Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Through extraordinary challenges

Faced with isolation and a 14-hour time difference during the 2020-2021 academic year, Quynh Nguyen ’24, decided to take actions into her own hands. Working with each of her instructors, Quynh undertook a full course load and wrote story after story for the Redlands Bulldog newspaper, quickly making a name for herself by becoming the highest-published staff writer during the pandemic.

Fast forward to April 2024 and Quynh, the editor-in-chief of the Redlands Bulldog, is addressing the College of Arts & Sciences graduating class as the student speaker.

“While any university can teach you what to study, Redlands teaches you why you’re studying it,” Quynh said. “More than your classes with your respective majors, are the lessons we learned as a collective student body, as a diverse community, that makes our experience here uniquely enriching.”

Raised in Hanoi, Vietnam, Quynh first stepped foot on American soil during 2019’s Hunsaker Scholarship Weekend. Majoring in economics and international relations and minoring in spatial studies, Quynh has become the recipient of numerous accolades in her tenure at Redlands including becoming a Maroon & Grey student ambassador, attaining membership to the Proudian Interdisciplinary Honors program, being inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Epsilon, and Sigma Iota Rho honors societies, and receiving outstanding student awards in international relations and economics in both her junior and senior years. Throughout her time, two faculty have become incremental in her momentous success – professor of economics, Nicholas Shunda and professor of international relations, Nathaniel Cline. Both served as faculty advisors for her respective majors.

“Quynh is the most academically gifted and driven student I have encountered so far in my career,” Shunda said, adding that it is not only due to her cumulative 4.0 academic record, but to how “she continually rose to challenges, to meet and exceed the demands and expectations of many others during her college career.”

Like Shunda, Cline has come to see that Quynh never takes anything half-heartedly.

“What makes her an exceptional student is that by choice, she took courses across the curriculum,” Cline said. “Not the forced, general education requirements, but by choice, ended up in creative writing and in upper-level math courses, and scored a four-point-zero in both.” Quynh has become an “excellent example of excelling at different disciplines and integrating them into economics.” By applying her quantitative skills to social issues, Quynh has become what faculty throughout Redlands would hope for by integrating knowledge gained from courses and applying it “to their own big questions about humanity, society, and the natural world.”

As an intern for the Office of International Students and Scholars, Quynh took it upon herself to meet with every international student during a time of transition for the office. In addition, she helped rebuild the Redlands International Students Association (RISA), post-Covid.

“My goal with the club is to build community, connecting and creating a space for students,” Quynh said. “I did not come into college with an innate passion for journalism or international students, but I realized a need for those areas to be nourished and developed, so I stepped up. I will bring with me this mindset to serve my immediate community in whichever way is needed.”

Quynh’s Commencement address reflected lasting sentiments of the friendships she made during her time at U of R, opportunities for success, and most of all, her relentlessly Redlands spirit.

“We are the class that perseveres through extraordinary challenges,” Quynh said, adding that the class of 2024 made the most of what they had, which in turn, was each other.

Listen to Quynh's full speech here (38:30).