Celebrating Ten Years of Impact: OSD Alumni
2012 Fulbright U.S. Student Grantee
BA, Public Relations, 2012; J.D., Harvard Law, 2017
Mario (second from the right) pictured with Harriet Miers, White House counsel to President George W. Bush, and the Locke Lord, L.L.P., Dallas 2016 law clerk cohort.
Mario Nguyen ('12)
On his first day at Harvard Law School, Mario Nguyên of Dallas, Texas found himself sitting next to students whose families had attended Harvard for generations and were related to prominent politicos. This experience was overwhelming for the son of an undocumented Mexican immigrant and a Vietnamese refugee.
Mario graduated from WKU with a degree in public relations in 2012. He will receive his law degree from Harvard this May.
“Neither of my parents finished high school,” Mario said. “WKU recognized that I came from a different background, from poverty. WKU saw someone with big dreams and invested in them.”
While at WKU, Mario was a member of the nationally-recognized forensics team. Mario earned recognition as the Best Informative Speaker in the United States at the American Forensics Association national tournament in 2012.
WKU had a support network in place that helped him succeed academically and professionally.
After graduating from WKU, Mario spent time abroad through the Fulbright Binational Internship to Mexico. He served as the venture and fellowship coordinator for Ashoka Mexico and Central America and studied business administration at the Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico City.
“The Fulbright Program allowed me to grow and develop. It was critical to preparing me for my future at Harvard.”
Mario used the unique experiences he had at WKU to improve the experience of first-generation students at Harvard Law School. He worked to ensure they had a support network and created a fund to support them in applying for judicial clerkships.
“I bring a very different perspective to Harvard Law School than most students because of WKU,” Mario said. “Few of my peers attended public universities.”
After receiving his law degree in May, Mario will return to Dallas to work at a law firm on white-collar crime and government investigations.
“It is shocking to have gone from food stamps to Harvard Law. The support at WKU has made it possible.”
Mario is now an associate at Locke Lord, LLP.