The young girl actively engaged in various environmental and social extracurricular activities at the university and was an active member of RMIT Vietnam’s Frisbee Club. In 2016, she applied for the University’s Exchange program to Spain to learn about social development issues which served her well in her ambition to create meaningful and valuable designs for the community.
“The education and networks I acquired from RMIT truly transformed me and provided a solid foundation for me to advance my career and to be here today as one of this year Chevening Scholars,” Yen said.
Yen is very grateful for all the good people she’s met in her life.
“That network of caring, support and inspirational people, from the teachers at the local charity for children – the Smile Group, to the staff at RMIT Vietnam and my most recent employer – the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), has changed my life of poverty into one of growth and potential,” she said.
“They have inspired me to use knowledge and skillsets I’ve learnt to contribute to society.”
To the pay-it-forward aspiration
“What are my values in the [design] industry?” has been the question that kept Yen up at night for many years.
The answer started to emerge when Yen worked at OUCRU as a Media and Communication Coordinator where she had a chance to develop and lead public engagement projects and experienced first-hand how her work can be impactful and beneficial to the community.
“As I lost my parents to one of the social issues, the healthcare sector always draws my attention,” Yen shared.
“During the pandemic, I spearheaded two major social campaigns, including the COVID-19 Digital Diaries and #I’mVaccinated, which made me realise the gap in media and communication capacity that I can help to close."
With the COVID-19 Digital Diaries initiative, by being a leader who could connect and empathise with others, Yen enabled the production of 40 participatory documentaries that gave marginalised communities a voice, which resulted in more financial and medical support for them.
Meanwhile, through the social media campaign -- #I’mVaccinated, Yen together with her team reached over 80,000 young audiences and produced short informative videos and podcasts about getting COVID-19 vaccine to engage the older population, which all boosted the vaccination rate significantly.
“The involvement in those impactful campaigns helped me clearly define my core values of design for the social good, not just any product,” Yen said.
“I want to become a liaison who facilitates the connection between healthcare professionals and people in the community. Particularly, I want to become a media and communications specialist who can take the academic, and sometimes, dry information from healthcare professionals and researchers and translate them into content that the masses can easily digest and remember, ultimately influencing people to change in ways that benefit our community.”