When Quang Nguyen, class of 2020, learned he received his first University of California, Davis scholarship, he immediately called his mom to share the exciting news. As a first generation college student, it was an especially proud moment for his family.
True to its name, the Full Speed Ahead scholarship – established by the international bicycle components company by the same name – helps students accelerate their careers at UC Davis. Nguyen, a cell biology major who was the first recipient to ever receive the award, was able to take five classes each quarter during the 2017 to 2018 academic year thanks to the support of his scholarship. He also took the opportunity to do activities outside the classroom that provided him with the kind of balance and sense of connection that made him feel he really lived up to the scholarship’s name, doing the best he could with the opportunity he was given.
“Philanthropy gives an extra boost for students to go full speed ahead at one-hundred percent, where we can focus all our energy and strength into developing as an academic and a person,” Nguyen said.
The donor intends the scholarship to share the positive spirit of putting forth all of one’s best efforts each step of the way. It has no specific qualifications beyond its designation for a UC Davis student with financial need.
“We wanted to lend a hand to those in need, because at some point in life, everyone meets distinct hardships,” explained husband and wife team Douglas Chiang and Yudi Wang of Full Speed Ahead, expressing the guiding principles of the company – practicing kindness and cultivating true passion for what one does.
“We chose to give to UC Davis because it provides students with excellent tools and the critical thinking skills needed to face global challenges,” said the couple, also proud parents of a thriving UC Davis student. “If one’s academic expertise and life experiences are combined with good social values, one can be of tremendous contribution to the world.”
Benjamin Langreck, class of 2021 of the College of Biological Sciences and second Full Speed Ahead scholarship recipient is currently pursuing a medical career.
“Receiving this award made me feel proud of my accomplishments thus far and encouraged me to keep working hard towards my goals,” he explained. “I’d like to do more community service this year to reach out and help others. The scholarship will help make this possible.”
Going the Extra Mile
Both Langreck and Nguyen viewed this gift as a way to lay the groundwork for a successful future by participating in extracurricular activities.
“The scholarship helps me to focus on other activities like my EMRAP (Emergency Medical Research Associate Program) clinical research internship - so I can know if medicine is right for me,” explained Langreck. “It also allows me to spend more time exploring new ways to get involved on campus, and making the kinds of connections you carry with you for the rest of your life.”
Nguyen also put his scholarship to use by pursuing extracurricular activities to broaden his life experiences, including volunteering at the Vietnamese American student-run health clinic and participating in campus clubs like Jazz, the Vietnamese Student Association, and the Japanese American Student Society, which networks with the nearby Citizens League in Sacramento.
“I came to an academic university to learn but the more significant learning comes from the diverse set of experiences and ideas I have gained from being with others. As I’ve learned from these differences, I’ve grown as a person,” Nguyen explained. “One of the biggest things philanthropy has given me is that sense of community.”