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Student spotlight Michael Nguyen
 
Michael Nguyen spends a lot of time reading.

Sure, the supply chain and logistics junior from Jersey Village likes to enjoy a good book its one of his favorite hobbies. But several hours every week, he also pores over grant opportunities for the University of Houstons Office of Sustainability.

I look at a list of potential grants and go through them to see which ones have deadlines that we can meet, the types of programs that we could use and then I forward them on, he said.

Nguyen is one of four students working under the guidance of Leah Wolfthal, program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. He got the job in August 2011 after attending an on-campus job fair.

The majority of the 10 hours he puts in each week is spent looking over grant opportunities.
One example of the work he is doing happened recently when he discovered some engineering-related grants from the National Science Foundation.

They were trying to get students and professors to do interdisciplinary research in regards to sustainability in engineering, he said. They were looking for some specific projects that were heavily engineering-based. I gave it to Leah and she was impressed with it and she forwarded it to the people in the engineering college.

While grant research is his top duty, its not his only one. Right now, hes talking to different organizations on campus to see how the Office of Sustainability can help them. He also helps represent the office at campus events to get the word out about UHs sustainability and green efforts.

The time he spends as a student worker, plus the courses he is taking as a full-time student, can be stressful. He works off some of that stress by jogging with friends or by learning about all the latest technologies and gadgets. In addition, he loves playing Trivial Pursuit, going to trivia chat rooms on the Internet and participating in local trivia competitions. He also plays various playing card games like Canasta and Whist.

He is in the early stages of working on a fictional book using concepts that he draws to help guide him which he dreams of completing one day.

I also like to come up with some potential business ideas that I think would be interesting. I usually share that with other people and get feedback, he said. I just like to think of new ideas that could make things better.

He still is able to find the time to do volunteer work, such as helping with city-wide events or taking part in community litter clean-ups.

He expects to graduate in May 2014 and perhaps land a good job with a transportation-based business or in a general office environment.

He is not the first person in his family to attend UH. Several aunts and uncles, as well as his sister, came here before him.

The variety of cultures and backgrounds that make up the UH student body is appealing to him. So is the proximity to where his family lives.

I like UH because it is not too far from home, he said. Its nice being in Houston.