Loan was placed in the foster care system at the age of 14. At the time she attended an all-girls boarding school, and mainly resided in a dormitory during her time in care. She was in two different foster homes during school vacations until the age of 18. Currently Loan is enrolled at Gettysburg College, where she lives in a dorm, having aged out of the system.

Loan says of her placements, "On the one hand, I was in a new environment, where I was trying to cope with harder classes and piles on top of piles of homework. On the other hand, I was trying to deal with the feeling that my world, as I knew it, was falling apart and my family was self-destructing." Loan was able to overcome these obstacles with the help from academic mentors and also from school councilors. She would not have received this help had she not reached out and asked. "By recognizing that I was not able to do everything by myself, I improved my grades and was able to succeed in my classes."

Loan has served as a Relay for Life Team Captain. She participated in the Gettysburg College Spring 2009 Immersion Project, where she traveled to Washington DC and met with different organizations affiliated with the foster care system in order to learn more about the foster care system and how to improve the system.

"I enjoy losing myself in other cultures through food, languages, travel, and education. As a self-taught amateur chef with limited cooking abilities, I like the adventure of experimenting with different recipes and dishes. Through my experience with cooking I have learned a lot of valuable life lessons. For example, from my many failed attempts to create various dishes, I am able to improve my skills and learn from my mistakes. Due to my lack of experience, I have learned to be patient with not only other people, but myself as well. Furthermore, my love for sampling new food from other cultures has provided me with a sense of deep appreciation for people's differences."

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2009 Outstanding Young Leaders