Y Nguyen Recognized with $20,000 Dell Scholars Scholarship

Y Nguyen

UB student from Burnsville HS one of 500 scholars selected nationally

Y Nguyen, 17, a Burnsville High School senior and TRIO Upward Bound student at Dakota County Technical College, received a $20,000 Dell Scholars Scholarship. Y was one of 500 students nationwide selected for this prestigious award.

Throughout her participation in Upward Bound at DCTC, Y has become far more aware of the resources and processes available to her as a college-bound student.

“I’ve learned how to research resources and how to utilize them,” she said. “I’ve learned intensive and highly useful tools for advancing my study skills. I have also met many wonderful students who often work together as a team in our class meetings. We have formed long-lasting friendships.”

Y attended college campus visits before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She reported that Upward Bound’s regular advisory meetings have helped her develop her organizational framework and goal-setting skills.

“I have also utilized the guidance and instruction of tutors, using one-on-one sessions that are available to me based on my needs,” she said. “Upward Bound has been a fantastic resource for me, and has aided me in my goals to achieve academic excellence.”

More about the Dell Scholars Scholarship

All Dell Scholars receive:¹

  • A $20,000 scholarship
  • Personalized, multifaceted support for the academic, financial, and emotional life challenges that may prevent students from completing college
  • A laptop with 4-year warranty
  • Chegg credits ($500 annually for four years) to be used for textbook purchases and rentals and/or textbook solutions (via Chegg Study)
  • A Scholars Resource Network that connects students and their families with resources to deal with stress, debt, managing child care, and life circumstance
  • A teletherapy service that connects students to professional counseling

“I began the Dell Scholars application not expecting much, but I knew that if I didn’t try, I would regret it. Not trying is a failure, there is no failure in trying, but not succeeding. Success comes with an applied effort so I felt I had to try.
“I am unbelievably honored to receive this scholarship. It will further provide much-needed funds to create the bridge I will use between the here and now and my future.”
Y Nguyen
Upward Bound Student
Burnsville High School Senior

More about Y…

Born in Hue, Vietnam, Y was 4 years old when she moved to the United States with her family in 2007. Although only a small child when she left Hue, a historic city of nearly 460,000 residents, Y feels a strong connection to her birthplace. She has a large extended family in Vietnam—grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins she misses very much.

Forbidden Purple City in Hue

“I’ve had the privilege to visit Vietnam and my family members many times,” Y said. “I really enjoyed bonding and learning more about my family members. We would eat together, go to church together, go on morning shopping runs, and experience cultural events. Such a different world! The colors, the music, the activity, the love I felt were constant. Just small activities brought a sense of togetherness and conversation.”

She added that the culture and environmental surroundings in Vietnam are significantly different from the United States with shops and restaurants right alongside the road. “I really do like shopping for food and clothes in the street markets,” she said. “Everything is very closely knit. I learned, most of all, what a beautiful heritage and people that I come from.”

Puerto Rico choir trip

Y is an exceptionally engaged student at Burnsville High School. She participates in tennis, track and field, choir and theater—in the latter, she performed in Mary Poppins and Class Acts. She went on a choir hurricane relief trip to Puerto Rico that she considers a highlight of her high school experience. Y also belongs to the National Honors Society, Youth Service Advisory Council and DECA.

After she graduates from Burnsville in spring 2021, Y will attend the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, majoring in business with a minor in economics/communications. Along with her Dell Scholars award, she received a $20,000 Carlson School Scholarship, which awards her $5,000 a year for four years.

“I plan on achieving my Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business with the goal of then earning my Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.),” Y said. “From there, I hope to be employed by a Fortune 500 company to learn all I can from those who have come before me in the world of American business.”

Y’s mom is named Yen; her father’s name is Liem. Y has two sisters, Quynh, 24, and Nhan, 21, and one brother, Dat, 19. In her free time, Y likes to play tennis, bake, read manga, and hang out with friends and family. She also enjoys watching anime TV shows and Korean dramas.

“Y loves to learn. Receiving the Dell Scholars Scholarship shows people what everybody who meets Y already knows: This student is passionate about her education and enjoys the journey one embarks on in the educational process as much as the destination.”
Mark McCreary
TRIO Upward Bound Advisor
Dakota County Technical College

“I have had the honor of working with Y Nguyen as a tutor for Upward Bound for most of her high school years while at Burnsville High School. She is a focused, hardworking, student and a kind and thoughtful human being.
“Like many of us, Y has been impacted by COVID-19, but she continues to be a bright spot in the lives of many. Her awards have been well-earned. This is a young lady with a strong heart, a sturdy spirit, and a will to succeed.
“May the music of her life guide Y forward always!”
Robyn Sackett
TRIO Upward Bound Tutor
Dakota County Technical College

Y Nguyen family and friends gallery

More about Upward Bound at DCTC…

Federal TRIO Programs

Federal TRIO educational opportunity outreach programs support and motivate low-income, first-generation college students as well as students with disabilities to navigate academic environments from middle school to postgraduate programs. The goal of Federal TRIO programs is to increase the percentage of low-income and first generation college students who successfully pursue postsecondary education opportunities.

Upward Bound provides academic and personal support and guidance to help qualifying high school students get to college. First generation college students, participants have college potential, but lack awareness of the many academic and career options possible after high school. DCTC’s Upward Bound program closes that gap.

Part of the family of Federal TRIO programs, Upward Bound is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. TRIO programs ensure equal educational opportunities for all students by providing skills and information needed to overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.


  • A motivational program based on academics, Upward Bound assists high school students with graduation requirements while preparing them for enrollment in and eventual completion of postsecondary education.
  • Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and sponsored by Dakota County Technical College, Upward Bound serves 50 students in grades 9–12 from Henry Sibley and South St. Paul high schools and 60 students from Burnsville High School.
  • All qualified students are encouraged to apply. Our policy obliges us to accept students who best conform to the program’s federal guidelines. Applications are available through the Guidance Offices. We will accept students who best conform to the program’s federal income guidelines, first-generation in the family to attend college, and potential for success in a college program of study.

Y Nguyen Q & A

How has Upward Bound prepared you for college?

Due to my involvement with Upward Bound, I have learned so many things that my peers have not had the privilege of learning. The commitments I have made to meet the requirements of the program have served to enhance my determination to set high standards for myself and encourage others as well.

In Upward Bound we understand that our personal motivation to succeed is everything, and we gain the tools that encourage us to move upward throughout our lives.

What advice would you give students thinking about enrolling in Upward Bound?

I would ask them, “What have you got to lose?” If you take on Upward Bound, it will serve you well. When you commit to the program, you are investing in your future. If you believe you deserve the best from your education, Upward Bound is a fantastic tool!

Remember, Upward Bound is not magic, you must try your very best to achieve the results you seek.

Three words that describe you as an Upward Bound student:

What person has influenced you the most in life?

I think everyone that I surround myself with has had an influence on me and who I am as a person today. But I do have a list of those who have been most influential.

I begin with my parents. My parents are hardworking people with a strong faith and dedication to family. These are values I was raised to deeply respect. They came to America from Vietnam knowing they would build a better life for all. They never surrendered. They never gave up.

Others on my list include my teachers, my mentors and all those who urged me to believe in myself and never give up. This is my guidepost for my life: Never give up.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself engaged in life, fully and without reservation. I am not sure where I will reside, but I will always remain close to my roots, my family. I will be a hopeful person, looking for the bright beams of light in life and work to make those beams brighter for all.

I hope to be healthy, self-sufficient, travel the world and be among friends. I see myself being 37 years old and with much more life ahead of me.

Puerto Rico choir hurricane relief trip gallery

One word that best describes your Upward Bound experience:


Y Nguyen 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Track and field and tennis would be my favorites
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Japan
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: When I traveled to Puerto Rico with my choir to perform for hurricane victims and learn about the people and their recovery efforts it opened my eyes and my heart to so many things. This adventure will remain with me forever. I earned my own fees to pay for my trip and saw a part of me, the world, and people I had only dreamed about. I was changed!
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: A billion dollars is a lot. Here are my dreams: 1) I will build a lovely home for my family 2) I would love to create a community center for children in struggling areas, and a coffee shop with old and new books to share in a quaint city in Vietnam 3) I would like to cautiously invest in businesses that create new development and strive for a better, cleaner and safer planet
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Criminal Minds, Stranger Things (As you can see, I don’t really like the word, “favorite.”)
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Train to Busan
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: I want to be fulfilled. It is important that I earn the respect of my parents and my family
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: America is my country; the bald eagle is our national bird and major symbol of our nation. It soars above the earth and watches over all things. It is strong, regal and inspiring.
  9. Dream occupation: International business consultant
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Faouzia
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Karate
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Hate crimes/racism
Learn more about TRIO Upward Bound at DCTC by contacting:

Caitlin Siefkes
Director of TRIO/Upward Bound
Dakota County Technical College

¹ Source: Dell Scholars