Fulbright Feature: Skye Pham
NC State senior, Skye Pham, is set to graduate this May with a degree in Sustainable Materials and Technology from the College of Natural Resources. Although she was not initially familiar with the Fulbright program, Pham stumbled upon it while researching potential post-graduation opportunities.
“I was looking for ways to continue my education in sustainable practices and potentially study abroad for my master’s degree,” Pham explains. “That’s when I found the Fulbright-Aalto University Graduate Award.”
After researching different countries and programs, Pham decided to apply to a joint master’s program in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University in Finland. She was drawn to the university’s interdisciplinary approach to learning, which allows students to collaborate with individuals outside of their respective fields.
“I chose the engineering concentration because of my undergraduate background, but I also have a minor in art and design that I’m interested in exploring further,” Pham says. “The master’s program allows for flexibility across different disciplines, so it was the perfect opportunity to investigate how I can combine these interests.”
Pham is excited for the opportunity to live in a new country and experience a different culture. “I actually lived in Asia when I was younger, but other than that, I’ve spent most of my time in NC,” she shares. “I’m ready for a change of life and scenery.”
Although she has started learning the Finnish language on DuoLingo, Pham acknowledges that the language barrier may make it challenging to build relationships with others. “Finnish people are known to be more reserved, and I’m also a bit reserved myself,” Pham admits. “But I’m excited to push past my comfort zone and connect with the community and other students.”
Pham has a passion for cultural exchange and hopes to use her time in Finland to learn about the country’s culture and share her own Vietnamese culture with others. During her time at NC State, Pham was involved in the Vietnamese Student Association, where she served as Creative Director and Internal Vice President. Through the organization, Pham discovered her love for sharing her culture and learning about others.
“I’m excited to continue that passion for cultural exchange through the Fulbright program,” Pham says. “It’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and make meaningful connections with people from all over the world.”
If you are interested in applying for awards, scholarships and fellowships like the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the University Fellowships Office can help! Within the parameters of each award, the office supports students through the entire process by providing advising sessions, writing support, interview preparation and institutional endorsements. Learn more on the University Fellowships Office website.