Kayden Hoang Bui

South High School, 2008

University of St. Thomas, 2013

Harvard University, Master in Public Policy, International and Global Affairs, 2019

Hoang was born in Vietnam and moved to the U.S. at an early age. His family spoke Vietnamese at home and he was the first in the family to continue his education beyond high school. Hoang’s family tried their best but when he arrived at the University of St. Thomas, he knew he was behind both academically and in life experiences.

He recalled the feeling he had that first year when his lab partner would talk about her upbringing, her lake home for the summer. “I felt inadequate since my family and I lived in Section 8 housing.”

A Wallin Education Partners scholarship was the first step in making Hoang’s hopes of college a reality. The reception where Hoang was awarded the scholarship, is a time fondly remembered by his family. His mom still talks about the impressive gold-bordered certificates, dressed up guests, and the beautiful ceremony. Hoang knew that this evening was the beginning of something great.

 “Even when I didn’t believe in myself, Wallin EP believed in me and connected me with an advisor, something other scholarships did not. My advisor constantly encouraged me, she connected me with other scholars and she helped me to imagine all the possibilities of my future.”

After graduating from St. Thomas, Hoang began his career as a public health educator in the Twin Cities and public health consultant for Minnesota Public Radio. Now, he is pursuing a Master in Public Policy at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. After his two-year program, Hoang will work with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as a Foreign Service Officer and diplomat.

In 2017 Hoang interned at USAID in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he helped analyze data on health services and outcomes in one of the most impoverished nations in the Western Hemisphere. Hoang’s personal grapple with poverty instilled in him a sense of empathy and responsibility, and it is this passion that motivates him to use public policy as a tool for restructuring institutions to nurture change.

We are incredibly proud to have Hoang as an alum of our program and hope that his story will inspire incoming and current scholars to reach high.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the Wallin EP scholarship program, as Hoang did, take a look at our program and apply if you are eligible – the deadline for this year is Feb 15.

Hoang welcomes questions and comments from all Wallin scholars, donors, and staff and can be reached at kayden.bui@fulbrightmail.org.