Hello! My name is Minh Phuong, and I am very honored and grateful to become a Baldwin Scholar in the Class of 2025!

I was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, in an open-minded and supportive family who unfailingly endorses me in all of my endeavors, no matter how arduous or unusual. I am also fortunate enough to surround myself with two incredible woman figures who never cease to inspire me. My graceful, warm-hearted, and pioneering grandmother dedicated over 20 years of her life to serve as the leader of Xuan Pho Commune’s Women’s Union, which taught literacy for local women and organized their participation in the workforce during our country’s wartime. My mother, a strong and intelligent lady, taught me courage and resilience, and instilled in me an unshakable trust in myself as well as compassion for others. Thanks to these two extraordinary women, I was raised to become a confident spirit who refuses to be restricted by conventional social barriers and stereotypes. The word “Minh” in my name means “to shine” in Vietnamese, which represents my parents’ hope that I would cultivate the inner beauty of my personality, let it shine, and radiate light and positivity to the lives and hearts of others.

A significant interest in my life that shaped who I am today is my deep passion for Mathematics. Since sixth grade, I undertook rigorous training in Math and competed heavily in regional and international olympiads. I was often the only or one of the very few female contestants representing Vietnam in the competitions I took part in.  This phenomenon struck me not as a lack of talent among women to excel in mathematics and the sciences, but rather a tendency for girls to be held back and discouraged by social expectations of gender abilities. Via my own efforts to excel in this allegedly male-predominated sphere of Mathematics, I want to inspire other women and spread a social message: that we surely can excel or even surpass our male counterparts in any discipline, and that it is entirely possible for women to exude our classic grace and evince our progressive originality at the same time.

I cannot wait to immerse myself in this vibrant community of woman leaders as well as actively contribute to Baldwin’s diversity via my cultural and personal perspectives. I am confident that this potentially rewarding opportunity to serve as a Baldwin Scholar will take me a step closer to my ultimate ideal: to become an empathetic, assertive, persistent, and pioneering female figure who could inspire other women to dream high without any reservations.