a former refugee's inspirational story

The San Diego Union Tribune has a great story on Sothary Van, a young woman who survived a great deal of hardship -- a Cambodian refugee camp, poverty, an abusive father, and life on her own at 16 -- but recently completed her master's thesis at San Diego State University: 'Fantastic' accomplishment by refugee camp survivor.
Van's story appears to have a happy ending, with a bachelor's degree from the University of California Los Angeles and a master's degree from San Diego State University. She's hoping for a career in medical research.

Her work on a research paper as part of her master's program in health administration drew praise from Franklin Gaylis, a Sharp Grossmont Hospital physician who collaborated with her.

"What she's accomplished is fantastic," Gaylis said. The paper, developing protocols to help prevent blood clots in patients, is set to be published in the American Journal of Medical Quality next month. The work was funded by a $93,000 grant to the Grossmont Hospital Foundation from the Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceutical company.

"I never thought when I was 18 years old I would have learned so much and be where I am now," said Van, a 26-year-old Mission Valley resident.
She's got an amazing, inspiriational story about escaping abuse and finding direction. She's now planning to return to SDSU to get a nursing degree, which is a necessary step for the clinical research she wants to do.

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