On a path to international engagement
Written by Josephine Tolin
ANN ARBOR— Ashley Duong’s has many interests and her majors reflect it. This motivated student has concentrations in psychology and international studies with a focus in security, norms, and cooperations. She is also pursuing minors in translation studies and community action and social change.
Her fields of study might be numerous, but Duong has a specific vision for her future. She wants to specialize in public policy, with a focus on non-government organizations and management.
“This summer, I was in Washington D.C. to immerse myself in public policy,” she said. “I saw firsthand how change happens through interconnectivity.”
Duong’s decision to work in the nation’s capital is the culmination of international experiences during her time at University of Michigan. Her first summer at U-M, she joined a public health internship in Vietnam.
“I began this journey thinking I was working towards a career in the medical field. The experience affected me deeply because of exposure to new environments.”
A Vietnamese-American herself, Duong is also an advocacy chair for the Vietnamese Student Association. It allows her to promote awareness of inequities and discrimination in the Asian-Pacific Islander community.
Duong has also reconnected with her roots, taking advanced Vietnamese language courses at the University. “I have learned that one does not have to travel to every corner of the world to be globally engaged,” she said.
Her travels to Vietnam has enabled Duong to incorporate international perspectives on poverty, inequality, and gender roles into her worldview. “Every student knows the facts and figures of their homeland, but understanding the problems and crises faced by other countries and communities is an additional step, which is why international engagement is so necessary,” she said.
“As my mentor, Tri Phuong said, ‘Once one leaves an imprint on someone else’s life, we become a part of each other, part of something larger than the egos we consider as [ourselves]’,” Duong said.