What Does Family Mean to Me?

Family is defined by those who love, support, and are always there for me and whom I enjoy sharing beautiful moments in life with. No matter if this bond is by blood or by choice – it is just as precious.
I am proud and very lucky to have many families from various corners of my life. I have my family who brought me up and raised me to be the person that I am today. I have my family of childhood friends in Vietnam who I still keep in touch with even after living in the States for 8 years. I also have my family of friends that I met at my previous restaurant job with whom I shared memories of laughter and sadness as well as helped me to develop my self-confidence and realize my potential.


My twin sister and I were born into a big loving family with my mom, my dad, my grandparents, 2 uncles, and an aunt. There was never a dull moment in the Vo household since everyone deeply valued family time and maintaining deep connections with one another.
My core memories as a kid were no one ever missed a family dinner no matter how busy life got, our semi-annual vacations to the beach, and our traditions during Lunar New Year’s where everyone gathered at my grandparents’ for a full day of feasting, gifting lucky money, and playing board games.
As a kid, I thought that was all life was about until my sister and I found out my parents were no longer together when we were in fourth grade. It was a shocking discovery for both of us as we learned that they had actually gotten divorced four years ago without letting us know – it felt like the biggest betrayal. Many people are surprised when I tell them this story; how was it possible for my parents to hide something that huge from their kids? It is simple. The reason was, and still holds true till today, I have the best parents in the world!
Not wanting to bring any distress to our childhood, my parents came up with a plan that worked the best with them living apart while co-parenting so as to not make any major changes to their kids’ lives. They wanted to ensure my sister and I didn’t have to go through the traumatizing process of having their parents going through a divorce like the sad reality that is with many other families. Even though I was angry and felt lied to as a kid, as I grew older, I understood their personal reasons, combined with cultural stigma, and came to realize everything they did came from love and nothing more.
Now, my mom “happily ever after divorce” got her to meet and marry my step-dad who was her childhood crush and is one of the most caring, giving, and amazing men that I have ever known.
As for my dad, he married the woman of his dreams, had my little brother Justin, welcomed my step-brother Richard into his life, and is currently living his “happily ever after divorce.”

Nino was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, and moved to the States when she was in high school. She graduated 4th of her class from Discovery High School.
After that, Nino graduated summa cum laude from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a pre-law concentration. She received the GSU Foundation Scholarship as well as the Zell Miller full-tuition scholarship during all of her undergrad years. She participated in many rigorous scholarly programs such as a 3-year leadership curriculum called LEAD with Honors, “The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass” open discord by the Institute for Humane Studies Colloquium, WomenLead in Politics & Policy, and notably, the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). From there, she went on to win first place in the APPE 2020 National Ethics Essay Competition with the paper titled “The Case Against ‘The Case Against Affirmative Action’ by Louis Pojman.”
Additionally, Nino was the Co-Director of the PEACE Club (People for the End of Animal Cruelty and Exploitation) and was active in her animal rights and environmental sustainability outreach on campus and in local activist groups.

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