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CSG alumna creates platform to support first-generation pre-physician assistant students

The daughter of two Vietnamese immigrant parents, Tiffany Nguyen ’20 is trying to help other pre-physician assistant (pre-pa) track students at The Ohio State University better meet the challenges often faced by first-generation students. 

The third-year Honors College Health Sciences Major recently started @firstgenprepa, an online mentorship foundation providing emotional, educational, and resource support for first-generation pre-pa students. This month, Nguyen plans to launch podcasts focusing on the struggle first-generation students face in not having the same network as other peers within the healthcare industry, and the steps to take to start building that support network. Her first podcast guest is slated to be Savanna Perry, a physician assistant and Pre-PA coach. 

“I wanted to create a platform at OSU that would allow marginalized, first-generation communities to know that their deepest troubles—whether school-related or identity-based—are heard, understood, and have been overcome,” Nguyen said. 

Nguyen’s efforts are part of a passion she has for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work. The CSG alumna is part of the Morrill Scholarship Program, OSU’s premier diversity/merit scholarship program that rewards academically talented students who are actively engaged in diversity-based leadership, service, and social justice activities. 

Long before arriving at OSU, Nguyen was interested in DEIB work. 

“Gratitude seeps out of my ears as I think about the foundation that CSG's diversity and inclusion education, clubs, faculty, and friends handed to me,” Nguyen said. “The education was unparalleled and was the first taste that I ever had of diversity and community.”

Nguyen began attending CSG her sophomore year and described the experience as character-defining. During her time here, she created @thepeopleofCSG Instagram platform to allow a diverse group of CSG faculty and students to feel heard and seen. 

Nguyen created that account in 2019, and the experience inspired her to create a similar platform at OSU to allow marginalized, first-generation communities to know their challenges (school-related or identity-based) are being heard. 

“I developed my character, my strength, and resilience since my first days within CSG, and ever since my graduation from CSG, my eagerness to become a more well-rounded and competent empath who strives to listen to the identities that go beyond my own has only blossomed,” she said. 

CSG pre-pa alums who would be interested in participating in @firstgenprepa can reach out to Nguyen via email at nguyen.2277@osu.edu.