Q&A with biochemistry student Long Nguyen

Sep 3, 2021

Long Nguyen in a lab.

Biochemistry student Long Nguyen once borrowed his friend’s cap and gown and tricked his mom into thinking he graduated early. Long came to WSU from Vietnam, and when he finishes up his education he wouldn’t mind taking what he’s learned back to his home country. “I want to use the knowledge that I gained in the U.S. to hopefully start up a business that is meaningful to me,” Long said.

Where are you from and where did you graduate high school?
I am from Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), Vietnam, and I am majoring in biochemistry and working on a minor in computer science.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
In my free time, I go swimming at UREC or play guitar. My mom taught me to swim. When I was 7, she took me to the swimming pool every weekend and I really enjoyed it. As I get older, I keep that habit as both a relaxing method and a way to exercise.

I also just started learning to play guitar. One of my friends graduated and gave me his guitar. I thought to myself instead of letting the guitar sit in the corner of my room as a decoration, I should learn how to play it so that I would not waste my friend’s gift. The experience turned out to be awesome, more than what I expected. I can play my favorite songs on my own now, including part of “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 and “Sao Cung Duoc” by Binz, a Vietnamese artist.

What’s your favorite thing about WSU?
My favorite thing about WSU is the school spirit. I guess being in such a small community helps everyone bond to each other more tightly. It is very easy for me to make friends because other students are very friendly and willing to help. Go Cougs!

What’s your favorite course you’ve taken at WSU?
My favorite courses are Molecular Biosciences (MBioS) 413 and 414, taught by Dr. Erika Offerdahl and Dr. Jessie Arneson. They taught those courses in such an innovative way. They broke the class into small groups, 4-5 students each, and we stuck with each other for the whole semester. Students took individual reading assignment quizzes before lectures. And then when we came to class, the whole group would get those same quizzes, and the person that got correct answers would explain the concepts to other students. In addition, there were in-class group activities that aimed for developing group discussion and problem solving. By the end of the semester, we grew so much as a group and the concepts were still in my head.

What’s a unique fun fact about you?
I once borrowed my friend’s cap and gown and his university degree during his graduate photoshoot to take my graduation pictures at the end of my junior year. I did that just for fun, but I successfully tricked my mom into believing that I had graduated.

What are your career goals? 
My aim is to find a job that will combine both my molecular bioscience and my computer science knowledge. At the moment, I want to take a break from academia to explore what a job in the industry looks like and see what school hasn’t taught me yet. I might pursue a master’s degree and go back to Vietnam. I want to use the knowledge that I gained in the U.S. to hopefully start up a business that is meaningful to me.

What’s one of your favorite things?
Aromaticity. When you go to shopping malls with me and we get lost, you can always find me in one of the perfume or cologne stores.

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