Tiger Tuesday: a Q&A with Supitha “Mook” Phawapoothanon, ’20

By Megan Bradshaw on May 1, 2017

This article is part of an occasional series introducing you to our Tigers.

Supitha “Mook” Phawapoothanon '20, standing with the Thai national flag on the International Walkway.
Supitha “Mook” Phawapoothanon '20, standing with the Thai national flag on the International Walkway.

Supitha “Mook” Phawapoothanon, ’20, international studies and political science

 
Tell me about where you’re from.

I’m from Bangkok, Thailand. I was born in a different city and then I moved to a different city and then I moved to Bangkok. It’s really hot and the food is really good. Since it’s my home country, it feels more homey. I came here [to the U.S.] when I was 13. The first half of my childhood was in Thailand, but I grew up here and developed my identity. It was a big adjustment coming from Thailand where I don’t have to worry about who I am because I know people around me are kind of similar to me. We share similar background, ancestors, culture and traditions.

Tell me about your family.

My mom and my biological dad split when I was little. Both of them didn’t get the education they wanted because of the difficulties their families were going through. I stayed with my mom and my brother stayed with my dad. My mom met this really awesome man and they married. Currently they run a fish export business. They live in Thailand; I came here by myself to live with my grandma and aunt.

What made you choose Towson University?

I was thinking about going home to Thailand [for college] but my grandmom was like, “I only have two grandchildren and one of them is already here, so why not try to pursue the best education you can get since you’re already here?” I tried really hard during my college application, and I got scholarships. My grandmom really wanted to see me succeed and try her best to give me the best I can have. Personally, I like the working environment in the United States more. I like the vibe I get from people here, the confidence they have. It fits my personality.

What do you do in your free time?

I work a lot. I try to keep myself busy so when I go home I can just sleep. I like to read autobiographies and speeches from different eras. Right now I’m reading a collection of speeches from the 20th century. It’s so interesting. I get to read Hitler’s speech and then compare it to Winston Churchill’s and also Gandhi’s speech compared to Margaret Thatcher. I get to put myself in their situations and compare the history.

What is your favorite class or professor?

It was English for International Students. The professor was Jennifer Moss-Smith. She helped me so much to express myself and be vocal about my opinion but at the same time be conscious of people around me and how I converse my ideas to make sure it doesn’t hurt other people. She created this safe environment in the class for me to be my opinionated self but at the same time to be very conscious about my surroundings. That was a really, really good class I had last semester. 

What made you want to work in Civic Engagement?

To be honest I was just scrolling through open positions at Hire@TU and I didn’t even know what office Civic Engagement was! I’m a strength builder. It fits my personality. I like to talk to people. I like to use my knowledge to help them become better at what they’re doing. I do presentations and workshops. It’s my first year, so I work with student organizations, mostly to Greek clubs. I also work in student admissions. I work in the phone center. I’m still a newbie in training. I’m also in the freshman council in the SGA and am the diversity chair. I work closely with advocating the importance of diversity on our campus.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to work in an NGO and focus on human rights and human trafficking. It has been my interest for a while now. Because in Thailand…even though it’s a beautiful country, awesome food, I love my country, but we still have a human trafficking problem. It just hurt me so much to know that this is happening where I grew up. This is happening to my people. I have this opportunity to be here and get this education. I feel like I should be giving back in some way and this is how I can do it. Not just in Thailand and Asia but throughout the world. I feel like I’m so fortunate, and that’s what keeps me going to finish school as soon as possible to help these problems.

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