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Jingying Ooi: Scholarship Spotlight

FROM PENANG, MALAYSIA TO VENTURA COLLEGE SCHOLAR

When Jingying Ooi first started studying at Ventura College, she wasn’t very confident in her English skills. As a result, the native Mandarin speaker recalls she was “afraid to approach people.”

Things sure have changed in a short amount of time.

Today, the 20-year-old girl from Malaysia, is known as “Jinnie” to friends at Ventura College, holds a 4.0 GPA and received the Frank Nolan Memorial Scholarship this past spring from the Ventura College Foundation. On track to graduate in spring 2020, she also works 20 hours a week as a math tutor and on-campus Health Department assistant and is involved in the Ventura County American Chinese Association and Females in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Club.

“Studying abroad is not easy at all,” says the affable and kind Jinnie. “However, I never gave up on learning English. I started to receive compliments from professors and friends, which motivates me to speak more and never stop learning.”

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Jinnie was also motivated to apply for a Ventura College Foundation Scholarship after learning about the opportunity through an on-campus event. Like many American students, she faces economic and time-management challenges while working and attending college.

Unlike most students here, however, she previously attended Penang Chinese Girls’ Private High School and was motivated to move 9,000 miles from an island in Malaysia to the United States after hearing a speech by then-President Barack Obama commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March to Montgomery, Alabama.

“I decided at that moment I wanted to find a way to obtain an education in the United States and learn more about the American way of life,” remembers Jinnie, who grew up assisting her family’s own company. “I decided to stop dreaming and run towards my goal.”

Jinnie’s ultimate goal is to become a certified financial planner, so she can assist other small business owners and individuals here in her adopted home. She has also dreamed about working as an economist at NASDAQ or building on her tutoring skills to become a math and economics professor.

The next step in Jinnie’s ambitious and inspiring plan involves graduating from Ventura College and continuing her education at UCLA, where she hopes to pursue bachelor’s degrees in math and economics. Her scholarship, the Frank Nolan Memorial Scholarship, is helping make that plan possible.

“I could not be doing this without the opportunities provided by the Ventura College Foundation,” says Jinnie. “The Foundation’s scholarships help us afford higher education, and give us a chance to really pursue our dreams and goals.”

To demonstrate her gratitude, Jinnie is also serving as a Ventura College Foundation Student Ambassador. Much like her involvement in her adopted community, this new role is serving her well on many levels.

“I am very thankful and proud to be a student at Ventura College,” says Jinnie. “Being a beneficiary of the scholarship, I know that I have to pay back something. Being part of the Student Ambassador program, I get to enrich my college experience and improve my self-confidence.”

Jinnie is grateful that she followed her dream and decided to come to the United States – and Ventura College.

“I’ve learned quite a bit about life since starting school here,” she explains. “Everything is possible if you never give up.”