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Oct. 18, 2022

Coursework, Speaking Bearcats give Nguyen skills for career goals

Kevin Nguyen joined his high school speech and debate team and continued that interest with Northwest Missouri State University’s Speaking Bearcats – an experience that helped him lay a foundation for continued success as an undergraduate student.

Kevin Nguyen (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Kevin Nguyen (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

As a freshman at Northwest, Nguyen won a national championship in prose interpretation. After a two-year break from in-person tournaments during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nguyen attended the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial Convention at the University of Central Florida his senior year. He earned All-American status and was a superior, finishing in the top 10 percent in the field in poetry interpretation, program of oral interpretation and informative speech.

“Some of my friends from other schools told me about the program (at Northwest), and I’m so glad that they did because not only has being on the team developed me as an individual and a professional, but also it gave me something to ground me during my college experience and really just look forward to the next steps,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen also was involved at Northwest in Student Senate, Northwest Dance Company and the National Society of Leadership and Success. He was a founding and executive member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, serving as its public relations co-chair and philanthropy event coordinator.

Academically, Nguyen graduated from Northwest last spring with his bachelor of science in criminology. His initial interest in becoming a behavioral analyst changed through his coursework and the mentorship of faculty to an interest in social work.

Despite pursuing his bachelor’s degree during the COVID-19 pandemic and being separated from an in-person campus community, Nguyen maintained a personal motivation to focus on his studies in the field of social work. He also felt supported by Northwest and faculty while classes moved online temporarily in spring 2020.

“It demonstrated really what Northwest is about,” Nguyen said. “Every single professor was supportive of me professionally, academically, personally regardless of what role they were serving as an instructor. They really portrayed that in our day-to-day interactions. They showed that they were willing to support me and all that I was doing, even when it was a more challenging circumstance for them or for myself.”

He is continuing his education this fall at the University of Michigan, pursuing a master’s degree in social work with an emphasis in policies and politics. He plans to pursue a career in policy and helping to reframe social structures and institutions.

“I’m proud to be and have been a Bearcat,” Nguyen said. “Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat, but truly I know that this experience has developed me for what lies beyond.”


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215