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Meet Augustin Dao

It’s one memory in particular that stands out to current student Augustin Dao.
Late last year, MiraCosta College was hosting its Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. The week featured a variety of educational and engaging events on campus, and Augustin was keen on attending a documentary film event one night after classes.

There weren’t many people in the audience that night but soon after the program started a new face walked into the theater and sat a few rows over from Augustin.
“I don’t know what came over me, but I waved her over to come sit next to me,” shared Augustin.”

The two struck up a conversation and as it turned out, it was the woman’s first day on campus. She had previously been home-schooled and was anxious about transitioning to community college because she didn’t know anyone.
Said Augustin, “That was me just a couple years ago. I knew that feeling and I wanted to make her feel as supported as I did when I first started at MiraCosta College.”

Within minutes, the two struck up a bond and once the film finished, Augustin took her around campus and introduced her to as many people as he could, connecting her to leaders of various clubs and other students with similar interests.
“It was such a small but magical moment that will always stick with me,” he shared. “That’s what makes MiraCosta College so unique.”

Like his new friend that night, Augustin was once a new student anxious about how he would adjust to college life. Augustin was younger than most of his classmates when he first enrolled at MiraCosta College and the idea of walking into college was overwhelming.

Shared Augustin, “Going from graduating high school at 16 to walking into a college classroom was a scary experience.”

Despite being incredibly active in his community, Augustin wasn’t always the most outgoing person. So the prospect of starting anew at college was full of uncertainty. But to Augustin’s surprise, the first class he stepped foot into was nothing like he expected. It was small, his classmates were friendly, and his professor was welcoming from the very beginning.

“That eased all my nerves. The environment at MiraCosta College made me feel like I could come out of my shell.”

And since then, Augustin has come out of his shell, and more.

Augustin first began his community engagement as a board member of the Carlsbad Equality Coalition. Recognizing the need to advocate for a more equitable and inclusive region for students and community members alike, Augustin wanted to use his voice any way he could. He slowly started to share his story and his perspective with his fellow neighbors. Then as time progressed, he took on more of a leadership role as the organization helped launch a DEI program within the Carlsbad School District, as well as incorporate equity into the region’s Climate Action Plan.

Soon after, he wanted to enact similar, positive change at MiraCosta College. Studying political science,  during his second year at school, he joined the student government and became the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The onetime shy student quickly became a vocal advocate for his fellow students and grew in his confidence thanks to the environment and community that the college offered.

And if that wasn’t enough, Augustin has spent countless hours campaigning for his local elected leaders, working in the District Attorney’s Office, and most recently founded the San Diego Asian American Pacific Islander Network, which brings together the expertise of local professionals to connect with youth and inspire a new generation of leaders.

Whether it’s taking time to connect with a new student or strengthening DEI programs on campus, Augustin is always willing to help his community. And when asked why he gives so much of his time to others, he is quick to point to the people around him.

“Everyone I meet, from my peers in student government to the professors on campus, is so inspiring. This school brings together different people with all types of experiences, and everyone just wants to see everyone else succeed. I’m proud to be part of this supportive community.”

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