CPE Alumni Spotlight with Daniel Nguyen

Daniel Nguyen entered CPE’s program in 2012. He was born and raised in DC around the Adams Morgan area. He sought out a mentoring program for extra support so he’d have someone to voice his concerns with about school and life. He always wanted to have someone to rely on and to help him throughout high school and beyond – a mentor figure.

What’s one memorable moment you have of you and your mentor?

One memorable moment I had with my mentor was when we went around DC to attend different art shows and installations. It was a new scene to me, and I had a great time seeing it and being amazed by the creativity and ingenuity that each artist presented. Another fun moment was when we met up last summer at Union Market and spent a couple of hours playing ping-pong. There were a lot of close matches and a ton of banter thrown back and forth. I think we’re tied in matches, so it’s time to settle the score with Tony and declare a true winner.

How did your mentor help you with the college application process?

Tony helped me with reviewing my applications and essays that I sent in. The biggest help was with my confidence. I tend to doubt myself and downplay my achievements, and he has always been the person reassuring me that I am qualified in the places I apply to.

What college did you go to and what career path did you choose?

I went to George Washington University and received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. I want to continue to pursue a career in the engineering and technology sector. Along with that, I hope to someday start my own tech company.

How did COVID effect your last year of college?

With college, COVID has not impacted me as much. I adapted to the online classes and assignments well. I am sad that I was unable to celebrate and have a graduation ceremony with my friends and family, but I am thankful that I graduated on time with a degree. What was most affected was my ability to find a job. I graduated without being able to find a job and it has been tough applying to companies and getting an interview.

How did CPE and your mentor help get you through that challenging time?

CPE has had a huge impact in my life and has helped shape the trajectory of my career. CPE not only introduced me to my amazing mentor, but they also instilled useful tools in me such as financial literacy, public speaking, and networking skills through their monthly workshops. I also have CPE to thank for having a major impact on my current career path. CPE’s commitment to education and mentorship has inspired me to work with marginalized communities especially when it pertains to educating the youth. 

What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

I really enjoying taking photos. Before the pandemic, I was trying to post a photo a day so that I can test my creativity. Since then, I haven’t been able to take many photos. I also enjoy listening to music and playing online games with my friends.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice that I received was from Tony. Back in high school, he told me to go the extra mile and to take things as a marathon instead of a sprint. These words still hold meaning to me to this day in the things I do. Throughout high school and into college, I went the extra mile by joining clubs, participating in competitions, and taking any opportunity to advance myself when given. That has led to where I earned multiple scholarships with a full ride scholarship to George Washington University and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Even now, I want to kickstart my career as soon as possible, but due to COVID I’m trying to take the job application process as a marathon and know that I’ll eventually reach the goal I have in mind. This advice is what is keeping me going despite the difficulties I have encountered.