Feb 06, 2024 12:18 pm

When Tony Nguyen first moved to the United States from his home country of Vietnam, he spoke almost no English. In 2006, Nguyen started classes at Pierce College in the intensive English program, eventually continuing his education at Pierce and earning an associate degree in accounting.  

“I think Pierce College is one of the best schools in the nation,” Nguyen said. “When you get here, you get into small classes, you can communicate with your professors directly, and everybody cares about you.”

For a few years after graduating from Pierce, Nguyen worked as an accountant, but he quickly realized his passions lay elsewhere. While playing basketball with friends at the Pierce College gym, Nguyen learned about Pierce’s personal training certificate and the school’s kinesiology program.  

“I grew up as an athlete and I was always into sports,” Nguyen said. “That’s the reason I wanted to get into this program where I could get better physically and mentally while I collect knowledge on fitness and health so I can help those around me.”  

Nguyen graduated with his second degree – an associate in kinesiology and certificate in personal training – from Pierce College in 2019. Nguyen went on to earn a master's of business administration from Pacific Lutheran University and a doctorate of physical therapy from West Coast University.  

“I always wanted to grow and to push myself a little bit,” Nguyen said. “At Pierce College, I realized that I have the capability of pushing myself further. That’s why I decided to ultimately become a doctor of physical therapy.”

Nguyen said growing up in Vietnam he never imagined he would become a doctor.  

“I didn’t have the drive compared to when I moved to the US,” Nguyen said, adding that he was motivated by all his peers. “Everybody is working hard here so I kind of pushed myself to get to that level.”

The smaller class sizes in the Kinesiology program allowed Ngyuen to develop personal relationships with his professors – like Lisa Murray, the chair of Pierce College’s kinesiology department. Nguyen says Murray was not only an amazing teacher, but also a friend and a coach.

“Every time I need direction or guidance or had little questions, I came to her office hours, talked to her and she would give me answers and directions,” Nguyen said. “She guided me through my application to my PT program and that is how I got in. I appreciate her to this day.”