Victoria Lam


Victoria Lam. Photo by Wayne Armstrong


FIELD OF STUDY: Senior majoring in international business, with a minor in Chinese

ACTIVITIES: Co-president, Asian Student Alliance; peer leader, Excelling Leaders Institute; co-chair, Diversity Summit; Colorado Asian Pacific Youth Association


Tell us about yourself.

I’m a first-generation college student, and the greatest challenge that I face [in accessing higher education] is the difficulty of paying for this expensive, but very worthy experience. My parents came to America to escape the turmoil from the Vietnam War, so neither of them had the opportunity for education when they got here.


What are you studying? What type of career do you hope to have?

I chose international business as a major because I am passionate about culture and understanding its influence on the conduct of business. Within the next few years, I hope to enrich my career in the finance industry by relocating to Hong Kong or Singapore.


What diversity-related activities are you involved in — on and off campus? Why these groups?

As a member of the Excelling Leaders Institute (ELI), I have been given the resources to succeed on this campus as a low-income, first-generation student of color. ELI helped me get through my first year at DU, regardless of how often I felt I did not belong. Each year, I try to return and be a peer leader for the incoming first-year students and be the resource that my peer leaders were for me.


What memories or experiences do you have of “exclusion”?

One frequent experience of exclusion that I encounter is the “where are you from?” question. Many, many times, I have introduced myself as Victoria, a Colorado native, only to be questioned about where I’m “really” from. I understand that I have dark hair and brown eyes and that aesthetically I am undoubtedly Asian, but that does not make it any less likely that I was born and raised here in Denver. Asking where I’m really from is discrediting who I am as a person.

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