Biomedical Sciences Alumna Receives National Award

Posted on February 23, 2024 by CAHP

Ivy Nguyen standing in Health Sciences lobby data-lightbox='featured'

Biomedical sciences graduate and first-year medical student Ivy Nguyen was recently named the recipient of the Virgil L. Tweedie Scholarship, a $10,000 national award presented each year to one member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a national health preprofessional honor society.

When Nguyen decided in high school that she wanted to become a physician, she was not sure how to make it happen. She is a first-generation college student who had limited knowledge about what path to take and did not have any personal connections to healthcare. However, she knew what hard work and determination looked like.

Nguyen’s parents both immigrated to the United States from Vietnam and met in Mobile after facing a variety of challenges. Her mother now owns a local nail shop, and her father works in the railroad industry. Nguyen has seen them work incredibly hard to accomplish their own dreams and to help her pursue hers. 

“They work overtime and do anything they can to help me. They’ve sacrificed so much to allow me to pursue a career in something I am passionate about and not just obligated to,” Nguyen said. 

She remembers a time when she told her mother that she needed help buying her $800 chemistry textbooks, and though her mother had a surprised look, they made it work.

Now, Nguyen is in her first year at the USA Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine, and continues to strive for success in everything she does, much like she did during her time as a biomedical sciences student in the Covey College of Allied Health Professions

“There’s definitely a learning curve, but I feel like I am at an advantage because of my experience in biomedical sciences,” Nguyen said. “I’ve already seen a little bit of everything.”

As a first-generation college student, Nguyen is familiar with the stress that comes with the cost of tuition and program fees, but she has refused to let those numbers intimidate her. She spent much of her time as an undergraduate student in pursuit of good grades, extracurricular activities, volunteer opportunities and scholarships. Anything to help her reach her dream.

In addition to her recent Alpha Epsilon Delta scholarship, Nguyen has received recognition from other national honors societies. In 2023, she was recognized as a recipient of a national Mortar Board Fellowship for her post-baccalaureate studies, an award of $5,000 in scholarship money. She was also awarded the $20,000 Marcus L. Urann Fellowship from the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society to support her professional study of medicine. 

In 2022, Nguyen was named a Goldwater Scholar, a prestigious national science, technology, engineering and math scholarship program that emphasizes research and a desire to pursue an academic or industry research career. 

Nguyen is a recipient of the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine Dean’s Achievement Scholarship, a $25,000 annual award that is renewable for each of the four years of medical school. She was also inducted into the Jaguar Medallion Society at USA as a graduating senior who demonstrated excellence through achievement in scholarship and engagement in activities.

When she looks back on her success as an undergraduate student, Nguyen shares great appreciation for the faculty around campus who have helped her along the way. Many of them consistently encouraged her to apply for scholarships and pursue research opportunities.

“It’s unbelievable when I look at it. I can’t believe how far I’ve come,” Nguyen said with a smile. “I’m extremely grateful for everyone who has helped me along the way. It motivates me to continue to do well and to continue to strive for great things.” 

While school has always been her number one priority, Nguyen never missed an opportunity to participate in student organizations with her friends during her undergraduate years. Her time spent in Alpha Epsilon Delta, Mortar Board and Phi Kappa Phi provided an endless number of memories and ultimately helped her secure scholarships. 

When she needed to take her mind off academics, she often enjoyed attending events hosted by USA’s Indian Student Association and Muslim Student Association as well as cheering for the Jags at South Alabama football games.

“South is like a melting pot. There are so many people you can be introduced to, and they’re all different from you,” Nguyen said. “You can learn so much from them.”

Nguyen’s keys to balancing it all are good time management and remembering that “you will always find time to do the things that are important to you.”

Now, she spends most of her time studying an estimated 70 hours a week, but when she needs to clear her head, she will often go on a walk, visit the gym or hang out with the many friends she has made at USA.


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