Jill Nguyễn was born and raised in the Portland area to a family of Vietnamese immigrants, making her a first generation American. She attended Portland State University to earn her finance degree, then later George Fox University to earn her MBA. She is an active member of the Vietnamese community and is passionate about spreading cultural awareness, education, and empathy.
In her interview, Nguyễn describes in detail what it was like to grow up in Portland as a Vietnamese American and the challenges of wanting to assimilate into American culture while still wanting to hold onto her Vietnamese roots. She recalls instances of discrimination throughout her life, and while discrimination is an upsetting experience to endure, she says there is a difference between people with ill intentions and people who are simply unaware and uneducated: they have different intentions but produce the same result. These instances of discrimination towards her and her loved ones have made her passionate about awareness when it comes to racism and cultural differences. Jill helps educate people by coming into her children’s schools and teaching them about Vietnamese culture. She hopes to bring in other people from different cultures so the schools can appreciate and see a variety of cultures.
While she believes holding onto one’s roots is important, she emphasizes the importance of embracing every aspect of a person’s identity: being Vietnamese American should be embraced as it is rather than having to be one or the other.