Interview with Gabriela Vo, Class of 2021


Gabriela Vo



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Oral history interview with Illinois State University alum Gabriela Vo, Class of 2021. The interview was conducted by Milner Library intern Paige Malloy on July 6, 2023.

Vo recounts that she grew up in Vietnam and moved to the United States in 2015 to attend college. She earned a bachelor’s degree University of Wisconsin – Superior, then elected to pursue a master’s degree through ISU’s Clinical-Counseling Psychology program. During undergrad she found community and support through the Gender Equity Resource Center and UWS Alliance, but had a hard time connecting with queer students at ISU. However, she says she felt supported in her identity as an international student and queer woman of color at ISU. She shares a memorable experience of standing up to a speaker on campus who was spreading hateful messages against LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Vo particularly appreciated the warm and supportive environment of International Student Support Services and the Clinical-Counseling Psychology program, where she received personal attention from faculty members. Her involvement in the Junior Varsity League of Legends Esports team also provided her with a sense of community and relaxation outside of academics.

Following graduation, Vo pursued a career in mental health, initially at Chestnut Health System before transitioning to a role as a quality assurance clinician for the 988 Crisis and Suicide Lifeline with PATH. Reflecting on her time at ISU, Vo expresses satisfaction with her accomplishments but also wishes that she had paced herself better.

Interview Date



  • Introduction; Vo’s background and undergraduate experience: 00:00-03:37
  • Transitioning to ISU: 03:37-05:19
  • Clinical-Counseling Psychology program: 05:19-08:07
  • Working as a teaching assistant: 08:07-09:29
  • Junior Varsity League of Legends Esports team; Dungeons & Dragons group: 09:29-14:04
  • Encounter with hateful speaker on the quad: 14:04-17:33; 26:30-28:30
  • Meaningful people in Vo’s life while a student: 17:33-20:23
  • Career after graduation; International Student Support Services: 20:23-23:14
  • Involvement with ISU and Bloomington-Normal community as an alum: 23:14-25:41
  • Feeling support for her identities: 25:41-26:30
  • Regrets about ISU experience: 28:30-29:48
  • Proudest accomplishments at ISU; conclusion: 29:48-31:08

Interview with Gabriela Vo, Class of 2021