Student spotlight – Michael Nguyen
Nguyen spends a lot of time reading.
Sure, the supply chain and logistics junior from Jersey Village
likes to enjoy a good book – it’s one of his favorite hobbies.
But several hours every week, he also pores over grant
opportunities for the University of Houston’s Office of
“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
“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, it’s not his only one.
Right now, he’s 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 UH’s 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
He expects to graduate in May 2014 and perhaps land a good job
with a transportation-based business or in a general office
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. “It’s
nice being in Houston.”