With summer underway, we have one final graduating Puksta to celebrate!
The Puksta Foundation is featuring “Senior Spotlight” profiles, a special series of posts to honor our graduating Puksta Scholars and their projects. We are truly impressed by the work these students have accomplished as Puksta Scholars, and we are so grateful to have this opportunity to share these profiles with the community so you can get to know our Pukstas a bit better.
Please join us in congratulating these students and wishing them luck in the future!
Today our featured Puksta Senior is Chhorda Vuth, graduating from University of Denver!
As a Puksta scholar, Chhorda’s work involved supporting high school students facing obstacles as immigrants adjusting to new environments. The desire to help these students came from her own experiences with the process of moving to a new country and starting all over with schools and culture. For her project, she hoped to implement a mentorship program for newly arrived immigrant students to help them learn English and ease into the American Culture faster. She shared the following reflections about her Puksta experience:
My name is Chhorda Vuth and I just graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with minors in Chemistry, Psychology, and Sociology. I grew up in Cambodia and moved to Denver at the age of 14. The first few years of my education in the U.S. were really challenging and I wished that I had a mentor to guide me through the process. My experience as an immigrant student motivated me to start researching and implementing a mentorship program for newly arrived immigrant students.
I started this project during my senior year of high school. I went to my previous high school to interview immigrant students and ESL teachers to gain more insight on how I could best support newly arrived immigrant students. I continued to work on this project until my second year at DU. Toward the end of my first year at DU, I started mentoring a newly arrived immigrant student on how to adapt to the culture, school system, and the language.
At the end of my second year at DU, I partnered with DSST public schools on a college access mentorship program. This program matched mentors (college students) with mentees (high school seniors) based on their interests. The high school students were mostly first-generation students who come from a low-income family. I served as a mentor to four students and they are now sophomore at universities. During my junior year, I served as a coordinator for another branch of DSST schools. I worked with the mentors, students, and the school counselors. My responsibilities included advising students on their college essays, applying for financial aid, choosing the right university etc. I also worked with the mentors and the school counselors by sending weekly emails to remind them about our weekly focus and tasks for the students. I received a lot of support from my mentor/teacher during my senior year of high school and I am glad that I could offer the same support to my mentees through this project.
Overall, Puksta has provided me with so many opportunities that I will be forever grateful for and I am so honored to be a part of a passionate and loving community.
Congratulations on the completion of your degree, Chhorda, and thank you for your truly meaningful and impactful work in the community!