Success Stories

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Jay Nguyen shown with an insulin pump duirng a medical workshop

Jay Nguyen

I am currently finishing my first year of medical school at the LMU-DCOM in the Harrogate/Cumberland Gap, TN area. I plan to pursue a career in either Emergency Medicine, Nephrology or Hospital Administration after graduation in 2022.

Participating in ThinkAchieve has helped me fully appreciate the benefits of pursuing learning opportunities outside of the the traditional classroom setting.

During the most recent school year and the upcoming school years, I have been primarily in a classroom setting, but this upcoming summer, I will be pursuing research in preventative medicine, going on a medical mission trip to Mexico and volunteering at camps for children with type 1 diabetes and muscular dystrophy.

Each opportunity will allow me to put what I have learned in the classroom into practice soon rather than later, which I believe to be one of the most important parts of the learning process.


Dr. Allison Quintanilla Plattsmier featured with her family

Dr. Allison Quintanilla Plattsmier

Currently, I am serving as Executive Director of the Jordan Thomas Foundation (we provide prostheses for underserved children through the age of 18), I founded my own nonprofit Close the Loop (collective impact fabric/textile upcycling program) that I'm running with volunteer leadership, and I own my own nonprofit consulting firm where I contract with NAMI Tennessee to run their Ending the Silence Program(recruiting young adults young adults to share their mental health journey with middle and high school students and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health disorders) and Futuro to launch their Career Fast Track program (helping Latinx students land their first job out of college through teaching goal setting, linking them with mentors, resume review, interview prep, and salary negotiation).

ThinkAchieve instilled in me a lust for learning and creative problem solving, eventually leading me to pursue my Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice and conducting my dissertation on age and gender discrimination in the nonprofit sector and how that affects hiring, retention, and upward mobility. It also sparked my interest to pursue a similar program through the Congressional Award where we had to accumulate hours in personal development, physical fitness, expedition/exploration,  and voluntary service eventually leading to my recognition as a 2018 Congressional Gold Medalist, one of the highest awards for youth. ThinkAchieve taught me to be inquisitive. My innovative and creative problem solving as well as my critical reflection skills have been cited frequently be employers as some of my biggest strengths. I was lucky enough to receive my first Executive Director role at 22 and I attribute that to the drive, tenacity, and thirst for knowledge and professional development that I acquired during my time in ThinkAchieve.


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Grace McPherson

Grace lives in Chattanooga, where she worked for CO.LAB, and will begin working with TractManager, a healthcare industry.

"ThinkAchieve helped me by nurturing a growth mindset. I have been able to explore a lot of different types of jobs by not confining myself to my major or my initial beliefs about myself".