November 01, 2015

Celebrating first-time author Jenny Nguyen

Nov. 1 is National Author’s Day, and at the Tiger Woods Foundation, talented writers have come through our doors and developed their gift of expression. In honor of this special day, meet a talented Tiger Woods Foundation scholar and first-time author, Jenny Nguyen.

Jenny Nguyen is passionate about cooking, writing and the great outdoors. She is an alumna of the Earl Woods Scholarship Program who studied American Literature and Culture at UCLA. Then she took her talents to Nebraska where she is a regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine and a communications specialist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Jenny interned with the foundation during college as she refined her writing skills, preparing for her future with the support of the scholarship program. Jenny credits her experience at the foundation with the success she has found today.

“I had the opportunity to attend and write blogs at golf tournaments and meet professionals in the media,” Jenny said. “[This] was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Earl Woods Scholar Jenny Nguyen poses with her dog during a hunt

Jenny had to overcome a major language barrier not only to excel in her writing talents, but also to communicate in general. Jenny’s pursuit of writing began at a young age and has navigated her into a world of creativity.

“Writing allows me to communicate,” Jenny said. “It’s obvious, but English was not my first language. I still remember not being able to speak English, and there’s a memory from kindergarten that is still burned in my mind. A boy was picking on me in class. I fought back, and we made such a ruckus that the teacher stopped everything to berate the both of us. The boy, speaking perfect English, explained his story. When it was my turn, I couldn’t make the words, so I desperately blurted out something in Vietnamese, knowing that no one would understand me. And no one did. Subconsciously, I think I made a vow to myself to become a better speaker, reader and writer. So I read a lot. I wrote a lot. Everything clicked in high school when I became the editor of Bolsa Grande’s newspaper in Garden Grove during my senior year. I graduated with a degree in American Literature and Culture at UCLA four years later. And I’m still writing today. Writing has brought me a long way. It’s a gift that I will continue to cultivate.”

Hunting for Food book by Jenny Nguyen and Rick Wheatley

In July 2015, Jenny and her work partner had their first cookbook published, along with a website, by F+W Media on hunting and preparing wild game, titled Hunting for Food: Guide to Harvesting, Field Dressing and Cooking Wild Game, available on, which includes delicious recipes and tips for the hunters and non-hunters alike. 

Jenny describes how it feels to be a published author.

“It feels rewarding,” Jenny said. “For most writers, the ultimate goal is to be published, and since graduating high school, events fell into place like they were meant to be. When I decided to become a writer in college, I knew it would be hard, but I took a methodical approach to it. And I learned that it’s very difficult to become a successful writer if you don’t find your niche. It’s one thing to be a good writer, but an entirely different thing to be able to pay your bills doing it. I was very fortunate to have been able to find my place in outdoor writing, photography and cooking early in my career. Once I found what I wanted to write about, I worked hard at becoming an expert, enough to get others to become interested in reading my stuff. What got me started was a simple blog, where I wrote about my new adventures in hunting and cooking wild game. I also did most of the photography on my website. I kept at it. Becoming a full-time writer and photographer for NEBRASKAland Magazine was my first big break. A year later, while still continuing my blog, a publishing company approached my boyfriend and me and asked us to write a book. It was a dream come true. I get to play around outside and in the kitchen, and I get paid for it. It doesn’t get any better. I am very thankful.”

A few pages from the book Hunting for Food

Today, we celebrate Jenny and authors around the globe who have overcome great odds to make their dreams a reality and share their talents with the world.

Learn how you can help students like Jenny achieve their dreams.