Jennifer V. Nguyen

Director of Postsecondary Success

The Bay Area and Hawaiʻi have storied educational institutions that often influence policies and programs beyond their geographic borders. I’m excited to work with Stupski’s institutional partners to advance equity locally and beyond.

Jennifer V. Nguyen (she/her) is the director of postsecondary success at the Stupski Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s grantmaking strategies to ensure more students have more say in and complete their postsecondary journeys in the Bay Area and Hawaiʻi. Jen is dedicated to changing norms in philanthropy and advocates to change the way philanthropy gives to postsecondary initiatives—from relinquishing control in impact metrics to articulating a vision of a world without institutional philanthropy.

Grantmaking Highlights

In collaboration with her team—Malila Becton-Consuegra, Cheri Souza, and Maile Boggeln—Jen is focused on integrating students in decision-making and collaborating with the funder community in the Bay Area and Hawaiʻi. Jen joined the Stupski Foundation in 2019. She and her team then launched a nearly $13 million initiative to support more tailored, holistic, and proactive advising to increase student persistence and graduation rates and address equity gaps at California State University, East Bay and San Francisco State University. She also led a nearly $10 million grant program to invest in community-based organizations that partner with the Oakland Unified School District and the San Francisco Unified School District to bolster academic and financial aid advising. Keenly aware of the critical but often undervalued role advisors and academic staff play in advancing student success, Jen and her team also led a major financial investment in advisor mental health and wellness through NACADA Region 9. She regularly speaks and writes about the importance of investing philanthropic capital in human capital to support the sustainability of the advising profession. 

Early Career in Education

Jen brings over 10 years of experience working with students at every level of the education system. Previously, she served as the director of the Student Center for Academic Achievement (SCAA)—a comprehensive academic support and tutoring center—at California State University, East Bay. She led a team of more than 100 students in providing peer-to-peer support services. Under her tenure, the center grew to more than 20,000 peer-led interactions per academic year—highlighting the impact of student-centered, student-led, and student-designed programming in education.

Jen also served as principal researcher for the First Generation Student Success Project—a foundational study comparing the experiences of first-generation students at Georgetown and Harvard universities. The study has since influenced policy and programmatic practices for first-generation students at colleges nationwide. Jen began her career in education as a college counselor at Jefferson High School in Daly City, California. She is a proud first-generation college student.

Academics, Affiliations & Writing

Along with her work at the Stupski Foundation, Jen is a writer and artist. The Vermont Studio Center, Macondo, Lambda Literary, and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won the 2014 American Fiction Award. In her spare time, she serves on the board of the Center of Asian American Media and is a member of The Ruby, an arts and letters-focused community in San Francisco for nonbinary and women-identified creatives.

A proud native Houstonian, she holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Georgetown University, where she was the winner of the Bernard M. Wagner Medal for Excellence in Writing. She is currently based in Oakland, California, where she enjoys exploring the Bay Area with her partner and rescue pitbull, Spice.

As funders, we must invest our financial capital in human capital.

Jen’s Insights

  • Break Fake Rules Episode 2 - Jennifer Nguyen
  • Supporting Postsecondary Success in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Supporting Academic Advisor Wellness - NACADA 2023 Request for Proposals
  • Ep. 77 - Money as Medicine in Advisor Wellness?

Change Can’t Wait Blog

Hear more from Jennifer Nguyen about Stupski’s postsecondary success grantmaking and the importance of investing philanthropic capital in human capital on our blog.