New Work: Educational Partnerships for Success

Dr. Joy Garcia Tiên is my life-long mentor. I got to know Dr. Tiên through the Upward Bound program way back when I was in seventh or eighth grade. Upward Bound was the pre-college program that gave kids from low-income families an opportunity to pursue a higher education. By providing summer college courses, campus visitations, and job shadows with professionals in different fields, the Upward Bound program prepared children with limited access to educational resources a path to a better future. Through her kindness, compassion, and mentorship, Dr. Tiên had played an essential role in getting many of us, particularly Vietnamese-American children of immigrants, to where we are today.

Two weeks ago, I met up with Dr. Tiên for the first time in over twenty years. Even though we haven’t met face to face, Dr. Tiên has always been in contact to see how I was doing. She understood what it was like losing a mother and offered advice to help me pull through the darkest days of my life. When we were catching up about the good old time, in a windy evening at my mother’s resting place, Dr. Tiên mentioned that she is working on her own coaching and consulting endeavor called Educational Partnerships for Success. Helping kids to success has always been her passion for over 30 years; therefore, this project is near and dear to her heart. I offered to help with her website. Dr. Tiên only had two requirements: the ability to update the content herself and a blog component to share her writing. To meet her needs, WordPress is the obvious solution.

Since Dr. Tiên already purchased the domain name, we just needed to get the hosting through the same company.’s hosting package offers SSL certificate and WordPress installation with a click of a button. I hope these features become standards for many hosting companies if they don’t have them already. Once WordPress was installed, I activated its Twenty Ninety theme. This theme offered a clean, simple design that would work well for Dr. Tiên’s website. To make it personal, I created a child theme to add the logo at the top, change the colors to match the branding, and reset the typography. For headings, I chose Fraunces, designed by Phaedra Charles and Flavia Zimbardi, for its playfulness. For body text, I chose Rosario, designed by Héctor Gatti, for its academic friendliness. The two typefaces complement each other.

With the new Gutenberg editor inside WordPress, this theme gave me the flexibility to create different editorial elements through UI components as well as typographical hierarchies. It seemed to be the way to take advantage of WordPress’s Gutenberg. The days of creating a WordPress theme from scratch are long gone for me. I just needed to create the shell and rely on Gutenberg’s blocks to do the rest.

With the website up and running, I hope it will play a small role in getting Dr. Tiên started. She had already put together some wonderful STEM programs for the kids. I can’t wait to get my boys to enroll once the pandemic is under control. With her PhD in math, Dr. Tiên is also passionate about helping students who struggled with math to build more confidence in themselves.

I believe in Educational Partnerships for Success because Dr. Tiên had tutored, mentored, and guided me into the right direction. I am grateful for her support and her continuous work to help underserved kids, like myself and my friends were, to expand their potentials, reach their goals, and pursue their dreams.

Bonjour Vietnam