Brenau Dreams Scholar Lin Ngo

Meet Lin Ngo, Brenau Dreams Scholarship recipient from Vietnam

Sep 1, 2021
Kelsey Podo

Having spent most of her childhood in Bình Minh, Vietnam, Lin Ngo said she learned not to take for granted the educational opportunities in the U.S. When she was offered a Brenau Dreams Scholarship a few days before fall semester classes started, she didn’t hesitate. “I want to go to medical school,” Ngo said. “Brenau has a good reputation, and everybody told me to just go for it.”

The scholarship, which was launched this summer by Brenau University, is presented to first-generation college students in Hall County and covers the full cost of tuition. Ngo recently graduated from West Hall High School, and is earning a major in biology with plans of entering medical school. She is the second student to receive a Brenau Dreams Scholarship, after Jennifer Elias, a graduate of Gainesville High School.

Although Ngo is unsure of the type of doctor she wants to become, she’s confident in one thing —  her passion for helping others. 

This inspiration sparked when she was 8 years old, after living in Flowery Branch for a few years. Ngo said she had an eye infection — later diagnosed as a cataract — and traveled with her parents to several eye doctors in Hall County to seek assistance. Knowing little English, Ngo and her family had difficulty expressing the issue. 

Ngo said she remembers one clinic in Gainesville that made her feel safe and comforted, despite the language barrier. Now, on the path to medical school, she hopes to do the same for others.

“I don’t know quite what I want to pursue, but I definitely feel like I have the heart to help somebody in need,” Ngo said. “I want to comfort them as much as I can and just make them feel safe, even if they don’t speak English and don’t understand me.”

To better prepare for the medical field, Ngo interned her sophomore and junior year of high school with a nursing assistant at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. And, over the summer, she has worked as a pharmacy technician at a local grocery store. Ngo said she intends to keep the job while taking classes at Brenau. 

Growing up, Ngo said her family had a lack of confidence in her future. She describes her mother and father as “tiger parents” who work extremely hard in their fields. 

“I love my parents, and they support me a lot, but I was always filled with doubt as a kid,” she said. “People always told me I could never make it. When I came over here, I didn’t know English. I was in school, and I had to find my own way.”

Amid her many challenges, Ngo turned to herself for strength. “I truly believe that a person has to find their own motivation, nobody can do it for them,” she said. “You have to realize that sometimes life is hard, and nobody is going to be here to support you. But, that’s just how it is. Nobody else is going to take care of you besides yourself at the end of the day.”

As a first-generation college student, Ngo said she is not only following her dreams for herself and those in need, but for her younger brother. She hopes one day her sibling will look to her as a role model.

“I came from a whole different world than he did,” she said. “You really have to see both sides to understand. He’s really one of the reasons I go to school.”

Ngo’s father is a welder, and her mother works as a nail technician. She said the two put a lot of time and energy into their jobs, and she plans to ease their burdens by showing them a brighter future. 

“I want to give them a better way to look at life, than spending their whole lives working so hard, and at the end not having anything to look forward to,” Ngo said. “I hope that I can show them that there is always something to look forward to.”