Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Thu Pham - Story of Self

Hello! My name is Thu, and I am a sophomore in Adams, originally from sunny and warm Fort Worth, Texas! I am studying Computer Science/Statistics, with a secondary in Educational Studies and citation in Spanish. On campus, I serve as one of the co-directors of Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment (BRYE), an academic enrichment program for refugee and immigrant youth in Dorchester, both during the school year and the summer. When I was previously a co-teacher and Senior Counselor (SC, the position during the summer), I led a small group of elementary school students in a self-designed curriculum that focused on language development, math, science, and more,all delivered through social-emotional learning and restorative justice techniques. Now, as co-director, I work to support my co-teachers and SCs in whatever they need – such as training or remaining in close contact with families and teachers. I made a point to immediately join BRYE during my freshman fall. In high school, my main activities revolved around mentoring, and I was eager to pick up right where I left off.

In particular, I was drawn to BRYE because of my own family history. My parents and their families came to this country as refugees in 1975 and went through many extremely difficult situations growing up. However, through much perseverance and opportunities, they have since built a stable life. I know that the fortune my sister and I enjoy today is largely due to the educational opportunities that my parents were given, but I also realize that such stories are not as common as they should be. 

My connection to my family’s experiences has largely driven me to be involved in BRYE, in the context of an education secondary and my larger hope to pursue public service in the area of education, especially for immigrant, refugee, and underserved communities. BRYE has brought me so much love, joy, and community from the moment I joined. I would not trade a moment, virtual or in-person, that I've spent learning alongside the kids or bonding with my fellow volunteers for the world. I am beyond honored and grateful (and a little bit nervous) to be a part of BRYE leadership, especially as we face a summer like no other!

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