the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) in the spring of 2010.  

Colleen Wilkins, an occupational safety officer at CSUF, also knew that Nguyen wanted to pursue a career as a health inspector.

Wilkins and Justine Baldacci, an environmental health officer at CSUF, said Tin worked with Scott Bourdon, then associate director of EHS and REHS for the campus, to obtain training hours necessary to take the Registered Environmental Health Specialist certification exam.  

“During her time with the EHS office, Tin showed exceptional motivation and dedication to her goal of becoming a health inspector,” Wilkins said. “Tin was the first EHS intern to take and pass the REHS exam, and the EHS office was very proud of her achievement.”