Head shot of Jaslyn Nguyen

How a Lynx Family Inspired Student Jaslyn Nguyen to Make Her Cultural and Professional Mark

April 16, 2024

Jaslyn Nguyen is more than a CU Denver senior: She is a Lynx for life who is meeting her moment as a campus leader and proud representative of the Asian American community. Her parents, who separately immigrated to the United States from Vietnam when they were adolescents, graduated from CU Denver in 1989 and 1990 and met on campus. Her three older brothers are also alumni of Colorado’s only public urban research university (and two of them also received degrees from CU Anschutz). Let’s just say they were all satisfied with their results. 

Growing up in Highlands Ranch, Colo., Nguyen attended ThunderRidge High School and participated in the International Baccalaureate Degree Program that enabled her to earn college credits before entering CU Denver. The outcome: She will graduate in December 2024 in just three and a half years. Commenting on what inspires her drive, she notes, “I love to learn in general.” 

A high achiever and hard worker, Nguyen wanted to pursue an academic and professional path where she felt confident that she could succeed and provide long-term value. She started as a biology major (two of her older siblings are pharmacists), but she thoughtfully considered the benefits and drawbacks of an academic program that might require advanced degrees out of the gate and additional expenses. “I looked at it really objectively,” she reflects. Ultimately, she decided to switch majors and pursue accounting in the Business School, where one of her other brothers had studied international business and risk management. 

Jaslyn Nguyen

While Nguyen is very modest (“I like to move in silence and don’t actively talk about my accomplishments,” she said), she has many achievements to her credit. After interning at a local, Vietnamese-American owned accounting firm, she decided to get up the courage to pursue opportunities at the “Big Four” global firms in accounting. She thought her chances were low, but she strategically applied to Deloitte at a time of year when other students were less likely to do so. It paid off: She has a full-time job offer with Deloitte post-graduation, and she has an internship lined up at EY this summer. 

Despite these professional triumphs and the networking and leadership skills she’s learned in the Business School, it’s something more deeply personal that Nguyen credits when asked how CU Denver is helping her meet her moment. As an active student leader and president of the Vietnamese Student Association, she was selected to be the student speaker at the CU Denver ceremony celebrating the campus’ designation as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) in fall 2023.  

During her remarks, she recalled an analogy that her dad, an engineer, uses to describe forward momentum: The flywheel effect, which occurs when small amounts of energy accumulate over time to create gradual—but steady—speed to build momentum that is difficult to stop. Although CU Denver has changed since the time her parents walked its halls in the ’80s, she sees and feels the social progress firsthand. “It just shows that even more water has been poured into this designation to get the wheel spinning,” Nguyen said. “Now the wheel is spinning rapidly, and it has no intention of stopping anytime soon….Voices are amplified, and the university is becoming more equitable by the day.” 

Nguyen is creating her own momentum, too. She has contributed to the Center for Identity & Inclusion as a student worker, is participating in the campuswide AANAPISI grant project team, and is demonstrating inclusive leadership as president of the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA). Coming full circle, both of her parents were members of the VSA, which she wants to become “the club for all clubs,” so that every student on campus has a place to socialize, play games, eat together, and be engaged in community. 

“I’ve enjoyed good support from the Asian community during my time at CU Denver,” she says. “For me, this has been more of a cultural reawakening than a cultural awakening”—and one that has sparked many moments for her and generations to come.