Written By: Tsering Zangmo
During the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Business Professor Ngoc Cindy Pham has been a supportive force for her local Brooklyn and Vietnamese Asian communities, as well as her students. As a professor, Pham has been able to live her life’s purpose in using teaching as a “power to change the lives of students and inspire them to be the best they can be,” as she puts it. “When I was a kid I wanted to be super fast or super strong,” she said. “I do it everyday as a professor.”
Aside from her work in the classroom, Pham is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and Marketing Director of a New York Fashion Week show. She is well known by students as an educator who is passionate about every students’ professional well-being.
Pham has been featured in the Brooklyn Public Library’s Oral Histories Stories of COVID-19 and the Museum of Chinese in America project MOCA OneWorld COVID-19 Special Collection. As a leader during this health crisis, she started a GoFundMe for Brooklyn College’s Class of 2020, which will pay for a delayed graduation celebration once they are able to come back to campus. She was recently presented the Faculty of the Year Award, which is given to a faculty member in recognition of their outstanding teaching contributions and dedicated service to student success. Professor Pham has worked tirelessly, and her caring actions have extended beyond helping the students at Brooklyn College.
Pham offers support in all sorts of ways to members of her community and her students, including providing mental and emotional support for friends and students, as well as donating home-made dumplings for those struggling.
Pham proudly said she has used her time to learn more about cooking, particularly her dumplings, which come from a recipe passed down through her Chinese lineage. Professor Pham is of Vietnamese and Chinese descent.
“[Vietnamese people are] very positive, optimistic, caring. We are very loving people. We love to share,” she said. “My father always says we are from a small country. If you don’t work hard, how will people look at you in your country? I ask myself how people will perceive me as Vietnamese. I have huge pride in my nationality.”
Pham has indeed worked very hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting her educational power to use. She has written for the Vietnamese National Newspaper about the situation in New York from her own perspective.
To stay productive in quarantine, she utilizes every moment of time.
“Do something to take an opportunity,” she said. “Think of it as a way to get stronger. In life there are so many unfortunate events. Buddhist philosophy guides me to do better…”
Pham excitedly shared news for the future: she will give a presentation on TEDx Talks.
“My dream project is to give a TED Talk. It is a scholarly place for millions of people. I feel my country and my message will be heard more. I want to get involved in more politics, meet VIPs across the board,” said Pham. “I want to bring more gender equality. As a female professor, I had to walk up two to three times more. I want to see more successful female students. Men and women are equal.”
Through her selfless acts of kindness, Pham has demonstrated her deep-rooted connection with her students and ethnic communities. She has proven to be a resilient and proactive leader, willing to take on any challenge, including a pandemic.