When Minh Pham was sixteen years old, he escaped Vietnam on a boat to Malaysia. There, he lived in a refugee camp before joining his father and brother in the United States. His mother and four sisters were able to join them in the United States in the following years. Upon his arrival in the United States, Pham began attending high school in Springfield, Oregon. Afterwards, he Studied computer engineering at Oregon State University (OSU). In 1992, during his time at OSU, Pham acted as president of the Vietnamese Student Association. Since graduating in 1993, Pham has moved to Vancouver, Washington with his wife and two children, where he built his career with Hewlett-Packard and has become a prominent figure in the Vietnamese community. Pham served two terms as the president of the Vietnamese Community of Clark County (VNCC) and has returned to a leadership role at the organization in recent years.

In this interview, Pham discusses his early experiences adjusting to life in the United States, establishing a career as a first generation immigrant, and raising children who straddle the divide between American and Vietnamese culture. He begins by discussing his first years in the United States, having to learn a new language while still attending high school, and his struggles with feelings of anger after leaving his home country. He goes on to discuss his career and involvement in the VNCC, where he has helped to establish a number of programs aimed to encourage younger generations to serve their community. He then discusses the circumstances that led him to flee Vietnam and the differences between his own experiences and those of his wife, who left Vietnam after the war by way of the Orderly Departure Program. He also discusses how his past has influenced the way he has chosen to raise his two children. Finally, Pham describes the people, systems, and resources that supported him over the years, how they set him up to become a productive member of society, and how he pays their kindness forward through his involvement with various community organizations.