Alumni Story – Linny Kimly Phuong

linny phuongWe’re all influenced by our parents to some degree, but Golden Key member from Monash University, Linny Kimly Phuong, has been inspired by her parents more than most. Her Vietnamese parents came to Australia in the 70’s as part of the United Nations Humanitarian Entry Program.

Having grown up in a refugee family and witnessed her parent’s bravery, Linny founded The Water Well Project in 2010, which aims to empower migrant, refugee and asylum seeker community groups by improving their health literacy. The organisation has grown to 280 volunteers – all trained healthcare professionals.

The Water Well Project was recognised for its impact on healthcare in the community as a finalist in the City of Melbourne Awards for Community Contribution and with the development of the Victorian Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health Action Plan.

As well as these significant contributions to Victoria Health, Linny is a trained Pharmacist, a Paediatric Doctor and is currently completing her Masters. She was named a 2013 Victorian State Finalist for Young Australian of the Year, an Australia Day Ambassador (2014-2015) and has won numerous scholarships for her academics, leadership and service. We had the chance to speak with Linny and find out a little bit more about her.

  1. Where did you grow up? Where do you currently live?

Melbourne and Melbourne.

  1. What university did you go to and what did you study?

Monash University for my first degree and I studies pharmacy. Melbourne University for my second and current degrees- Medicine; and currently doing a part-time Masters of Public Health.

  1. When did you join Golden Key and for what reasons?

I was awarded membership after finishing my Pharmacy degree. I then was inducted as an Honorary Member after being a finalist for Young Australian of the Year in 2013.

  1. How has Golden Key influenced your career path?

It has been interesting to read about other individuals’ career journeys, whether in or out of the medical field.

  1. What are you doing now? What is your job title?

Paediatric Registrar at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

  1. What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?

In life… the most exciting thing I’ve ever done is married my best friend. He is my adviser and my confidant. I would be lost without him.

  1. What is your proudest achievement?

Watching the success of The Water Well Project. It never meant to be anything big, but the momentum brought by our dedicated volunteers has carried our organisation from strength to strength. We were finalists in the Melbourne Awards in the category of Community Contribution last year, next to amazing organisations such as Melbourne City Mission (who have been around for 150 years)- so we were so honoured. We were also recognised in the Victorian Department of Health Refugee & Asylum Seeker Health Action Plan last year, which was also pretty exciting.

  1. What motivates you? What is the best advice you’ve ever heard?

My parents’ story of arriving in Australia as refugees, reminds me constantly to be grateful for the many opportunities we are afforded. I feel lucky to be born into this world, met the people I have and done what I have to this point. I think this drives me to work hard and aim to succeed in everything I do.

Also, as a Paediatric doctor, I feel privileged to work in a field where I get to reach out and help people. Sick kids generally bounce back- and give great snotty cuddles and smiles.

I think the best advice I ever received was to be true to yourself.
People value honesty and integrity. If you do what you believe in, or are passionate about, you are nine tenths of the way there.

  1. What activities and hobbies do you take part in?

I spend a lot of time outside of work, working on The Water Well Project. Like most doctors… I could definitely do with more exercise!

  1. Do you have a defining moment/incident/day that stands out?

Getting my letter of acceptance into medical school. I wanted to have a career in medicine since high school, but things turned out differently. I wouldn’t change this for the world though. I wouldn’t have otherwise have met my husband and many friends along the way.

  1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

Melbourne… because it’s the best city in the world. I love the multiculturalism. The culture, the food… I guess question 1 isn’t going to change much.

  1. What is a fun fact about you?

My guilty pleasure is lots and lots of TV… Suits, Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men, Modern Family… most popular TV shows are on my list. Again, not the “doctor” lifestyle a doctor should provide. 🙂

About Golden Key

Golden Key is the world's largest collegiate honor society. Membership into the Society is by invitation only and applies to the top 15% of college and university sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as top-performing graduate students in all fields of study, based solely on their academic achievements. As an international honor society with more than 400 chapters at colleges and universities around the world, Golden Key is committed to a high standard of scholastic achievement, and an ethos of integrity, innovation, respect, collaboration and diversity.