2022 Tillman Scholar
Growing up in an extended tight-knit Vietnamese family in Da Nang, Viet Nam, a war-torn country, Phuong learned at an early age from the examples of others that service above self is the purpose of life. As a child, she observed her family members care for the community by selflessly sharing foods and necessities with the neighbors in need and to help make sure no one went hungry. The experience of growing up in poverty and the strong collective culture cultivated in Phuong the passion to help and empower those who are disadvantaged.
Leaving Viet Nam to lead a military family with her husband in 2013, Phuong found her way to establish her life in the States and connect with new communities at new duty stations through volunteer work. These invaluable experiences led her to realize her passion and calling for nutrition and public health. Phuong currently pursues her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics to become a Registered Dietitian specializing in working with patients with diabetes. Embracing the Food as Medicine approach, Phuong desires to improve the quality of life, health, and well-being of the underserved population by improving their access to fresh and healthy foods through public health initiatives.
Besides volunteer work, she is currently involved in several academic research activities that seek to find practical solutions that can efficiently increase fruit and vegetable consumption in food-insecure populations by increasing the accessibility and affordability of health-supporting foods, which, she believes, will ultimately improve people’s health outcomes.