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2012 Scholars

Nguyen Khoa Pham

Nguyen "Andy" Pham

Classification: Sophomore
Graduation Year: 2016
College: College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Major: Biochemistry
High School: Clear Brook High School
Hometown: Nha Trang, Vietnam

About Me

I can be shy and reserved in new environments, but as I settle in, I tend to open up. I am pretty much a simple guy who loves to eat and sleep. I am interested in medicine and all the life changing possibilities it provides. Unlike other professions, medicine allows me to interact with others and possibly change their lives for years to come. Growing up for six years in Vietnam, I have seen poverty and I have seen hardships through my parents' and my own eyes. Because of this, I understand that college and education are things that many people wish they had. My parents have sacrificed so much for me to be where I am today because they know that only here will I have such great opportunities. For this reason, my motivation stems from my desire to provide for my parents in the future. More so, I want to contribute to society and help others who can’t provide for themselves. I want to be someone who lives beyond myself in that what I do can helps others around me.

Campus and Community Involvement

I currently volunteer at a Vietnamese community language and culture school every Sunday for the past three years. I am hoping to find other long-term volunteer opportunities during my Freshman year of college. In my free time, I play tennis with my friends and family. Currently, I am part of H.O.S.A. (Health Occupations Students of America), Alpha Lamba Delta Honor Society, and Honors Advocates. H.O.S.A. for me is a continuation from my high school experiences. I have gained so much knowledge and grew so much during my last four years in H.O.S.A. and this compelled me to continue with the organization during my collegiate years. Meanwhile, A.L.D. provides a social atmosphere where community service is greatly valued and encouraged. It allows me to have the small compact social atmosphere, yet also gives me the chance to give back to the community. As for Honors Advocates, it has been a wonderful experience so far. To think I was the student on the other side of the phone just a few months ago is unbelievable. Being here at UH through the Tier One Scholar program has been a blessing and for that reason, I hope to share my experience with other high school seniors who might not have considered UH to start with. In the future, I hope to join Honors Program for Health Professions when it starts up.

Awards and Honors

In high school, I received the 4 years Superintendent Scholar Award and the AP Scholar award along with graduating as the Valedictorian of my high school. In addition to the Tier One Scholarship, I also received the Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Scholarship, the Friendswood Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, and the CBHS LOTE Department Scholarship. Meanwhile, I competed in Junior Classical League and Health Occupations Students of America throughout my four years of high school. In the summer of 2012, I advanced to H.O.S.A. Nationals in Orlando, Florida where I placed 2nd in Human Growth and Development. It was an amazing experience that helped reinforce my love for medicine.

Study Abroad

Currently, I have not taken a language course in college, but have taken Latin for my previous four years of high school. Because of that, I would like to study abroad in Italy and see the landmarks of ancient Rome. Studying from a book is one thing, but firsthand experience is another. I hope to grow as a person from my travels abroad and learn what the world has to offer. Just recently, I have signed up for my first study abroad trip in the United Kingdom and Ireland for the summer of 2013. During my senior year, I remember how my English teacher would show us pictures of her travels across Ireland and how it was the home for numerous poets and writers. For her, Ireland was her inspiration and paradise. Looking at my reading list next year, I will be reading works from Yeats, an Irish poet. Visiting Yeats County  during this trip will really incorporate my studies and my real life experience.


Truthfully, I have no idea what my research project will be. I am interested in many areas within the medical field and it will be hard to narrow down a topic. Currently, I am looking into oncology as a field of research because I plan to become a surgical oncologist in the future. Cancer research in my undergraduate years will foster my love for oncology and provide me with experience for the future. In addition, I am also interested in neurology due partly to my studies in human growth and development. During my studies, I was intrigued by how the brain developed through the years and the different stages of cognitive and behavioral development. It is something I would want to learn more about. Through undergraduate research, I hope to experience something different from my future goal. Unlike the doctors who work in the operating room, researchers help develop cures outside of it. For this reason, I plan to use research to broaden my experiences instead narrowing my options during my undergraduate career.

Future Endeavors

In the future, I plan to attend medical school and become a surgical oncologist. My dream employer would be M.D. Anderson in the Texas Medical Center. Working at M.D. Anderson would provide me with a job I love with proximity to my family. As someone who has lost a family member to cancer, I strive to be someone who can provide more time for cancer patients. Although the goal is cancer-free life, extending a patient's life even one day would make me happy. Even more so, working in medicine makes me happy in general. I remember going to my first suture clinic a month ago at UH Downtown where I was able to sew back the skin on a pig's feet. What my parents thought was disgusting, I thought was spectacular. It was a thrill to learn different techniques of suturing and different cases where suturing is needed. Medicine is and will be something that I love to do in the future.