BRIGHT FUTURES — Memorial’s Tammy Pham finding her voice & charting path to nurse practitioner

Published 12:20 am Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tammy Pham can’t see herself in any career other than in the medical field.

The Memorial High School senior earning college credits through a dual enrollment program is in the top of her class and playing varsity tennis while setting her sights set on becoming a nurse practitioner.

“It’s because I’ve always had the urge to help others in need and help my community,” Pham said of her career path. “I think it’s what best fits me because I don’t see myself in anything other than the medical field.”

Barbara Minard, health science teacher in Memorial High School’s Career And Technology Education program, said Pham has always been a go-getter.

“She’s always known what she wants to do,” Minard said, adding Pham is a very sweet, kind and knowledgeable student.

The Health Science Program presents an opportunity for students to explore the health care industry. Students who choose this technology program all share a common desire to help people, the instructor said.

Sophomores learn information on health care careers, history of health care, terminology and basic first aid. Juniors are introduced to detailed knowledge on characteristics of health care workers, working knowledge of body systems and an introduction to nursing skills. For the senior year, students refine their skills and knowledge in preparation of state board exams.

Tammy Pham pauses for a photo in the health science classroom. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Students have the opportunity to work with various facilities and professionals in the community.

“Although this year has been challenging due to the COVID-19 virus with finding placements for our students in the community, we have adapted and found alternative ways to train our students,” Minard said.

Pham has done her homework on the requirements to become a nurse practitioner versus a medical doctor, opting for the choice requiring less time in school and a faster way to enter the career field.

She will be attending the University of Texas School of Nursing.

The soft spoken senior has grown as a person since the beginning of high school; going from a shy person who was not outgoing to a more social individual. Some of the change occurred during the pandemic, where virtual classes were the norm and study groups took place via the internet.

“I would talk to my friends, and we would help each other out,” she said of working over Facetime.

It was during this time she realized she needed to be more outgoing and social with others.

“I’ve grown a lot as a person because at the beginning of high school people knew me as being really shy and not really outgoing,” she said. “But I guess over COVID my head went somewhere else. Like I need to be more out there, talk more, be more outgoing and more social with others. And I was never like that. I was always the girl that’s quiet in the back.”

As safety protocols changed, Pham again became an in-person student.

The senior stays busy and is part of a number of organizations, some of which include the Principals Advisory Council, president of the National Honor Society, senior class treasurer, varsity tennis and altar server at Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church.

Pham is the youngest of five children and the only girl, so the drive to succeed is strong.

“I’m the youngest in the family so I harsh critics and I’m the only girl so it’s even harder,” she said.

A classroom list of duties. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Advise to others

“I would have to say is, you can always try it. If you don’t like it, then it’s not meant for you,” she said.

The medical field encompasses many different paths so you don’t have to choose a path right away. There isn’t physical contact if you do not want to. There are desk jobs associated with the health care field, she said.

Outside of schoolwork, Pham likes to clean and is a very organized person — “I don’t like things to be really messy.”

She also enjoys tennis in her fee time and spending time with friends and family as much as she can.

Her future plans after graduation include staying in the Austin area and a career as a nurse practitioner.