College of Allied Health Professions

Scholarship Award Winner Anh Nguyen

Anh Nguyen

Congratulations to UNMC physical therapy student Anh Nguyen, who was recently named an American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Minority Scholarship award winner.

This national scholarship is offered to minority physical therapy students by the Minority Scholarship Fund, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization supported by the APTA. Each awardee receives a certificate and a monetary award of $5,000.

The purpose of this award is, “To acknowledge and reward demonstrated participation in minority affairs activities and services, the potential for superior achievements in the profession of physical therapy, appropriate display of professionalism as a future physical therapist, and academic excellence.”

Requirements for applicants include:

  • U.S. citizenship or legal permanent resident status
  • Member of a racial/ethnic minority group
  • Enrolled in the final academic year of an accredited or developing professional physical therapist education program
  • Contributions to minority affairs and services
  • High scholastic achievement
  • Potential for superior achievements and professional excellence in the physical therapy

Associate professor Dawn Venema, PT, PhD, said of Anh, “In my initial advising session with Anh in his first semester as a physical therapy student, he shared a strong desire to make a difference more broadly than only for individual people. During his time as a student at UNMC, he has shown strong leadership potential, interpersonal skills, and professionalism. For instance, he has volunteered with UNMC’s SHARING Clinic (Student Health Alliance Reaching Indigent Needy Groups), an interdisciplinary student-run clinic for un- and under-insured individuals, and Bridge to Care, an interdisciplinary student organization that provides health education and screening to Omaha’s refugee population.”

Dr. Venema went on to say that in addition, Anh has volunteered as a dialogue facilitator with Inclusive Communities, an organization in Omaha that provides education and advocacy related to the topics of diversity and inclusion. Inclusive Communities works with schools, businesses, and other groups in the community. As a dialogue facilitator, Anh has learned and honed interpersonal skills to navigate tough topics and situations better than many health care providers with years of experience. He has also mentored Vietnamese-American high school students who otherwise may not know of college opportunities before them, nor strategies to take advantage of those opportunities.

In Anh’s own words, “Coming from a low-income immigrant family, life was not always easy, and I needed tremendous help along the way. I credit many others to helping me get to where I am today. Reflecting back on other people’s generosity astonishes me, and my desire to give back and serve those in need will help guide my direction for the rest of my life.”

When considering his future plans, Anh notes, “I still have a strong desire to serve underprivileged communities, and I especially enjoy mentoring future generations of students.”

Dr. Venema added, “Anh’s interest and passion about diversity and inclusion are seeded in his own experiences growing up as a minority, first-generation college student. Our profession, especially in Nebraska, needs voices like his. I fully anticipate that as Anh progresses in his career, his interpersonal skills, professionalism, and leadership potential will help him facilitate positive change for minority populations, while at the same time positively influencing those of us who aren’t considered minorities.”

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