Meet Austin, Aviva, and Seraphine Nguyen: three siblings who, with encouragement from their parents, support from DSF, and guidance from each other, have become first generation college students.
Austin Nguyen, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School, will graduate in June and embark on his journey to and through college this fall. Equipped with the tools provided by his DSF College Advisor, thanks to his sisters’ encouragement, Austin has discovered that the best way for siblings to carve their own paths is to start from the same place.
Austin can speak from experience about the pros and cons of being the youngest child. Following in his sisters’ footsteps, Austin participates in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), where he has honed his leadership abilities, communication skills, and discipline. When it comes to almost everything else, Austin is interested in the road less traveled.
“My oldest sister was the model for our family, since she was the first to get involved with JROTC, and the first to go to college,” Austin explains.
“But one thing JROTC has taught me personally is to be the best version of myself I can be. Now, I would say my biggest strength is thinking for myself. I have a passion for entrepreneurship. I have the mindset that being productive, doing what I want to do, makes me happy.”
Growing up with two older sisters, Austin has always felt a desire to set himself apart, so he turned to his uncle for encouragement. In sharing books and conversations together, Austin’s uncle coached him about networking and what it takes to become an entrepreneur in the real world. College, his uncle said, helps bring an entrepreneur’s dream to life.
When Austin made his goals clear to his older sisters, they had a key piece of advice to offer him: Visit the DSF Future Center for help applying to colleges and scholarships, just as they did.
Following their advice, over the past academic year, Austin has spent hours in the DSF Future Center at school with Ms. Emily, his DSF College Advisor. With Ms. Emily’s support, Austin has applied to colleges and scholarships, and submitted his first Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which included navigating through FAFSA verification, an audit process completed by the college financial aid administrator.
“I want to go to the University of Colorado Denver or the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Coming to the DSF Future Center motivates me to do the things I need to do to get to college, and there are so many steps,” Austin shares.
Ms. Emily says that Austin’s independent nature will help him thrive in college.
“I am excited for Austin to have the freedom to study the things he really wants to learn, to expand his understanding of what education really means,” she says.
“In college, I’m looking forward to meeting other people—it’s a great networking opportunity, a place to make life-long connections. The DSF Scholarship will definitely be a big help in paying for college,” he explains.
DSF is proud to support thousands of students like Austin each year on their journeys to and through college graduation.