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From A Girl Living in Vietnam: Allwein Scholar Travels the World

Mai Phan is an international student from Vietnam who just graduated from LVC

They say adventure is the best way to learn and Mai Phan ’20 could not agree more. Phan, a global studies and political science double major and recipient of the College’s prestigious Jack Bowman Allwein ’56 Scholarship, has only just begun her adventures around the globe. 

Phan first heard about LVC during a public event held by the U.S. embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. While there, she met Caitlin Murphy ’12, LVC’s former international admissions recruiter, who later became Phan’s international student advisor. 

“Caitlin’s passionate speech about the benefits of a liberal arts education inspired me to apply to LVC,” reflected Phan. “Little did I know, LVC would become my home for the next four years.”

Although Phan came to LVC having studied international affairs only a small amount in high school, she quickly became motivated to concentrate her studies in the Southeast Asia region.

“While in the U.S., I noticed a short mention of Southeast Asia, the region that I come from,” said Phan. “Therefore, I was strongly motivated by the aspiration to make people more aware of the region. I started to publish blogs and op-ed discussing the roles and current affairs of Southeast Asia in online journals. The more I researched Southeast Asia, the more certain I became of my studying field.” 

 During her time at LVC, Phan advanced her studies through the Allwein Scholarship, which included full tuition and annual stipends toward educational purposes. From a summer study abroad program in Maastricht, Netherlands, to two trips abroad to the United Kingdom, Phan conducted studies on the cultures around her. 

“I have always been grateful for such a prestigious scholarship,” said Phan. “Through it, I have been able to travel across the world and accomplish things I thought were impossible.”

Phan also completed internships with the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg and the National Bureau of Asian Research in Washington, D.C. She is most proud of her research paper “Decoding the Trade War Impact on Southeast Asia,” which was published in the Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations, the same publication featuring President Barack Obama’s speech on the legacy of Mandela. She thanks Dr. Chris Dolan, professor of political science and global studies, for his guidance through the research process and aiding in the incorporation of quantitative research methods in her final analysis. 

Although saddened that her years at LVC have come to an end, Phan is excited to continue her education at the University of Washington where she has been granted the Top Scholar Award in the master’s program. At the University of Washington, Phan will pursue international studies while concentrating on Southeast Asia.

“In the long run, I hope to leverage my knowledge and skills to work for international organizations, promoting understanding and awareness of Southeast Asia,” said Phan. “All these opportunities have shaped the person I am today. From a girl living in Vietnam, I have been able to see a broader world and grow academically and personally.”


-- Parker Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant