Atlanta International School, Senior
Nothing inspires Tammy VuPham more than a global issue that needs solving. Passionate about both politics and healthcare, Tammy is ready to take on a leadership role to deal with such problems.
This spring Tammy participated in the U.S. Senate Youth Program, a rare, all-expense-paid opportunity for teenage representatives from each state to live in Washington D.C. for one week and become immersed in national and international politics. After a rigorous application process, the students visited many historic monuments, and heard from numerous politicians and servicemen and women. Of course, Tammy met the president as well.
Her interest in public health and politics has led her to dream big. “I’ve always wanted to do something to help people,” she said, “especially on the global scale.” Having grown up surrounded by adults involved in healthcare and a mom dedicated to her global finance career, Tammy says, “I want to be a doctor one day, maybe not in the hospital, but in the field.”
Her family background, in fact, has served to define her interests. Tammy is a first-generation American in a Vietnamese family, after her parents moved to the United States as refugees. Her mom and dad worked hard to get an education so that their children could have one too.
“Don’t forget where you come from,” is what her parents always tell her. This aphorism rings true to Tammy’s attention to poverty and poor healthcare around the world, an issue juxtaposed by her life in America. “There is so much opportunity in the U.S.; we have so much,” she said. “My family in Vietnam are farmers—they can’t imagine what it’s like here.”
After completing a rewarding global health internship at Emory University, Tammy has been inspired to help people even more. “I’m very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had, like getting into the Senate Youth Program. I work harder,” she observed.
Outside of school, Tammy is involved in community service with the Global Village Project in Decatur. This summer, she is pursuing a scholarship study abroad in Morocco through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth. With this program, she and other young leaders will learn a foreign language in order to better prepare themselves to conduct American foreign policy.
With a keen sense for the challenges and authenticity required by international politics, Tammy is quick to state what she would tell the world, including politicians, if she had the opportunity: “Keep trying. Keep trying even if you fail, even if it seems so difficult. Don’t let anybody get in your way.”
Tammy will attend Georgia Tech University in the fall on a presidential scholarship. Eventually, she hopes to have a political career, such as heading WHO (World Health Organization). She knows she will return to Vietnam, both to see her family and to help them.
This article was prepared by Margaret Langford, a student at Atlanta Girls’ School.