Paula Hoang

MA in Higher Education Leadership

What is your background? For example, where are you from, where else have you earned a degree, and where have you worked?

I am a San Diego native. Prior to attending the University of San Diego, I lived in Irvine, CA for five years and earned a BA in International Studies and Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. It was during my time at University of California, Irvine that I fell in love with student affairs. I was involved in multiple organizations on campus, an orientation staffer, and counseling center peer educator. I also had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Cambridge during the summer of 2013. Outside of university related activities, I have also been a youth group leader for five years and worked at a nonprofit called The Friendly Center. 

Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time, part time, and what do you do?

I am currently working part time as a graduate assistant in the University of San Diego's Center for Health and Wellness Promotion. It has been one of the biggest, but most rewarding challenge I have faced as a new professional. I have the opportunity to advise and support Campus Connections, the University of San Diego's student organization of peer health educators, who plan programs around topics such as National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week and Safe Spring Break. I also work to support general health and student wellness through planning programs such as our Peer Educator Training Retreat, Sleep Week, and Therapy Dogs. Through my position at the office, I have gained the opportunity to apply theory to practice. 

How has your SOLES education impacted your career and/or career goals?

SOLES has had a positive influence on my career goals as I have felt nothing but support from my community here. My supervisor, Stephanie Lynch, has supported and encouraged me to further explore the various spheres of student affairs. The staff and faculty make it clear that each student is important and impactful. I really appreciate the self-exploration and self-reflection that SOLES emphasizes because it has helped me find my voice.

Which class has impacted you the most? Why?

The two classes that have impacted me the most are LEAD 569, Making Meaning and the Collegiate Experience and LEAD 551, Human Relations. Making Meaning helped me understand the different perspectives to student development and was a great introduction to student development theories. I also enjoyed Human Relations very much. It helped me become more self-reflective and thoughtful about the unconscious actions that occur in systems. 

Is there anything specific you would like to share with prospective students?

It is definitely a new and challenging experience, but very rewarding. You will learn so much, inside and outside the classroom. I learned that I was capable of more than I could imagine. Do not be afraid to reach out and connect with others in the program or at the university in general. More often than not, those you interact with are very happy to support you and very happy to challenge you in a positive way!