Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Nuth '23
Both in and out of the classroom, the work Elizabeth Nuth ‘23 has been most passionate about during her time at Bryn Mawr has touched upon her Cambodian American identity. Graduating next week with a bachelor’s in psychology, Elizabeth is proud of the opportunities she has organized to bring Cambodian cultural celebration to campus and is looking forward to helping more people in her community as a professional.
Elizabeth was born and raised in Dallas, Texas after her parents came to the U.S. as refugees. Wanting to dive into her identity and the experiences of those with similar backgrounds, Elizabeth knew coming into Bryn Mawr that she would major in psychology.
“I’ve always been interested in how traumatic experiences impact kids’ development because my parents grew up during a communist regime and a genocide when they were children. I wanted to see how that kind of trauma could impact children and their outcomes for my thesis,” explains Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s thesis, “Investigating the Relationship Between Child Maltreatment and Behavioral Outcomes Across Childhood,” highlights how traumatic experiences in childhood impacts behavior.
“Writing my thesis gave me so much more respect for how my parents were able to provide everything they could despite their trauma. Trauma within the Asian community isn’t talked about a lot but writing my thesis helped open my eyes to the factors that contribute to the secretiveness,” says Elizabeth.
She will be continuing in this area of research at the University of Texas at Dallas where she will begin a general master’s in psychology program. Afterward, she plans to earn her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with the goal of becoming a child psychologist to support children in her hometown.
Outside of the classroom, Elizabeth has been invested in growing cultural celebration and awareness through Bryn Mawr’s Asian Student Association (ASA).
Wanting to get more connected with the Asian community on campus, Elizabeth joined ASA in the spring semester of her first year. She credits the e-board for their creativity in hosting engaging events and is grateful for the spaces of connection they were able to provide despite the difficult circumstances that came with the College’s first remote semester. Feeling inspired to take on a deeper role in ASA’s community building, Elizabeth became the secretary of ASA the following year and then co-president in 2022.
Elizabeth views her work as ASA president to be the biggest legacy she will leave behind at Bryn Mawr. One of the main goals she shared with co-president Becky Yu was to build upon the work of their previous e-board members to make ASA a more inclusive and diverse affinity group. They feel that they’ve been able to accomplish this by organizing trips to Chinatown and the Asian Arts Initiative so that members can engage with Philadelphia's Asian community.
This past fall, Elizabeth also brought a local Cambodian dance group, Cambodian American Girls Empowering, to perform at ASA’s annual culture show.
“We don’t have a lot of Cambodian representation on campus, and I wanted to find a way to introduce the culture to campus. Philly has one of the largest Cambodian refugee populations in the country, so it was great to bring in a local Cambodian dance group for the show,” explains Elizabeth.
The previous spring, the e-board invited a Cambodian American podcaster who spoke on the topic of cultural generational differences. Although the speaker talked about her specific experience as a Cambodian American and the disconnect with her immigrant father, Elizabeth is happy that many in the audience were able to relate to her story.
“I hope that ASA continues to grow and be welcoming of all parts of the AAPI community, particularly the AAPI community within the Philadelphia area. I’m so grateful to Bryn Mawr for the friends and mentors I’ve gained and I’m excited to continue connecting my identity with my studies in psychology after Bryn Mawr.”