Faces of JAG: Duyahn


““I was starting to think I was in the right place.”

DuyAnh came to Phoenix the summer before his Junior Year of High School. Thrust into a new language and the long, dry valley it moves across. DuyAnh’s goals were fixed on the new life his family was beginning, he wanted to graduate high school and bring money home. College wasn’t anywhere on his mind, but the core desire to help was. Every conversation with DuyAnh has highlighted a drive to provide care - for his family, for his community, for the students coming up after him. In a way DuyAnh’s story is indicative of all of JAG - students, alumni, coordinators. JAG is built upon and fueled by a deep desire to build upwards for others.
DuyAnh’s story is just one example of that.

In the Spring he will become a pharmacist, graduating from the University of Southern California, specializing in Intravenous Infusions, having worked and researched in the heat of a pandemic. His dream is to own a community pharmacy. For now he provides at home or in-clinic care for patients who can’t be in the hospital.

DuyAnh joined JAG as an after-school club his junior year, at the behest of his English as a Second Language Tutor. Struggling to adjust to America, to his new school, to a new language. JAG was DuyAnh’s first attempt at joining a club. He was nervous at first, of course, but he quickly found a place he belonged - and a latch onto his new life.
“When I first walked in it was also the first club I ever attended. So it felt a little amazing, but it felt a little isolating at first. So everyone was looking at me, and my Coordinator was trying to introduce me to everyone...It’s hard to describe the feeling. Right now I feel like I’m in the right place, I feel like I’ll be able to get a job. That’s what I thought about as a kid, back then. I was dealing with language barriers, but also with financial struggles, with the struggles of being fresh off the boat.”


From being alone in school to making friends, finding a place for himself, DuyAnh’s story is one of constant growth, the kind of growth that brings others up alongside him. Wanting to add leadership experience to his resume, DuyAnh ran for JAG Treasurer during his senior year. He worked within the community to coordinate college visits for his school, as well as visits from the Army and Navy. His time in JAG honed leadership skills that have followed him throughout his academic and professional career.
DuyAnh’s most proud moment is his first day of pharmacy school. Being able to take care of patients and making a difference in their lives is more important than the scholarships or academic awards to him. This is a path that was made available to him through JAG - though assuredly, DuyAnh would have found a way without it.
DuyAnh attended the National Leadership Conference in the summer of 2012, where he fell under JAG Central Office Staff Diannah Harrier’s wing. DuyAnh was one of nine students representing Arizona in Washington D.C. that summer. He won third place in that conference's Employment Skill Competition. “Everything was like a dream… I don’t remember and I don’t know how I was able to achieve all that. A lot of it was Mrs. Harrier… how she guided us, enabled us to be confident. The most important thing is to be confident in yourself.” DuyAnh had his grasp on things now. A year later he came back and swept the competition, winning 1st place. Graduating in 2013, he went on to Arizona State University, beginning school to be a Computer Systems Engineer.
D.C. DuyAnh was introduced to the College Success Arizona Program by Mrs Harrier. DuyAnh worked hard on the application, with Diannah writing him a letter of recommendation. He won the Arizona Diamondback Scholarship: 24,000$ over four years to attend ASU.
DuyAnh was assigned a monthly mentor, meeting with them on campus throughout his four years in college. For DuyAnh, winning this scholarship was like a door opening, “When I applied to ASU I was studying to be a Computer Systems Engineer. But when I found out I was able to get it [The Diamondback Scholarship] I felt I had the opportunity to follow my dream.” Whereas before the long schooling required for the medical field had been too expensive, too much time before DuyAnh could contribute money to his family, he was now able to buckle down and set his sights on medicine. “College is already a big step, a lot of students want to get good jobs and support their families, but with this scholarship I was able to end up in pharmacy school.” Studying Biochemistry as an undergraduate, DuyAnh went on to Pharmacy School at the University of Southern California. He graduated this May (2021) and is a full time Pharmacist.


“If I could only give one sentence of advice, I would say ‘just go to college.’ JAG is a program that is designed to help you stay in school and succeed in your career. But it’s also a chance - because right now, you’re able to join JAG already, which is actually a big step to be able to go on to college. So take this opportunity and make it a bigger step and go on to college. If I’m allowed to say two things I’ll just say believe in yourself.”
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