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Jocelyn Montanez in TCU's Amazing Vietnam: Blossom

TCU Nursing’s Jocelyn Montanez ’25 shares her experience as a member of the TCU Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), her involvement in its “Amazing Vietnam: Blossom” performance and her aspirations as a future nurse.

How are you involved in VSA?

As a core member of VSA, I am dedicated to educating fellow TCU students about Vietnamese culture, particularly because many Americans hold distorted perceptions of the Vietnamese population and their values. I actively participate in organizing events aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, fostering an environment where cultural differences are appreciated and celebrated.

In addition to organizing cultural events, I also serve as a mentor to incoming Vietnamese international students who may be experiencing America for the first time. Through guidance and support, I aim to ease their transition and help them feel welcomed and supported within our community. By actively engaging in these initiatives, I strive to create a campus community that embraces diversity and fosters cross-cultural understanding. My goal is to contribute to a more inclusive environment where every individual feels valued and respected for their unique background and experiences.

What got you interested in learning more about Vietnamese culture?

Upon arriving at TCU, I was apprehensive about finding my place and making connections on campus. However, during Frogs First in my first year, I stumbled upon a “dance party” in the Campus Commons where I met Ngoc “Camille” To, Dung “Sophia” Tran and Ngoc “Jennifer” Nguyen. Instantly, our bond was palpable as we danced the night away. Little did I know, this chance encounter would lead to lifelong friendships and ignite my passion for Vietnamese culture.

As someone who treasures friendships deeply, I made it a priority to understand my friends' backgrounds and experiences. Delving into Vietnamese culture not only strengthened our bond but also opened my eyes to a world beyond my own. From the vibrant traditions to the delicious cuisine, each aspect captivated me, leaving an indelible mark on my heart. Exploring Vietnamese culture has been more than just a journey of discovery; it has been a catalyst for personal growth. Embracing diverse perspectives has broadened my understanding of the world and enriched my life in ways I never imagined.

Furthermore, I've made it my mission to share my newfound knowledge with others, advocating for inclusivity and cultural understanding. Whether through hosting cultural events, participating in discussions, or simply sharing anecdotes, I strive to create a more interconnected and accepting community. In essence, what began as a chance encounter at a dance party has blossomed into a lifelong appreciation for Vietnamese culture and a commitment to fostering inclusivity wherever I go.

How have those experiences shaped the way you view the world?

In May 2022, I embarked on a transformative journey to Vietnam with my best friend, Jennifer. One memory that stands out is when I joined a local family for a traditional meal in their home, breaking bread and sharing stories that transcended language barriers. This journey not only broadened my palate but also deepened my understanding of the world around me. Through conversations with locals and fellow travelers, I gained new perspectives on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. It was during this time that I realized the importance of empathy, curiosity and open-mindedness in navigating our interconnected world.

By fostering connections with students from diverse backgrounds, I discovered the beauty in embracing differences and celebrating shared humanity. As I reflect on these experiences, I am reminded of the boundless potential that exists within each of us to create positive change. I believe that by seeking out new experiences, listening to untold stories, and embracing diversity, we not only enrich our own lives but also contribute to a more inclusive and harmonious world. I encourage everyone to step outside of their comfort zones, to embrace the unknown and to approach each encounter with an open heart and mind. For it is through these experiences that we truly come to understand the richness of the human experience and the interconnectedness of our global community.

What is “Amazing Vietnam: Blossom?”

“Amazing Vietnam” is a celebration of Vietnamese culture featuring dinner, captivating performances and an original play. “Blossom” is a tale of new beginnings, resilience and the timeless beauty of spring that follows Princess My Lan as she embarks on a daring quest to win her own hand in marriage. Disguised as a male warrior, she faces off against formidable Gods and charming princes in a high-stakes competition where victory and tragedy hang in the balance.

I play the character of Spidey, the King's enigmatic and cunning advisor. As the mastermind behind the competition to win Princess My Lan's hand in marriage, Spidey holds the fate of the contestants in his hands, orchestrating the proceedings while concealing his own motives and allegiances.

Why did you choose to pursue nursing?

I decided to pursue nursing because of my unwavering passion for helping others and serving my community. What drew me most to nursing was the opportunity to build meaningful connections with patients during extended shifts, allowing for comprehensive care and support. My goal is to contribute positively to the health care field by ensuring every patient receives compassionate, equitable treatment and that their voices are heard.

Since embarking on my journey in nursing school, I've realized that I've found my true calling. Nursing resonates with me in a profound way, and I can't envision myself in any other profession. I firmly believe that nursing is my destined path, and I am dedicated to making a lasting impact in the lives of those I care for.

What are your goals after graduation?

After graduation, my aim is to specialize in either emergency room (ER) or labor and delivery nursing, with a dedicated focus on transcultural nursing. I am deeply passionate about promoting cultural competence in health care, and my goal is to advocate for and educate others in this critical aspect of patient care. By integrating cultural competence into my practice, I hope to inspire fellow health care professionals to do the same, fostering a more inclusive and equitable health care system.

In the long term, I aspire to become a travel nurse, with a specific focus on serving in underserved or impoverished areas, both domestically and internationally. I am driven by a desire to make a meaningful difference in communities lacking access to adequate health care resources, and I believe that my dedication to cultural competence will enable me to provide culturally sensitive and effective care wherever I go.

Ultimately, my career goals align with my core values of compassion, advocacy, and social justice. I am committed to using my skills and expertise to address health care disparities and promote health equity for all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances.

How do you think your VSA experience will help you be a compassionate nurse?

I believe that my involvement in VSA will greatly contribute to my journey toward becoming a compassionate nurse. Through VSA, I have the privilege of meeting people from diverse backgrounds and hearing their unique stories, which fosters empathy and understanding. Engaging with individuals from around the world allows me to broaden my perspective and gain insights into cultural nuances that go beyond my own experiences.

Moreover, participating in cultural traditions within VSA provides me with valuable opportunities to learn and appreciate different customs and practices. These experiences not only enrich my personal growth but also equip me with the knowledge and sensitivity needed to provide culturally competent care as a nurse.

Ultimately, my involvement in VSA serves as a platform for me to cultivate empathy, expand my cultural awareness, and develop the skills necessary to effectively communicate and connect with patients from diverse backgrounds. I am confident that these experiences will positively shape my approach to nursing and enable me to provide compassionate and inclusive care to all individuals I encounter in my future career.