The youngest of seven children, Ha Newton was born in Santa Ana, California, and raised in nearby Garden Grove, by parents who had moved to the US from Vietnam. When it came to pursuing a higher education, she found it necessary to balance the requirements of a full-time job, with the demands of full-time schoolwork, in order to simply make ends meet. Although it was difficult, she persisted, motivated by the belief that a college degree would open doors for her. “I wanted better opportunities for myself,” she says.
She went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, from California State University, Fullerton. After graduating, the job she had held while in college kickstarted a career in retail. She took on a number of roles within that sector, with increasing responsibility, leading her to a position as a field district manager for ALDO, a high-fashion shoe company.
From there, she made a major change, transitioning into the staffing and recruitment field, in which she worked as an account executive for one of the largest staffing firms in the world. She points out that having a bachelor’s degree gave her the flexibility to change direction, and she hopes her experience will inspire others who want to explore different career options.
Today, Ha serves as a Senior Manager of Career Services at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Given the crucial role higher education has played in her own life, she says she feels particularly empowered by an organization that promotes college as a key to success. She is also pleased that working at HSF puts her in a position “to help change lives” and utilize her experience as an additional resource for Scholars.
She has this advice for students and parents new to the college track: “Plan ahead, so you are aware of what to expect. Educating yourself on the college admissions process and hitting each goal, as you proceed, will make the experience effective.”