Jenni Nguyen : Baking Her Way to UC-Berkeley this Summer

Will her love of baking earn her a ticket to the NSLC for Journalism 

Fruit topper cupcakes
Fruit topper cupcakes

UPDATE 5-26-14
Jenni was awarded a $2,300 scholarship and raised an additional $1,100 selling cupcakes which covers the total cost of the summer program and therefore has stopped the fundraiser. Jenni wants to thank everyone who helped support her efforts.

A young lady from the Round Lake area by the name of Jenni Nguyen (16) knocked on the door of Round Lake Trustee, Dawn Simoncelli, and impressed her with her ingenious way of raising funds for her to attend UC-Berkeley this summer.  Dawn told me that Jenni’s goal is to attend UC-Berkeley for journalism after High School.

Instead of the traditional selling of magazines or mass produced products through some other company, Jenni is selling cupcakes.  With the help of her older sister Nga,  her good friend Minh, and her little brother Tommy occasionally helping with the decorations, they will be baking and delivering the cupcakes themselves over the next couple of weekends.  Personally I am really impressed by this young ladies ability to think outside of the box and work for what she wants. Dawn Simoncelli

Jenni Nguyen
Jenni Nguyen

Jenni sent me a copy of her scholarship essay (included below) which may help with funding the $3,000 tuition but results won’t be known until April 11th. The summer program runs from July 31st to August 10th and flying there will also add to the cost. So far her small crew has baked and delivered several hundred cupcakes and she told me that they can knock out about 100/200 delicious cupcakes each time they fire up the oven. Cupcakes are delivered fresh the next day within a radius that covers areas as far away as Antioch to the North and Mundelein to the South.

In Jenni’s own words:
“I have always wanted to pursue writing, as it has always been a passion of mine throughout my academic career. Journalism seems to be just the right balance of the fast paced, exciting world of communication and genuine enjoyment in a career field I choose. In addition, the location of the conference played a factor, seeing as I am interested in possibly one day attending UC-Berkeley. This conference will give me the ability to get to know the campus and experience life far away from home, an opportunity I have not been presented until now. I am so excited at possibly following my dreams, and I hope I can take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”

Jenni’s scholarship essay:

Most people think of the future and are terrified at what it may hold. But why be afraid of something that possesses so much potential? With the right opportunities, enough determination and acquired skills, one can build a successful future regardless of any obstacles. The key to achieving success is through setting feasible yet high goals. I truly believe that my strong-will, hard work and determination will help me achieve such goals. I also believe that attending the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) for Journalism is a very important step towards achieving my goal of changing the world through my writing. The NSLC offers a variety of workshops that will help increase my academic and leadership potential, which I will use to make an impact in my community. This innovative program offers unique classes that are not offered in my high school curriculum. By attending these classes, I hope to acquire writing skills that will help improve my communication skills. It is important to have the ability to eloquently express one’s thoughts or ideas in order to convey them to others. I plan on building on these skillsets and applying them in both my current and future studies. Besides acquiring sharper writing skills, this program will allow me to explore the world of journalism and experience life at a renowned university. This is an experience that will serve as a foundation on which I can build upon as I pursue my career goal in journalism. In addition to building a foundation for myself, I hope to help other high school students achieve their goals by promoting the NSLC. Up until receiving my invitation to the NSLC, my goal of changing the world through my writing was only a dream. But it became a reality as I dug deeper into the program and realized the opportunities available beyond the walls of my high school. I want to make this a reality for others by raising awareness about the program and be a mentor by sharing my experiences within my community. Furthermore, this program will enhance my leadership skills, which I will use to positively influence my community. Currently, I am Vice President of Student Leadership, an organization that focuses on improving the community through volunteering events. This experience has taught me leadership qualities such as time management, organization, and the ability to adapt to deviations from the original plan. I intend to further develop these skills and obtain new ones at the NSLC. These valuable leadership skills will help me to directly make an impact on community by organizing new events focusing on the community needs, such as a tutoring program for the underserved students and creating a LGBTQ friendly environment within the high school. I believe that the NSLC is a wonderful opportunity that serves as a stepping-stone to help develop my communication and leadership skills. Although hard work will pay off, it is opportunities that make it possible to achieve success. To me, the NSLC is that opportunity.

Getting started on latest cupcake orders
Getting started on the latest cupcake orders
Cupcakes 4-295 Jenni Nguyen3-295
Jenni Nguyen 2-295 Jenni Nguyen4-295
Tommy Nguyen-295 Cupcakes 3-295


Finished cupcakes ready for delivery
Finished cupcakes ready for delivery

Here’s how you can help this young entrepreneur accomplish her dream of attending the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) for Journalism this summer with a goal of becoming a journalist.

Cupcake flier
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One Comment

  • Nga

    I am very proud of the hard work and creativity Jenni has put into this project! My favorite story I’d like to share as feedback we received after this weekend’s delivery was that about 10 minutes after delivering 6 cupcakes to her friend, Jenni had texted her to see what she thinks. Her reply was, “I only have one left”!! LOL

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