Hi! I’m a first-generation (Mexican-Vietnamese) college graduate who consults in financial literacy, career preparation, and academia. I had little to no knowledge of how to be financially independent and navigate my career options after high school and college, but through the right mentoring, tutoring, and opportunities, I graduated in four years on multiple scholarships from a top-rated university. After four years of tutoring for wealthy clients and working in financial policy, I founded Dao Academic Consulting to help QTBIPOC students and professionals prepare for academic, career, and financial success.
I’ve Been There
In the first two years of high school, I didn’t realize I should be joining clubs, seeking leadership roles, taking advanced classes, or polishing my college resume. I spent those years as a teen runaway and at-risk youth, balancing multiple jobs, homes, and the criminal justice system with my family in between classes. During my junior year, I received intense mentoring and tutoring that influenced my desire to go to college. I was selected for an internship at a Fortune 500 company in my senior year, where I was surrounded (for the first time) by white-collar professionals with college degrees. I desperately wanted that type of financial stability, career, and independence for myself.
I felt sick when I got my long-awaited college acceptance letter and the estimated cost of tuition and living was $80k for four years. My family and I couldn’t afford that. With the help of encouraging teachers and mentors, I strategically applied to local need-based and merit-based scholarships. I graduated from my Title I high school as a registered homeless student with 10 different scholarships, which covered full tuition and cost of living at the University of Texas at Austin.
In college, I struggled to adapt to the rigorous coursework and navigate my major as a first-gen and low-income student. I lost precious study time because I had to work to support myself and my family, and I lost some of my scholarships during freshman year due to GPA requirements. Gradually, I learned how to study, ask for help, and apply for more scholarships and resume-building opportunities. I served as a student government representative, a research assistant in the UT College of Education, and a J.J. Pickle Fellow in the UT Department of Government. I conducted research in Havana, Cuba on a UT-sponsored scholarship and studied social entrepreneurship in Beijing, China as a Fund for Education Abroad scholar. I worked 30+ hour weeks as a tutor for wealthy families and policy director in school finance at a government relations firm, all while maintaining full-time student status. In summer 2019, I graduated and moved to Washington, D.C., to work in the U.S. House Financial Services Committee as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellow. I founded Dao Academic Consulting to address the intersections of financial literacy, academia, and career navigation with other first-gen and QTBIPOC students and professionals.
I Can Help
I personally know how confusing, frustrating, and even frightening it is to navigate and budget for academic and career success. Few consultants recognize the intersections of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, poverty, and generational trauma. These factors impact education, career options, and personal finance for first-gen and QTBIPOC communities. I focus on financial literacy and career mobility during and after high school and college. This conversation is increasingly important, as the average U.S., student graduates with at least $26,900 in debt. Especially for first-gen students and QTBIPOC professionals, financial literacy and management is crucial for closing the wealth gap and fostering community and generational wealth.
Everyone deserves an affordable pathway to college, a successful career, and a comfortable lifestyle they can afford. I specialize in guiding students, families, and professionals toward their best options, whether it’s applying to college, landing a dream internship or job, or financial goals planning. I help clients create personalized budgets and savings plans, pay off debt, edit essays, applications, and resumes, and provide support for landing prestigious internships, scholarships, and jobs. Please contact me to schedule a consultation.