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I find it inspiring that most ThanksUSA scholarship recipients report that they are passionate about their chosen field of study. When I first spoke with Nguyen Pham Seymour, I could hear this passion in her voice. Nguyen, a Marine Corps spouse, received a $3,000 LM&O Advertising/ThanksUSA Scholarship for her final year of Marketing and Psychology studies at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Just months from graduating, Nguyen is excited to share her educational accomplishments and career goals with ThanksUSA supporters.

Nguyen Pham Seymour

Nguyen first became interested in marketing when her employer challenged staff members to improve sales during the slow season. She suggested a loyalty program and volunteered to chart customer activities during implementation. Both Nguyen and her employer were pleased to see increased demand and higher client retention while competitors continued to struggle.

From that point on, Nguyen explains, “I became interested in analyzing consumer behavior during store visits. In my spare time, I would read psychology materials to gain insight about consumer behaviors. Then, I would form new marketing campaigns to capture consumers’ attention and awareness.”

For Nguyen, majoring in both marketing and psychology has been the perfect combination. “My goal,” she says, “is to have a career where I can fully utilize my analytical and quantitative skills to help businesses and organizations identify difficulties and effectively implement solutions.”

During her time at BYU-Hawaii, Nguyen has had the opportunity to work with various organizations like Deseret International, Sothys Paris, and the Sheraton and Sofital hotels. When I asked Nguyen about her favorite marketing project, she admitted that it was nearly impossible to choose, but added, “If I must (choose), I’d have to say working with Hawaii North Shore Chamber of Commerce (NSCOC) was a great experience overall. During the 6 months of working on the project, I gained tremendous insights about the marketing research process, as well as how to manage my team effectively. The NSCOC was so impressed with the result, that they asked us to present the data at the 4th Annual Hawaii North Shore Business Expo.”

Although Nguyen and her team presented their results to high-level corporate executives and Hawaiian decision makers, she says, “The best part is that businesses of all sizes can implement the results from our study to become more effective in their marketing communication efforts.”

Though she is very talented and has the education and experience to raise the profits of a potential employer, Nguyen is hardly driven by dollar signs. Instead, the devoted Marine Corps spouse is more concerned with using her strengths to help her extended military family.

She is currently in the process of building a website devoted to post traumatic stress disorder resources. With many of our active duty and retired military members suffering from PTSD, Nguyen wants to provide victims, family members, friends, and their entire support network with the latest information. She also has plans to provide innovative marketing methods and brand management training to small and mid-size businesses operated by military members and military dependents. “As a life-time member of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi, I hope to reach and change as many lives as possible and give back to those who serve and sacrifice for our nation,” she adds.

As the spouse of CPL Michael Blake Seymour, USMC, Nguyen understands sacrifice. “There is no amount of training that will prepare you to be a Marine’s wife. One thing I have learned is that anything can happen at any given moment and I need to be prepared when he leaves. Be it deployment, training, duty, there is no such thing as certainty when you are the wife of a Marine,” she remarks.

Corporal and Mrs. Michael Blake Seymour

Corporal and Mrs. Michael Blake Seymour

Aside from the stresses of military life, the Seymours are dealing with a personal health issue. Diagnosed with the rare Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, Blake recently underwent a complicated surgery. Nguyen was relieved to report that her husband has fully recovered, returned to work, and would eventually like to start a non-profit dedicated to WPW patients.

For now, the couple is planning for their next transition. Nguyen will graduate from BYU-Hawaii in April with degrees in both Marketing and Psychology, with a minor in Economics. She is proud to announce that she has accepted a position with Goldman Sachs and will start her new career in the summer. Before then, Nguyen and Blake plan to devote a month volunteering in Asia and the Pacific. What a great way to celebrate all that she has accomplished!

I hope that all ThanksUSA scholarship recipients will remain passionate about their chosen field. If you truly love what you’re doing, you’ll live a very happy life. On behalf of the entire ThanksUSA Team, I wish all of our supporters, scholarship recipients, and military families a very Happy New Year!

“I’d like to say “Thank You” for the generosity and thoughtfulness of the sponsors that allow ThanksUSA to accomplish its mission in supporting military personnel and their family members, who pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”  — Nguyen Pham Seymour

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With the assistance of a $3,000 Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Faith  Hauversburk is pursuing double majors in economics and philosophy at John Hopkins University. With her husband deployed to South Korea, the newlywed Air Force spouse has remained committed to her studies at JHU knowing that her education will lead to a better future for her family.

Faith has always held mathematical interests and knew that she would enjoy working in the field of finance. She explains that she originally planned to major in applied mathematics because, “I felt it was a more flexible and powerful major, one which would better enable me to get a job.”

But Faith soon realized that she was learning most formulations and theories on her own. To optimize her college experience, she changed her major to economics and is quite satisfied with the results. “I felt economics would be more interesting, especially since I would better be able to understand the current economic situation, while also incorporating financial mathematics,” she adds.

Although Faith is dedicated to pursuing her economics degree to prepare for a future career, she also possesses a strong spiritual desire to study philosophy. She explains, “I think that the most important thing in life is to learn how best to live, and one gains this through self-understanding and through understanding of the world. Philosophy, or love of wisdom, is about understanding yourself and the world in a deeper, insightful way.”

To compliment her studies, Faith attends meetings of the campus philosophy group, Prometheus, and is involved in a Christian apologetics group. Faith explains, “We seek to defend the Christian faith with rationality.” She also volunteers to prepare and serve meals for area residents in need.

Faith is committed to graduating from JHU with honors and two undergraduate degrees. She is maintaining an impressive GPA and is gradually extending her campus involvement. Finances are always a concern for the Hauversburks and Faith explains, “Receiving the Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship has allowed me to feel more relaxed, to feel less stressful. School is stressful enough on its own! With my scholarship, I can shift my worries from finances and focus my attention on schoolwork instead.”

The sacrifices of military families are often difficult for civilians to understand or to relate to. Since Faith and her husband, Senior Airman Daniel Hauversburk, Jr, U.S. Air Force, are thousands of miles away from each other, I asked Faith to share a little about that experience.

Daniel and Faith Hauversburk, Jeju Island

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“My husband and I, despite having only been married for a year, are very used to being apart, even prior to our marriage. The longest we have been together day by day is about a month. Because of this, I think it is easier on us to deal with the distance, especially because we are both independent people who have dreams and goals of our own.

We support each other by encouraging each other, by respecting and being understanding of each other when we cannot give each other much time, and by knowing that our time apart will mean a better life for us in the future. Above all, we remain best friends, and treat each other well.”

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Thank you, Faith, for sharing with our Scholarship News readers. The ThanksUSA team is proud to be a part of Faith’s educational journey. We encourage all college-bound military spouses and dependent children to apply for the 2012 ThanksUSA Scholarships. Applications will be accepted from April 1, 2012, through May 15, 2012. You can sign up for an email reminder here and if you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me directly at sherrykoch@thanksusa.org.

We close this week’s blog with a few words from Faith thanking the Blavatnik Family Foundation for their support of ThanksUSA:

“As a selected recipient, I am extremely grateful for the support towards my education. I, and many others, appreciate what you do for military dependents worldwide. Thank you for all that you do. You are giving me the chance to live out the American dream.”

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Rachel Markley loves to learn. She approaches obstacles with an open mind and a desire to experience all that life has to offer. This week, the University of Chicago freshman shares her academic goals and how a $3000 Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes/ThanksUSA Scholarship is helping her achieve those goals.

Rachel Markley as Isaac Newton

The daughter of Lieutenant Commander John B Markley, U.S. Navy, and Beth Markley, Rachel has truly enjoyed life as a military child. She has learned to adapt to new situations quickly and accepts change without much stress. Skills that have been critical to her, especially this past year.

After graduating from high school in 2010, Rachel took a one year hiatus from school to accompany her parents to Japan. Embracing her new surroundings, she began learning conversational Kanji and had begun teaching English when the earthquake struck. The military assisted evacuation left her thousands of miles from her new home worrying about the devastation.

As Japan recovered, Rachel began preparing for another big move, this time to begin college in Illinois. Initially, she reports, the coursework of her mathematics major was a bit shocking. Proof based calculus is not for the faint of math. But, Rachel appreciates the academic challenges and plans to pursue a career as an actuary.

She has already passed her first actuary test and is considering a focus in economics. To compliment her studies and provide guidance, Rachel is a member of the University of Chicago Actuarial Initiative. Always appreciative of change, Rachel admits that she can’t see herself working behind a desk day after day. She plans to seek employment with a global organization and reminded me that every industry requires risk analysis. For instance, how often do you think of the financial risks of Cirque du Soleil?

Pursuing an international career provides its own challenges, which Rachel is already preparing for. Thanks, in part, to her military upbringing, Rachel is quite comfortable speaking to people of all nationalities and is quite comfortable in a multi-cultural environment. She’s been studying Latin since the age of ten and enjoys learning new languages.

“Since beginning college, I’ve expanded my circle of friends to include more international students,” says Rachel. Her best friend (since middle school) happens to be Serbian, so Rachel’s Serbo-Croatian language skills are always improving. She also continues to teach English to two Japanese students via skype.

With the flexibility to adjust to any situation and the determination to succeed, Rachel will surely flourish. The ThanksUSA team wishes her academic success and hopes that she never loses her adventurous spirit!

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