People Profiles

Huyen Pham, MA, Humanities

November 09, 2015

Huyen Pham is working in a field she never expected to love.

Pham is the program assistant for SFU’s Institute for the Humanities, an organization that engages students, faculty and the community on contemporary issues ranging from Arab art activism to the Greek economic crisis. She completed a Master's Degree in Humanities at SFU in 2014.

“In my role with the Institute, I get to help the public access the humanities and experience that same wonder I had when I first discovered this discipline. When people come to events and they say 'Oh I thought this would be purely academic but it was very informative and relevant to current issues,' I feel great,” she says.

Pham can relate to that surprise first-hand, having had the same experience as student in humanities.

“When I came to SFU I had originally planned on becoming a Certified General Accountant. I took a few courses in humanities just as requirements for a general university degree and found I really liked them so I decided to get a minor. Then a major. Then a master’s degree,” she says.

Pham explains that what she appreciated most in her courses where their openness and inclusivity, which made her feel  stimulated and valued as a student.  

“What I have found so exciting about humanities was being given the opportunity to make my own interpretation of original texts and being told that my opinion counted,” says Pham.

Though Pham admits her family was reluctant about her decision to leave what they saw as a stable career in accounting, they were also proud of her accomplishments. “My parents are from Vietnam and they only finished high school. I was the first person in my family to do a graduate degree. They said they were happy with my going to grad school — so long as I could get a job after it. And I guess I have,” she says.

 Author: Jackie Amsden

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