Meet the 2021 Summer Intern: Julia Nguyen

Editor's note: help us welcome Lighthouse's 2021 summer intern, Julia Nguyen!

What’s your 500-word bio?

Julia Kim Nguyen was born in Colorado to two Vietnamese immigrants on September 16, 1999. While her parents currently reside in the states, the majority of her extended family on her mother's side lives in Vietnam. She has spent many hot and humid summers in the southeast Asian country, riding mopeds and tutoring English as a foreign language at her aunt’s teaching services.

Having attended Catholic schools for the entirety of her education before college, Julia would often yearn for the opportunity to ditch the uniformity of the plaid skirt and polo shirt. However, because she did not want to get called to the Dean’s Office again, she instead lived vicariously through fashion blogs, such as Leandra Medine’s Man Repeller and Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie. (Rest in peace to both sites.) These blogs would inspire Julia to create her own blog called Tuesday Sweater in 2018. 

Named after a moment in time when adorning oneself with cheap plastic Mardi Gras beads and wearing XXXL comfy cable knit sweaters whilst writing poems about the moon was the highlight of the day of an Asian-American girl in the third grade, the blog was playful yet serious. It was dedicated as a place to share all things on Julia’s mind, such as the art of dying one’s hair and why Art Spiegelman’s Maus should be required reading for everyone. While the blog was short-lived, her interest in writing was not. 

Shortly after, Julia attended her first couple of writing workshops at Lighthouse. Her experience in the classes reaffirmed her decision to study English at Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

In 2020, she was appointed as the Editor-in-Chief of Metrosphere, the university’s arts, literature, and culture magazine. The 2020 fall issue recently won a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for best magazine in region nine. Julia plans to graduate in May 2022 with a BA in English and a minor in French. 

So far, Julia has delved into all sorts of writing, ranging from her friends’ dating profiles and bad English-Vietnamese puns to a plethora of academic papers and a half-length screenplay. While she is still uncertain as to what the future holds in store for her after she receives her college degree, she’s confident that she’ll be involved in the literary world in some way or another. 

When she is not reading or writing, you can often find her jamming out to ABBA songs, cruising around in her violet-purple roller skates, and/or browsing estate and garage sales all over the country. 

Because this bio needs to reach 500 words, here is a list of just some of the items that Julia has found during her various thrifting excursions: a vintage pink Japanese teapot, a signed Ten Years After album, a tub of gingham fabric, a $2 fancy lamp, a bust of the Greek god Apollo, a fluffy neon car mustache, a hand-knit sweater with Scottish terriers on the front, and a rocking chair in excellent condition. 

What drew you to Lighthouse as an internship opportunity?

Two things! 

One, the community-oriented nature of Lighthouse. Not only did this aspect draw me to the organization as a potential intern but also just as a community member. Lighthouse supported me in my personal endeavors, and so I wanted to see if I could support it as well as the staff and faculty in their endeavors. 

Two, the internship allows me to explore a wide variety of things—event planning, community engagement, teaching, etc. I’d like to try and experience the many different moving parts that go into a literary nonprofit before I graduate.    

What are you most looking forward to learning during your time with Lighthouse?

Ultimately, I most look forward to learning more about myself through this experience and grasping a better idea of what my role could be in the literary world. That, and learning how to help cultivate creativity in young writers as well as how to put together an anthology. I’m also excited to learn about more books to add to my TBR list. 

I guess you can say that I’m looking forward to a lot of things.

Where’s your favorite place to relax in Colorado?

If we’re talking before the pandemic, then it’s at a table outside The Market at Larimer Square. I would often split a slice of spring fling cake with my friends and people-watch. Unfortunately, The Market had to close. Nowadays, my favorite place to relax is on my paternal grandma's front porch in Denver. 

What books/movies/music have you fired up these days?

For books, it’s Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. For music, Jorja Smith’s album Be Right Back is a banger.