This fall, we welcomed Nicole Hoang as the Communications Associate Intern for the Office of Immigrant Affairs. She is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania who will intern with our office during the 2022-2023 school year.  Nicole will work with Alain Joinville, Director of Strategic Communications and Programs to work on supporting community engagement and strategic communications for the Small Business Multilingual video series. We asked Nicole some questions to get to know her better.

Tell us about yourself.

Hi everyone! My name is Nicole Hoang. I am a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and pursuing fluency in Vietnamese through Penn’s Vietnamese Language Program. I grew up in San Jose, CA, moved to Philly for college, and love it here! At Penn, I am a board member of the Vietnamese Students Association, a member of Penn Policy Action, a policy consulting club, and an orange belt at Penn’s Shotokan Karate Club. I look forward to my new role as an intern for the Office of Immigrant Affairs. 

What motivated you to intern with the Office of Immigrant Affairs? 

Both of my parents are refugees from the Vietnam War. Growing up in San Jose, I was surrounded by a large community of “Viet Kieus,” overseas Vietnamese, as well as a thriving community of Hispanic immigrants throughout my education. As a result, I became really interested in what linked communities of color together and the unique struggles that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) face in the United States, from both a cultural perspective and an institutional perspective. That led me to pursue a major in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and apply that knowledge to real life by helping immigrant communities. 

What are your other career experiences and goals? 

In my hometown, I was appointed as the District 3 Youth Commissioner at fifteen to represent a constituency of 24,000 youths. Later, I passed a citywide bill and was elected Chair of the San Jose Youth Commission, San Jose’s official city advisory board on youth policy. During my first-year summer, I had the honor of interning with the Office of Senator Feinstein in Washington, D.C. In the future, I hope to pursue a Master’s Degree in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and work in public policy. 

Do you have a favorite memory of Philadelphia? 

I will always remember this recent memory when my Vietnamese Students Association mentor, Eva Nee, and I went to Chinatown to have a hotpot dinner. We walked through Philadelphia and marveled at its nightlife, from South Philadelphia to Chinatown and the businesses in North Philly. The moment really cemented in my mind the beauty of Philadelphia’s diversity.

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