Raising Cultural Awareness on Her Way to Medical School

Biology major Uyen Dang poses for a photo in the Mund College Center

In recent years, Lebanon Valley College has worked to grow its population of international students on campus. Vietnamese student Uyen Dang ’17 is one of several who chose to study at The Valley for her collegiate career.

Dang grew up in a small city in Vietnam, where she was raised until 12 when her family moved to Lebanon, Pa. There, she graduated from Cedar Crest High School and began considering Lebanon Valley as the place to continue her education. 

The college selection process is different for all students; for Dang, it was a variety of compounding factors that led her to choose LVC.

“After research, I discovered they have a good science field program, and the campus is close to my house, so it is really convenient for me to commute from home,” she explained. “After applying, I also received a good amount of scholarships from the school, which further cemented my decision to go here.”

At the College, Dang is a biology major and a crucial part of many campus organizations. She serves as the vice president of the Martial Arts Club and is a valued member of the Global Education, Swing Dance, and Asian Cultures clubs. 

“These three clubs are my favorite because they all teach me some valuable skills,” outlined Dang. “Martial Arts club teaches me self-defense skills that I might need in the future. Global Education club introduced me to new knowledge about the different cultures of the countries in the world. Swing Dance club helps me improve my swing dance skills, have fun while dancing, and learn some cool moves.”

While Dang experienced some frustration with students who stereotype her as Chinese, she was able to overcome this issue through the guidance of Caitlin Murphy ’12, associate director of global education, and advisor to the Global Education Club. Murphy strives to create an open environment where students feel safe and welcome to share the stories and cultures of their countries, a source of solace to Dang.

With the help of Dr. Paul Fullmer, College Chaplain and director of service and volunteerism, Murphy, and her friends, Dang was able to organize and host a Moon Festival at the College in October. Complete with music, food, and dancing, the event was a huge success.

“I want more people to know about our celebration and help them understand that this event is not just celebrated by the Chinese people, but some other Southeast Asian countries too,” illustrates Dang. 

Overall, Dang says that she loves the campus and finds it to be very beautiful. Her experience at LVC has been facilitated by easy student access to a variety of resources, such as the Bishop Library or the Lebegern Learning Commons, and caring professors.

“When I need help, I am able to meet with my professors or request tutors to help me with the classes that I am struggling with,” confirms Dang. “I also think it’s really helpful that LVC has the career resources and the study abroad programs.”

Following graduation, Dang plans to attend medical school.