Q&A with Tammy Nguyen, new addition to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
OGDEN, Utah – With a passion for working with diverse student populations, Tammy Nguyen has stepped into a new role as executive director of access and inclusion at Weber State University.
Part of this evolving role includes overseeing WSU’s newly established cultural centers — the Black Cultural Center, Native American Cultural Center, Pan-Asian Cultural Center and Pacific Islander Cultural Center — along with the GEAR UP and Upward Bound programs.
She comes to WSU with a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy, along with years of experience in higher education, most recently as director of academic advising and student success at Utah Valley University.
What changes do you see on the horizon at WSU?
With the creation of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion division, along with the new cultural centers, I’m hoping to see higher enrollment, retention and graduation rates for students of color. Additionally, the cultural centers will be a space where anyone can come to learn about each affinity group and participate in different events. I’m optimistic that cultural awareness on campus will continue to grow and we become a more inclusive place for everyone.
How did you become interested in equity issues in higher ed?
I wanted to eliminate the barriers I experienced when I was looking into college. During my transition from community college to four-year college, I had a falling out with my family, experienced homelessness and was unable to find funding for college. When speaking to administrators at the university, I saw my options were limited to getting married, having a child, joining the military or hiring a lawyer to help declare independence from my parents. These weren’t viable options for me, and I felt isolated and alone. I want to make sure today’s students don’t face these same issues, and do my part to help make college accessible to everyone.
What drew you to Weber State?
Weber State is an open-enrollment university and has equity, diversity and inclusion at the heart of its strategic plan, which aligns with my belief that everyone should have a chance to attend college. Whatever your experiences, background or identity, you can find a place at Weber State.
What's one thing everyone can do to be equity-minded?
Equity, diversity and inclusion starts with each one of us. It’s important to take the time to self-reflect and continue growing – to view things through new and different lenses. It’s essential to keep learning, asking questions and being involved in conversations surrounding EDI.
What do you love most about your new role?
When this position became available, I knew I had to apply. I love working with students and having the opportunity to make a positive impact through my work. I also love the connections and collaboration across campus. I couldn’t do my job alone, and I feel like I'm part of a big family at Weber State. I can't think of a better place I'd rather be.
Editor's note: Among the cultural centers listed in this article, WSU is also home to the Hispanic Cultural Center and Dreamer Services, led by coordinators who report to Yudi Lewis, executive director of Hispanic-Serving Initiatives.