Multi-tasking UC Berkeley graduate student Angie Ngo shines at home and in the classroom

by Jennifer Mistrot and Elizabeth Cook

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — All Students Rising Above scholars inspire others with their resiliency and courage. But Angie Ngo has
taken both to a whole new level. 

The very busy, multitasking 30-year-old’s much-needed downtime is precious.

“I think about myself,” said Ngo. ” And it’s in these moments of reflection on my family and my experiences where I feel more empowered.”

Ngo’s UC Berkeley graduate student classes are also a confidence booster.

“Going into like my first corporate job, I had a ton of imposter syndrome and not knowing who to talk to,” said Ngo of her early post-grad employment experience. “Not being able to ask my mom like, ‘Oh, how do you fill out these forms?’ or ‘How do you negotiate a salary?’ Things like that.”

They are questions Ngo does not want to burden her mother with, as mom is also the main caregiver for Ngo’s brother, Brian, who has experienced debilitating seizures most of his life.

“So it was like this constant dilemma of, like … how do I balance what’s going on at home and also still, like, not cause more issues for my mom and for the household,” said Ngo. “How do I not be a burden?”

Far from a burden, Ngo’s a blessing to all who have had the pleasure of knowing her. Ngo graduated high school with honors while working multiple jobs and playing in the school band. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Cal while studying for exams in the family car, watching over Brian as her mom made weekly trips to see their father, at the time hospitalized in Santa Cruz for ongoing mental health care treatment.

And when her father was dying, with Ngo’s help, her mom cared for him at home too.

“It was tough because it was a really small apartment,” recalled Ngo. “My dad’s bed, his hospital bed pretty much was in the kitchen. And then my brother who’s disabled in the living room … and I was, like, I don’t know how like my mom is doing this.”

But through it all Ngo thrived. After college, she moved into her own home and worked in marketing. Ngo then taught math at her old junior high school for two years, where her teaching skills brought consistency and empathy to the students she saw herself in.

“As a teacher, you were the one person that they rely on … that is always going to be there for them,” explained Ngo. “It was how I showed up for students.”

And now Ngo’s back in the classroom as a business graduate student at Cal and she has big plans for her future in product marketing and corporate leadership.

“Taking a higher [corporate] leadership role, thinking more thoroughly about our department,” said Ngo of her future plans. “[Leading] the marketing team as a whole, [asking] who are we hiring, and what is our culture like?”

It’s a corporate culture Ngo will welcome others into by sharing her story as she keeps her family close to her heart. Ngo says she should graduate in 2023 and she plans on focusing on diversity, inclusion and equity in her role as a future marketing leader.

“What matters to me is when people really see me for who I am,” said Ngo. “And that’s who people want to be around … finding those lived experiences and being able to speak about them.” 

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