Lewenstein Scholarship Winner, Allison Phuong!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 13:36

Meet SOC Major, Allison Phuong, Class of 2021


We are honored to announce that Sociology student Allison Phuong is the 2020 winner of SFSU’s prestigious Lewenstein Scholarship, awarded to students pursuing a social science major.


Below are excerpts from Allison’s application essay.


Hi there, my name is Allison Huynh Phuong. I am twenty years old and am currently finishing up my third year at San Francisco State University, pursuing Sociology as my major and Counseling as my minor. How did I get here though? I often enjoy reflecting on my past self and journey, to better understand my present self…

Both of my parents, former Vietnamese refugees from the Vietnam war, never got the chance to receive higher education…Though my parents didn’t know much about the higher American education system, they taught me something much more valuable, their work ethic… At a young age, I found inspiration and drive through them. I worked extremely hard in my high school classes and even tutored my last two years so that the school could pay for my SATs…

Out of the eight universities I applied to, I got into each and every one of them…

Looking back now, the decision to [stay local and come to] San Francisco State [due to pressing family health and financial needs] is now one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. In my three years at San Francisco State, I have found some of the most amazing professors, advisors, and classmates who have helped me to see my strengths that I otherwise, wouldn’t have been able to find on my own.

There has yet to be a semester where I haven’t taken on a full-time course load, part-time work, and volunteering. Additionally, I can’t leave out the full-time commitment I have… to help my family financially and emotionally.

I know firsthand now, how important it is to feel empowered in an oppressive society that constantly limits people from living free lives. I want to use my experiences to help people like me, people like [my family], and meet whoever else it is that I can help, to show them that life is worth living for, and to return the power back to them, show them their strengths, and what they can fight for… I want to see what the world has to offer me, and what I can offer the world.