Lynn and Maverick enjoy a baseball game together.

When senior math major Lynn Pham found out she was pregnant, she was shocked. Only 20 years old and single, Lynn hadn’t planned on having a baby any time soon! “I was afraid to tell my parents,” Lynn confessed. “In my Chinese and Vietnamese culture, it’s considered dishonorable to the family if you get pregnant when you’re not married.” She tried to keep it from her family as long as possible, but eventually they found out-and her parents were very disappointed with her. “I had to prove to them that my having a baby was not going to keep me from doing what I had set out to do,” she said, “so I had to work extra hard at school and make sure that my pregnancy didn’t interfere.”

Lynn had to work part time as a waitress while taking a full load of 18 credits each semester. On top of that, her parents didn’t want her at home anymore, so she had to get her own small apartment. “Everybody at school was really supportive,” said Lynn. “They knew what was going on, so they did what they could to help me.”

Amazingly, Lynn managed not to miss any classes. She was due to give birth toward the end of spring break 2004, but she asked to deliver her baby a few days early, on the first day of the week-long break, so that she could return to school in a week without missing any classes. On the first day of class after spring break, Lynn walked into the classroom to the cheers of her classmates with a much smaller belly, wobbly steps, and a smile upon her face. Lynn explained, “I named my son Maverick, because it means ‘different from all the rest, independent,’ and I think that description applies to me as well.”

“Lynn impressed me with her undeterred dedication, intelligence, and gentle and kind nature,” said Dr. Rongsun Pu, who taught Lynn’s introduction to biology class. She added, “Lynn obtained one of the highest overall grades at the end of the semester-she’s one of the most dedicated students I’ve had.” Dedicated is right! When Lynn graduates with her Bachelor’s degree, she plans to immediately start teaching high school while pursuing her Master’s degree. She wants to get her Doctorate after that, so that she can ultimately teach at the college level! “I’m trying to get all my schooling done as quickly as possible,” she explained, “so that I don’t miss being there for Maverick through the important ages. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of things with my son-so I schedule all my classes from 9am to 10:30pm on only two days, so that I can spend the rest of the time with him.” With work, school, and caring for Maverick, Lynn doesn’t have time for much else! “My social life is shot,” she says with a laugh. “I have no time for friends, dating, or anything like that.” But even though it made things much harder on her, Lynn loves her son more than anything. “It was a bump in the road, that’s all. Sometimes people are just ready when they’re younger, and some are never ready,” she mused. “In my case, I think I handled it well.”


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