Working to establish NC State’s first Asian sorority, maintaining an interest group, hitting the books hard, and making the grade on all accounts might sound daunting. For Janet Nguyen (International Studies, ’14), it’s all in a day’s work.
Nguyen, a California native, is no stranger to hard work, dedicated service, or supporting her community. In fact, she relishes it.
“I’ve definitely got the motivation,” she says. “All I need to do is find an issue that speaks to me, and I’m on it.”
Shortly after her arrival at NC State, she found what she’d been looking for. Nguyen, who is Vietnamese, became a member of the rather large Asian community at NC State. Through friends, she became familiar with the school’s Asian interest fraternity, Pi Alpha Phi. She saw the close-knit, encouraging nature of the fraternity and wanted to recreate that for herself and other Asian females on campus.
“When I saw that brotherhood, I was amazed,” she says. “About five percent of State’s student population is Asian, and yet we’re not all that close. I wanted a sisterhood like that.”
Nguyen started by doing some research. “Asian interest sororities are relatively new in the south,” she says. “There are quite a few up north and out west, but only two or three on campuses in the UNC system.” So Nguyen set out to make it happen at NC State. A year later, Females Achieving Excellence (FAE) has been recognized as an official interest group on campus. Although there are a few more hoops to jump through before the group can be recognized as an official Asian interest sorority, Nguyen is pleased with the progress she and her sisters have made and looks forward to the group’s future.
“We’re not just going to be a sisterhood—we’re going to help these girls build skills for the future,” she says. “We’re going to push people out of their comfort zones and make leaders out of followers. Asian American students tend to be under-represented in society. I want to help provide opportunities to prepare student leaders of our generation to grow into the young world leaders of tomorrow.It’s a long process, and it takes a lot of dedication, but it’s worth it.”
Her academic adviser, Professor Nora Haenn, has no doubt that Nguyen will succeed. “In addition to being a very strong student, Janet is an incredibly hard worker for causes in which she believes,” says Haenn. “She’s not just interested in making this sorority a reality at NC State, but also in helping students on other campuses in the UNC system form similar groups. She is talking with people all around the state and inspiring students on other campuses. I have complete confidence Janet will make the sorority a reality.”
By Jen Jernigan, CHASS Communication Intern