Thy Tran: Knowing her worth

As a child growing up in Danang City in central Vietnam, Thy Tran dreamed of studying abroad.

“I have always known there are a lot of things in the world that I can learn, and studying abroad can help me achieve my learning possibilities,” she said.

Tran followed her dreams to Seattle, where she earned an associate’s degree at Seattle Central College and then transferred to SPU. She will graduate after Autumn Quarter 2022 with a degree in information systems.

The pandemic and finances make it difficult for Tran to visit her faraway parents and two younger sisters, but the family’s weekly video chats buoy her strength and motivation.

“Both of my parents are college graduates, and they believe in the importance of education,” she said. “Although it’s really expensive to study abroad, my parents try their best to financially support me in college.

“Coming from a culture where gender inequality is a great problem and most people there believe women should not work in STEM careers, I am grateful for my parents’ support,” Tran said.

To minimize her college debt, Tran takes a high credit load and works two jobs at SPU as a peer career advisor at the Center for Career and Calling, and as a student web designer in University Communications.

“The counselors and staff at the CCC have been incredibly supportive of my career and personal life,” said Tran, who received their assistance as she discovered her hoped-for career of data analytics, which marries her love of technology, math, and visual communication. She earned a Google data analytics certificate last summer.

Tran is a volunteer web designer for the Minority Veterans of America and an officer for SPU’s Asian American Student Association. In the latter role, she helped coordinate a well-attended Lunar New Year celebration on campus in February.

“It was the first time I saw so many Vietnamese and other Asian students at SPU,” Thy said. “It has always been hard for international students like me around Lunar New Year, as it’s the biggest celebration in Asia when we gather with our family.”

Tran said she could not attend SPU without the generous financial aid she’s received, including the Jay Morgensen scholarship, which provides tuition assistance for female undergraduates from China or Southeast Asia. She recently met Morgensen and thanked him for his investment in her studies.

“Although my family is amazing and supportive, I’ve known a lot of girls in Southeast Asia who are unable to go to school because their parents believe all they need is a good husband,” she said. “Jay’s generosity gives me courage and boosts my self-confidence. I’m grateful he sees girls like me and believes in our worth.”

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