(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – Annie (Phuong) Tran is living her dream at Kent State University at Tuscarawas. An engineering technology student, Annie and her mother, Nhung Quan, are from Vietnam and have been in the states for the past five years.
While completing an internship with the Kent State Tuscarawas Makerspace in the Academic Learning Commons for her associate degree in computer science at Columbus State last year, Tran soon realized that she had found a new home and transferred to the Tuscarawas Campus.
“We are so excited to have Annie transfer to the Tuscarawas Campus,” said Cherie Bronkar, Kent State Tuscarawas library director. “I met Annie at the nail salon where she was working to pay for school. We started talking about her schooling at Columbus State and she mentioned that she was looking for an internship to complete her associate degree. I told her about our Makerspace and that I’d be happy to offer her an internship. By the time Annie finished the internship, she’d made up her mind to stay with us.”
Bronkar when on to say that sometimes things just fall into place when you least expect it. While the chance encounter provided Tran with new opportunities, it also provided a great asset to the campus and the library. Instead of interning, Tran is now a student worker for the library.
“I’m living my dream now, so it’s alright! I go to school, work in the library and keep busy. I really love it here!” said Tran. “There is a lot to learn in the library – you can be inspired, be creative and have a lot of ideas.”
Tran also finds the library a perfect place to increase English-speaking skills. She compares learning a different language to traveling in a magical world, one she always wants to explore.
“For me, Kent State Tuscarawas is that magical world, and I found myself here,” she said. “I love to work and study here, even though it takes me two and a half hours every day to commute.”
However, Tran doesn’t make the commute alone. Her mother comes along for the ride and to immerse herself in American language and culture. While spending time in the library, Quan is soaking up the atmosphere and learning to speak English.
“An added bonus is Annie’s mother being a regular in the library,” said Bronkar. “We all enjoy seeing her smiling face when we enter the library. Students, faculty and staff all enjoy greeting Mrs. Quan each morning.”
Tran, a junior, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology with a 2+2 Integrated Engineering Technology concentration. She enjoys research and plans to be an entrepreneur, developing new products—she’s especially interested in the area of children’s toys.
“Annie is a delightful student who is very meticulous and studious,” said Paul Dykshoorn, director of engineering technology and one of Tran’s instructors. “Last week, although she had her naturalization test, she still made it to class to hear a guest speaker discuss entrepreneurship. When it was announced that she was recently naturalized, the class applauded.”
Tran and her mother both recently passed their naturalization tests, qualifying them to become U.S. citizens.
“We are both exploring a new world,” said Tran.