University of Southern Indiana

Alumni Highlight - Maria Nguyen '15

Maria NguyenGetting to Know Maria Nguyen

Major(s): Anthropology

Minor(s): Psychology

Hometown: Evansville, IN

Current Job Title: Administrative Associate, College of Liberal Arts

Q&A with Maria

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be so many things, but I remember specifically wanting to either be a singer or a pilot. The joke’s on me, though, because I can’t sing at all and I have grown incredibly scared of heights.

When you were a student, why did you choose USI?

I chose USI because of the location and people. Being close to home was comforting to me but I also had the opportunity to get to know my classmates who were from all over the world. Having that sort of diversity along with the comfort of being in my hometown was very appealing.

Maria and friends in costume

What were some of your favorite/most memorable classes and why?

I enjoyed Japanese because I was able to come together with many other students who had similar interests as me. We wrote letters to pen pals in Japan which was a fun experience. I also took a Sociology class that was a seminar in globalism. It had an impact on me and made me realize how the world is evolving together in ways that may not be so apparent at first. I try to be more conscious as a consumer after taking that course.

Were you involved with any clubs or internships?

I did an internship at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science. I am so happy I did because my experience made me appreciate museums even more and I witnessed the collaborative efforts required to run a museum. The Evansville Museum has exhibits that change all the time and connects viewers with current events, but they also have permanent exhibits that walk you through Evansville’s history and more.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Do the best you can and be kind to yourself. I think it is too easy to get overwhelmed with stress, and to compare ourselves to others. Your feelings are perfectly valid, but be gentle with how you treat yourself.

Share a good memory you have from 2020.

Although 2020 has been weird, I was fortunate enough to visit the Smoky Mountains with my partner. We rented a vintage red camper for our trip that had no A/C, and it was my first time using an outhouse and showering outdoors. There were chickens that greeted us each morning, a dog named Alex that kept guard, and fresh, homemade bread from our host. Everything about that trip was perfect, including descending Mt. LeConte through pouring rain.

Smoky Mountains trip

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

I would like to hang out with red pandas, and travel on a cruise to Antarctica. I should also probably learn how to swim at some point, maybe before the Antarctica cruise.

If you could have an all-expenses paid trip to go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I would love to do a trip that includes Croatia and Slovenia. Plitvice National Park looks gorgeous, and there is a “Museum of Broken Relationships” in Croatia that I think would be cathartic for my inner teen angst. In Slovenia, Lake Bled would be amazing to see

What is your favorite quote?

“It be like that sometimes” might be a meme, but is totally comforting to me when bad things happen for no reason. I think to myself, “it be like that sometimes,” and move on.

"It Be Like That Sometimes" art print by Smitten Visions

What’s the most interesting documentary you’ve ever watched?

Dear Zachary is a documentary that I think is a must watch, but would not want to watch twice.

What is one cause are you most passionate about?

Animal welfare, for sure, but especially when it comes to pets. I have a soft spot for senior dogs and wish more people were willing to welcome senior pets into their home so they could live out their final years in comfort.

Contact Dr. Melinda Roberts


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