Recently, we had the chance to chat with Mr. Nguyen Huu Cuong, a Fulbright parent of two students – Nguyen Vu Tung Lam and Nguyen Thi Kim Anh. He shared some valuable insights from the perspective of a caring parent about his offspring’s future.
Mr. Nguyen Huu Cuong, a traditional medicine doctor from Hai Phong, is the proud father of two Fulbright students. Nguyen Vu Tung Lam, a graduate from the Class of 2023, recently earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a minor in History. He’s now employed at NCT Corp, a company known for developing technology products for the youth, most notably NhacCuaTui.com. His younger sister, Nguyen Thi Kim Anh, is currently in her third year at Fulbright, majoring in Social Studies and minoring in Art and Media Studies.
In a chat with Fulbright, Mr. Huu Cuong shared his approach for selecting an educational environment for his children. He also discussed the skills he believes are essential in today’s labor market, from his perspective as both a doctor and a small business owner.
Hello Mr. Huu Cuong, a Fulbright parent. Can you share your criteria for choosing a university for Tung Lam and Kim Anh?
Despite numerous university options, I directed my children towards a U.S. Liberal Arts Education. I’ve researched this model extensively and believe it’s an advanced training method globally.
Liberal Arts encourages students to explore their strengths and weaknesses and pursue a major after learning about different fields. Instead of training students for a specific profession, Liberal Arts education at Fulbright allows them to explore their interests and develop as proud independent individuals. This approach is critical in today’s changing era, where young people must be open and confident in adapting to changes.
As a Fulbright parent, what are your thoughts on Tung Lam and Kim Anh’s journey since joining Fulbright?
I believe my children have truly discovered themselves and become good citizens for the country. They’ve understood their strengths and talents and received considerable support from the school to nurture those strengths. They’ve become experts in their chosen fields. Fulbright has helped my children answer existential questions like “Who am I?” and “What is my role in society?”
Additionally, they’ve developed as socially-minded individuals. They’re honest, kind, and responsible citizens. I believe Tung Lam and Kim Anh possess the qualities of global citizens, yet retain their Vietnamese roots. This balance allows them to thrive in both the domestic market and abroad.
How do you feel about the learning journey at Fulbright, where Tung Lam and Kim Anh started by exploring themselves with five core courses spanning many fields?
Before university, Tung Lam and Kim Anh were good students in high school. However, I noticed they lacked self-confidence. Maybe it’s because the traditional study curriculum makes everyone look the same. They only knew how to solve problems in taught ways, and their unique abilities were not developed.
They also actively participated in extracurricular activities to hone personal skills. Tung Lam organized numerous social activities, including SEALNet, contributing to the development of a young Southeast Asian leaders network. Kim Anh founded the Debate Club at Tran Phu Gifted High School (Hai Phong). She also organized community-building activities for Kpop fans.
However, I believe they can be much more than that. Since they joined Fulbright, I’ve noticed that my children are more confident and can view problems from a wider perspective. They know how to ask important questions and find their own ways to answer them.
In today’s rapidly changing society, focusing on a single field can lead to stagnation. Liberal arts education has helped my children develop lifelong learning skills. Even with expert knowledge in a specific field, they’re open to learning new things. They’re confident and up-to-date with societal changes. Studying two majors at Fulbright, I believe they can work in various fields, not limited to any specific profession.
Before enrolling at Fulbright, Tung Lam and Kim Anh explored many overseas study options. Tung Lam had an SAT certificate, and Kim Anh received a full scholarship from a prestigious university in Shanghai. Why did they still choose Fulbright?
I’ve seen many young people study abroad after high school. Upon returning, they struggle to reintegrate into the domestic market. Although they can secure a job and earn a living, they don’t fully understand the local culture and history, making it hard to work with Vietnamese people. They also struggle to adapt to local laws, work methods, and unique cultural aspects.
I believe to excel in a job, one must understand the history of its locality. Tung Lam and Kim Anh, like other Fulbright students, have a global perspective but also deeply understand Vietnamese problem-solving methods. They are truly global citizens and proud Vietnamese.
Thank you for sharing your valuable insights from a Fulbright parent, Mr. Huu Cuong. We wish you and your family good health!
Recently, Fulbright University Vietnam’s Career Services team took a giant leap in bridging the gap between academia and industry with the “Academia Talk: STEM Majors”. This event, part of the renowned Academia Talk series, saw the participation of 71 undergraduate students, eager to learn more about career paths and graduate programs in STEM. The “Academia Talk: STEM Majors” wasn’t just another academic session but a platform that fostered a closely-knit Fulbright community, sharing experiences, and discussing opportunities in STEM fields.
The event was divided into two enlightening sessions, “Sharing the journey” and “Table rotation”. During “Sharing the journey”, students got the opportunity to hear from their lecturers representing the four major STEM majors– Integrated Sciences, Human-centered Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science. The lecturers shared their motivations, challenges, and advice, painting a holistic picture of the STEM fields for the students.
The “Table rotation” session took the interaction to another level. Students rotated among tables, each representing a specific major in STEM. They posed their specific questions related to their STEM career path, from inquiries about post-graduate programs, career prospects to practical steps for applying to grad schools.
Reflecting on the “Academia Talk: STEM Majors”, it’s evident that this event was more than a simple discussion. It was an avenue for students to engage, learn, and prepare themselves for their future in the STEM field. We’re excited about the potential of these future STEM leaders and are looking forward to hosting more of such influential events in the future.
Văn Khánh Quỳnh, a junior Fulbright student, has impressively won the championship at the GreenHack Challenge. This social innovation competition, organized by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), focuses on addressing environmental issues and climate change using technology. The competition drew participants from students across the globe.
Currently majoring in Art & Media Studies and Human-centered Engineering at Fulbright, Quỳnh entered the competition to gain practical experience in product development and technology, thus, prepare her for new career opportunities in the future.
In the competition, Quỳnh had extraordinary teammates from Hong Kong, Australia, and the Philippines. She enthusiastically shared about the team formation, stating, “Everything came from being open to communication, making friends despite geographical differences.” In the future, Quỳnh and her teammates are determined to build a team from various parts of the world to implement their idea – “CommunIOTy.”
Addressing the challenge of creating a technological innovation to cope with climate change, “CommunIOTy” was born after 48 hours of intense work. It is a platform that integrates IoT technology for monitoring and managing floods, providing early warnings and enhancing response efforts through real-time data. To develop this idea, Quỳnh applied a lot of knowledge acquired at school, particularly the Design Thinking model taught in one of the foundational courses: Design & System Thinking.
The team’s innovation secured the championship and earned them the opportunity to advance to the final round of the HK Techathon+, scheduled to take place in Hong Kong in January 2024.
Let’s congratulate Văn Khánh Quỳnh for her outstanding efforts and creative solutions! And don’t forget to send good wishes to Quỳnh for her journey in bringing sustainable values to the environment ahead.
With Liberal Arts education, Fulbright always encourages students to boldly pursue diverse opportunities and experiences. This approach enhances students’s understanding, self-discovery, and equips them with solid foundations for future career development. Departments at Fulbright have initiated numerous internship programs, providing opportunities for students from various fields to engage and learn in practical environments, including:
- Venture Fellowship Program (VFP)
- Social Impact Fellowship Program (SIFP)
- Industry Lab
All internship programs share a common goal of bringing students closer to businesses, providing opportunities for direct work experience in practical environments early on. Simultaneously, Fulbright always offers training and specialized education programs to equip students with robust knowledge and skills. Advisors and guides closely accompany to support students in each stage, ensuring a comprehensive internship experience.
Venture Fellowship Program
The Venture Fellowship Program (VFP) is an initiative of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at Fulbright. Launched for the first time in April 2020 and organized annually, it is a start-up internship training program, providing learning and working opportunities during the summer internship for Fulbright students at leading technology and start-up companies in Vietnam. VFP has four main objectives:
- Help students orient their career development, build a realistic perspective through projects at real start-ups.
- Provide start-ups with a source of talented students willing to try their hands in various fields.
- Offer a professional training path and support students in each stage before, during, and after the internship.
- Establish and develop a network of partners, mentors, and companions for Fulbright students to enhance self-learning and individual development.
After over three years of operation, the program has brought students to intern at major partner companies both domestically and internationally, including VNG, CoderSchool, EnCapital, Ru9, JobHopin, and ReactorSchool. Particularly, the Venture Fellowship Program 2023 has connected and provided opportunities for students to intern 100% at start-ups in Singapore.
Phùng Hữu Nguyên, a student of the 2022-2026 cohort, interned at Happily Ever After, a start-up network focusing on health training and nurturing happiness. Nguyên was supported by Fulbright and the company for a 20-day internship in Singapore to experience the working environment directly. “I interned at a young start-up, so I not only did the job of a Marketing Intern but also had the opportunity to experience many other positions. Besides the dynamism, I also witnessed the real ‘messy’ of a start-up. From this, I appreciate even more the values that interdisciplinary thinking at Fulbright has brought. After more than a year of studying at Fulbright, I have become familiar with adapting to changes and honing problem-solving skills. This quickly helped me adapt to the working environment at Happily Ever After,” Nguyên shares.
Social Impact Fellows Program
The Social Impact Fellows Program is organized by the Career Services Department, aiming to connect students actively involved in community activities with a network of partner organizations nationwide. In addition to supporting professional development and training, SIFP stands out with a financial support program for students. While financial rewards play a crucial role for students to balance financial factors with their passion, social enterprises often face budget constraints.
To help partners reduce the burden and support students on the path to pursue meaningful values, SIFP has developed a financial support program for students. This financial aid comes from the school’s budget, partners, or a combination of both organizations. This creates conditions for many students to be motivated to explore career opportunities fairly, without placing heavy financial burdens on themselves.
In two years of operation, SIFP has successfully connected 32 students with meaningful organizations and projects, helping students fulfill their mission of community service. At the same time, these are valuable opportunities for students to enrich and accumulate knowledge and experience for themselves.
Trần Thảo Nguyên, a student of the 2020-2024 cohort and a participant in the SIFP program at Fauna & Flora International (Hanoi), enthusiastically shared her experience: “For me, the most valuable experience SIFP brings is the opportunity to immerse myself in a professional working environment on a global scale, learning and applying practical knowledge directly to daily work in Vietnam.”
Thanks to the internship opportunity at Fauna & Flora International, Lê Hoàng Phúc, a student of the 2023 cohort majoring in Computer Science, discovered a “playground” to realize his passion. At Fauna & Flora, Phúc realized that applying technology to nature conservation is a relatively new topic in Vietnam. From there, Hoàng Phúc decided to develop the VNTurtle project – a smart application using computer vision to help users identify 26 endangered native turtle species due to illegal hunting and trading. This project helped Phúc win the TPBank STEM scholarship awarded to Fulbright students with excellent academic achievements to realize highly feasible scientific research projects serving the community.
Industry Lab is also an internship program organized by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at Fulbright University Vietnam. Although it is the “youngest” program having just completed one season, Industry Lab has gained great attention with its innovative model and professional organization process.
This is where students have the opportunity to collaborate and work directly with businesses for 3 weeks or 3 months. Students will solve lingering problems in businesses with innovative and highly applicable solutions for enterprises.
The first Industry Lab welcomed the participation of 11 students, divided into 2 groups. Each group was responsible for a challenge, including:
- Enhancing the customer experience when shopping for and using men’s shirts from May10.
- Developing marketing activities to increase awareness and interest of Generation Z in sustainable fashion products from Uniqlo in Ho Chi Minh City.
Students had the opportunity to meet and work directly with leaders and managers representing May10 and Uniqlo. Students also received enthusiastic support, training, and guidance from industry experts. From there, students were equipped with specific knowledge about the brand and marketing in the fashion industry, along with practical tools to delve into and analyze the market, conduct field research and customer surveys, generate ideas, and test potential solutions to “solve” the challenges set by Uniqlo and May10.
Thiện Toàn, a student of the 2022-2026 cohort, recalled valuable experiences and lessons after participating in Industry Lab for 3 weeks: “Industry Lab has helped me develop quick adaptability. In just 3 weeks, I had to work with new teammates, with little knowledge about Uniqlo or fashion in general, and even less experience in Marketing. All the knowledge and skills I had to constantly improve and adapt to analyze and find ideas with my teammates. In an era where everything is constantly changing, adaptability is a crucial factor. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to experience and learn this lesson early on to prepare for the future.”
Quynh Anh is a junior at Fulbright University Vietnam and a Process Engineer Intern at Intel. Previously, she only wanted to explore social sciences and was intimidated by numbers, leading her to believe that she was best suited for subjects involving reading and essay writing. This perception created certain expectations and labels from those around her.
However, attending Fulbright was a significant turning point for her. The university instilled a belief in limitless potential, encouraging her to fearlessly pursue opportunities, especially those she previously thought were out of reach. Quynh Anh shares, “I was in an environment where my peers were also adventurous and bold. I realized I shouldn’t limit myself to specific fields or labels. This realization gave me the opportunity to explore my interests, make progress, and understand myself better each day. I learned to embrace challenges and failures as lessons for my future growth.”
Having transitioned from someone who believed she was only suited for Social Sciences, Quynh Anh now majors in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Human-centered Engineering at Fulbright. She also began an internship at Intel as a Process Engineer.
Problem-Solving Skills – The Key to Succeeding as a Process Engineer Intern at Intel
Intel is a technology manufacturing powerhouse with large-scale production and daily trend adjustments. Every staff must ensure smooth production processes, efficient machine operation, and optimization to maintain quality while boosting productivity. Issues in the factory are inevitable, making a mindset geared towards continual improvement and proactive solution-finding highly valued at Intel. Recognizing this, Quynh Anh, when applying for the Process Engineer position, armed herself with problem-solving skills—a proficiency she cultivated daily at Fulbright.
Quynh Anh’s problem-solving ability stems from her strategy to master courses that aren’t her strong suit. She recalled her experience in the Electrical Circuits & Design course with Dr. Le Quan, where she started with no knowledge of electrical circuits. Initially, she found the lectures and concepts challenging to grasp. To overcome this, she experimented with various learning methods until she found an approach that worked for her.
Moreover, Fulbright’s extracurricular activities offered Quynh Anh chances to improve her problem-solving skills. A few months ago, she led the choir team for Fulbright’s Commencement. As the team was newly formed with inexperienced members, it was a significant challenge. “I had to devise various strategies to help them sing well and harmonize. I took the initiative to manage the choir, find suitable methods, and rehearse repeatedly for members to learn how to blend their voices. I view every activity, big or small, as a challenge and an opportunity for self-improvement in problem-solving,” shared Quynh Anh.
The Unending Learning Journey in Any Position and Opportunity
Quynh Anh’s primary goal is to seize every learning opportunity. Intel offers her ample chances to both study and work in an environment where engineers are dynamic, experienced, and dedicated to continual improvement. Team members are always eager to share knowledge, support interns, and provide opportunities to participate in projects. Under their guidance, Quynh Anh has not only gained specialized knowledge but also practical experience.
Specifically, Intel houses a large-scale chip assembly plant with an advanced automation system, where Quynh Anh spent a significant portion of her internship. “I seize the opportunity to work at the factory daily to observe and learn about the production process and machinery operation. This helps me develop better systemic thinking. Additionally, I actively attend many company training courses on problem-solving tools and methods, such as the Lean Methodology, A3, and 5M+ E,” Quynh Anh shares about her future plans at Intel.
Music and Engineering? They May Seem Incompatible, But They Harmonize Surprisingly Well
Quynh Anh enjoys producing electronic music and sound design as a hobby. Before studying Human-centered Engineering, she edited music based on intuition and online guidance, without fully understanding each control knob’s function or each button’s significance.
However, after taking engineering classes at Fulbright, Quynh Anh was surprised to discover many similarities between audio engineering terms and concepts from her engineering classes. This newfound knowledge deepened her understanding of concepts like cut-off frequency, low-pass filter, high-pass filter, and their functions.
“Understanding the principles behind each music editing technique will help me design sound more confidently. It provides more creative space and allows me to pursue my hobby with greater passion,” Quynh Anh shared enthusiastically.
– Vo Dang Minh (Class of 2023) as lead role Phong
– Tran Bach Khanh Chi (Class of 2025) as Mai
– Nguyen Dao Anh Khoi (Class of 2024) as Hai
– Ly Trang Tuyen (Class of 2023) as Neighbor
– Composer Vo Linh Dan (Dani) (Class of 2024)
– Camera Operator Hoang The Anh (Class of 2024)
– Key Grip Nguyen Le Tuan Kiet (Class of 2025)
– Make-up Artist Nguyen Nhat Mai (Class of 2025)
Q: How did you all find each other and form a crew for the short film “Saturn” at Fulbright?
Avaline: We all knew each other from taking different courses together. Some of us had collaborated before, which established immense trust and support among the crew. We were all ready to help with each other’s projects, and that supportive atmosphere is what I appreciate most about the Fulbright community.
Sasu Do: Every single person in the production crew is a friend of mine. We just happen to also work in filmmaking. It’s a beautiful thing to me because we understand our work dynamics, strengths, and weaknesses incredibly well. This understanding makes the collaboration a fruitful experience for all of us.
Q: A question for our scriptwriter, Avaline Le: What inspired you to write the screenplay for “Saturn”?
Q: How did your journey with filmmaking begin?
Avaline: My practicum film courses, which were significantly impacted by Covid, taught me a lot about film production theoretically, but I didn’t get the chance to apply that knowledge practically. You can’t make a film just by discussing it. Thus, Sasu and I decided to work on this project, “Saturn”, to gain first-hand experience on a set. The project proved to be the most valuable learning experience we could have had, with our professors and the school providing tremendous support.
Sasu Do: Even though I have previous experience in filmmaking, the advanced practicum courses at Fulbright, which are genre and skill-specific, have been particularly beneficial to me. They provided the foundation and instilled the critical thinking mindset necessary for filmmaking. This also motivated me to self-study many technical skills, including color-grading, and refine them while making the short film “Saturn”. Reflecting on the past 8 months spent producing the film, I can see significant personal growth.
Q: Can you share some memorable moments from the production phase with us?
Avaline: We made the film during finals season. Since it wasn’t a class assignment, its workload was in addition to all our other stressful assignments. I recall both myself and a cast member working hard on our final papers during what was meant to be filming breaks. I’m not sure if that’s fun, but it’s something I greatly appreciate about our crew’s dedication to the project.
Sasu: There’s a scene in the film where we needed the sunset lighting (you’ll identify it once you see the film). To capture this, we had to shoot during the golden hour. I recall us hurriedly packing up at my house after filming some scenes to rush to the location for this specific shot. We managed to arrive just in time to capture some of the most beautiful lighting in the film. I am very proud of the dedication our cast and crew demonstrated for our film.
Q: Based on your experience producing the short film “Saturn”, do you have any advice for first-time or new filmmakers?
Sasu: Always be kind to your editors and colorists whenever possible. In fact, strive to perfect your exposure, lighting, and composition from the start. Achieve this through careful planning during pre-production. An organized shot list and lighting plan, as well as a thorough location scout, go a long way. The most visually stunning shots seen in the short film “Saturn” can be attributed to these elements. If a shot goes wrong, don’t worry – we’re still learning and have room to grow. Take it as a learning experience, figure out what could’ve been done better, and apply that knowledge next time.
Võ Linh Đan (Music Composer):
Draw inspiration from how film or musical theater composers establish recurring musical motifs for characters, themes, and topics, and how they combine them. Use a music writing app to visualize the direction of your melodies.
Recently back from the FIRST® Global Challenge in Singapore in October 2023, where they mentored the Vietnamese robotics team to the the FIRST® Global Winning Alliance Award and Social Media Award, Tran Thao Nguyen is flying off again, this time to Hanoi, where they kick-started FIRST® Tech Challenge’s Vietnam Championship as its Tournament Director. The FIRST® Tech Challenge is a robotics competition for students in grades 7–12. Founded by FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), it is an influential STEM program in the U.S. that has changed lives and inspired generations of engineers, educators, and innovators. With FIRST® Tech Challenge in Vietnam, Nguyen hopes to encourage STEM learning in technology education for local high schoolers. The program will also bring opportunities to Vietnamese students with international scholarship and exchange opportunities. And importantly, the most excellent team (decided by the Inspire Award for comprehensive excellence in robotics design, solidarity, and community impact) will represent Vietnam in the FIRST® Tech Challenge World Championship in the U.S. next April.
Finding the right fit with Fulbright University Vietnam’s liberal arts education model
Known all around campus and beyond as a rising star in Robotics and AI, it might come as a surprise to most that Nguyen majors in Social Studies, with concentration on Political Science and Political Economy at Fulbright. Nguyen also minors in Integrated Sciences, with interests in Neuroscience, Human Physiology and Immunology, and Environmental Sciences.
For Nguyen, Fulbright was “the chance for me to get a world-class education without going abroad, and which is set in Vietnamese contexts so that I can gain more insights about my country, to contribute to its societyin the future.”
Likened their capacity to that of a “Swiss army knife,” Nguyen adds: “I think the multidisciplinary academic background I gained at Fulbright combined with practical experience in fields like STEM education and climate finance has provided me with a robust foundation to engage in impactful work that addresses pressing global issues at their intersection, whether it be governance of emerging technologies, building more sustainable and resilient communities, or resolving complex political and social problems. I landed an internship at Earth Venture Capital, a climate-focused investment fund, without having a finance background thanks to my critical thinking skills, my research ability in multiple industries, and my experience in partnership building. I can be on the edge of innovation thanks to Fulbright’s interdisciplinary and practical academic approach.”
From Bac Lieu to a life around the world
Born and raised in the small province of Bac Lieu, Nguyen has now visited 7 countries outside of Vietnam (Mexico, UAE, Japan, Singapore, US, UK, and the Philippines) on tournament trips, for conferences and workshops events, all of these fully funded.
Some of the proudest moments in Nguyen’s life was when they,despite the high altitude, beat their own running record in Vietnam and conquered Ajusco (4,000m), the highest peak in Mexico City, and later, the Toluca Volcano (4,200m). “I made serious and consistent efforts on my fitness training because I was vegetarian and had low blood pressure, so being able to achieve those milestones immensely changed my mindset about self-tranformation and hard work.” – Nguyen proudly shared.
Mexico was one of the more recent destinations for Nguyen when they won the Effective Altruism Mexico Fellowship 2022 and lived for 2 months in Mexico City for academic, professional, and cultural exchange and helped organize the first Effective Altruism global conference for the Latin America community. Previously, in 2018, Nguyen was a member of Team Vietnam in the FIRST® Global Challenge international competition held in the same city and achieved 12th place out of 161 teams, plus winning a Bronze medal in Engineering design.
In 2019, Nguyen was team captain and led Team Vietnam’s fundraising and communications strategies. Team Vietnam won the Mansa Musa Award for fundraising efforts at FIRST® Global Challenge at Dubai, UAE.
The same year, Nguyen received a full scholarship to Manai Institute of Science and Technology’s 2019 Summer Program which took place from July 28th – August 3rd at Hokkaido University, Japan.
Nguyen’s leadership at FIRST® Global Challenge 2023 in Singapore
This October of 2023, Nguyen was Mentor and Award Judge at the FIRST® Global Challenge in Singapore. Each FIRST® Global Challenge is a whole world united with teams from almost 200 countries. The atmosphere fostered at these competitions is one of collaboration and goodwill, where teams not only competed but worked together and played together without barriers. “It is the closest manifestation of world peace I have ever experienced,” Nguyen proclaimed.
As a Mentor at FIRST® Global Challenge in Singapore, Nguyen was the go-to point for team members when they needed help with subject matter expertise such as engineering, robotic constructions, business management, marketing, or fundraising. Mentors also served as positive examples and advisors, guiding the students to develop qualities like good sportsmanship, respect for the contributions of others, teamwork, and community involvement which are important core values in the FIRST® program.
As Award Judge, Nguyen scored competing teams on technical and non-technical categories, such as Engineering Design, and Innovation in Engineering, International Enthusiasm, International Unity.
Her strong mentorship brought the Vietnam Team won the FIRST® Global Winning Alliance Award and the Social Media Award. “I got to give my team their Gold Medal on stage at the closing ceremony! Nothing can beat that feeling!” – Nguyen reminisced.
Creating impacts at home
Largely inspired by FIRST® Global Challenge, Nguyen organized Vietnam’s first Viet Nam STEAM Challenge in 2020. The competition aimed at cultivating a safe environment to unite talented young innovators of Viet Nam as they work on contemporary global issues. This first event welcomed 24 finalist teams with 200 contestants, 20 mentors and 100 accompanying teachers and audience members.
Viet Nam STEAM Challenge returned in 2021 (due to COVID) with 10 finalist teams in an online format. From 2022, the Viet Nam STEAM Challenge continues to organize community activities, STEAM teaching workshops, and competitions for students across the country from 2022 onwards.
2022 also marked the creation of Viet Nam Robotics Challenge 2022 which is specifically geared towards the robotics competition model with the participation of 41 teams, 400 students, 50 mentors, 100 accompanying teachers and over 200 onsite audience. Contestants, mentors, and volunteers join the Viet Nam Robotics Challenge to connect with people with the same passion and drive for robotics and engineering.
This year, Nguyen is the Tournament Director of the first Vietnam Championship for FIRST® Tech Challenge, one of the oldest and largest competitions in the U.S. with a Kickoff Ceremony on November 7, 2023. The event will officially take place in the spring of 2024.
Leveraging Fulbright’s liberal arts foundation for the future
As they nears the end of their college career at Fulbright, Nguyen reflects on their journey: “The thing I love about Fulbright is how intellectually curious, kind and socially-minded the community is. And I wholeheartedly treasure the academic freedom we are allowed to venture at Fulbright.” Nguyen then added: “Fulbright also provided me with a lot of opportunities. In my first year at Fulbright, I was lucky enough to be one of the first students to benefit from the Social Impact Fellowship Program and went to Hanoi for an internship at Fauna & Flora International. I lived together with other fellows at Hanoi-based NPOs/NGOs such as KOTO and Fargreen, in a tiny house in the alleys of Nghi Tàm Street. The Fulbright peers I met on that trip have remained some of my closest friends. And the spirit of social contribution has also stayed with me ever since.”
Nguyen is keeping their options open for their career in technology education, or any other promising fields after Fulbright. “I can be an entrepreneur, an impact investor, a community builder, researcher at a think tank, or maybe to a graduate program in Political Science or Technology Policy,” says Nguyen. “In the long term, I wish to contribute to creating a safe future with technology. I am passionate about technology’s potential to create a better future, but I also recognize the needs for responsible development given past issues like global inequality, nuclear weapons, and climate change. I want to work in this cause with a focus on lower- and middle- income countries as I think they are underrepresented and vulnerable groups in the global technology race.”
Phan Canh Minh Phuoc is a graduate from the Co-design Cohort in June 2023. During his time at Fulbright, Phuoc achieved much, gained valuable experiences, and made significant contributions. He has helped establishing “Product Development” at Fulbright. Today, we’ve asked Phuoc to share more about his journey.
Fulbright has opened new doors for Phuoc
Securing a job at one of the top three management consulting firms in the world is extremely competitive, especially for college students. Despite the odds, Phuoc outshone numerous candidates during the interview process and secured a position in BCG’s dynamic team with his highly regarded strategic solutions.
Furthermore, an internship at ZaloPay, facilitated by the strategic partnership between Fulbright and VNG Corporation, proved to be a game-changer for Phuoc. This opportunity allowed him to work directly with senior managers.
Just over a year into his career, he became the youngest Product Development team leader at the corporation!
Together with Dr. Le Quan, Phuoc developed first “Product Development” course at Fulbright
After two years in the Product Development team at ZaloPay, Phuoc had the opportunity to collaborate with Professor Le Quan, an Engineering lecturer, to create Fulbright’s inaugural “Product Development” course.
Phuoc views this course as a testament to the school’s commitment to developing an educational program that keeps pace with societal advancements. Despite being relatively new in Vietnam’s tech field, the Product Development department is gaining popularity. Major domestic tech companies have been actively recruiting for this role in recent years. Fulbright has wisely responded to this trend by including this course in its annual curriculum.
During the design process and class activities, Phuoc recognized the benefits of Fulbright’s liberal arts education. To fully develop a feature, students need to cultivate a variety of skills from different fields:
👉 Psychology for understanding user psychology.
👉 Economics/Business for analyzing the feature’s benefits to the owning business.
👉 Visual for designing the feature’s interface.
👉 Human-centered engineering for assessing the feature’s feasibility.
In their first year at Fulbright, students gain these skillsets through core courses. As a result, in a short period, they were able to produce impressive products that received high ratings from large tech companies for their end-of-term projects.
Phuoc’s messages to current and future Fulbright students
Phuoc’s five-year journey was marked by proactiveness, resilience, and a strong sense of community. He embraced a variety of extracurricular activities, from interning at companies to initiating community projects. These experiences not only honed his skills but also allowed him to assist his peers in their post-graduation job search.
Phuoc welcomed challenges with a positive attitude and unwavering perseverance. He learned the most when he pushed his boundaries and held the philosophy, “If one is struggling, one is learning”. This mindset was pivotal in overcoming the various challenges he faced during his university years.
Recognizing the importance of seeking help, Phuoc appreciated the supportive environment at Fulbright. He praised the initiatives introduced by various departments like the Venture Fellowship Program, the tutoring program, and the mental health care program. He found the faculty always ready to engage with students beyond academics. This proactive and supportive environment ensured he never felt alone during his time at Fulbright.
Join us at Fulbright, where our students are not just learners but also contributors to the community. Like Phuoc, you too can make the most of your academic journey within a vibrant and nurturing environment.
Director Trinh Dinh Le Minh’s schedule these days is truly packed. Along with his teaching duties at Fulbright, Le Minh is completing pre-production for his upcoming film project “Ngày xưa có một chuyện tình” (Once upon a love story) scheduled to start shooting this December.
On teaching filmmaking, Le Minh observes: “A film crew is one coherent entity, there is always cooperation between departments which requires the understanding of your colleagues’ responsibilities and on-going tasks. So learning to produce a film, first of all, is to acquire the competence for teamwork and task organization, vital skills that transcend professions”. In addition, filmmaking demands a breadth of knowledge, in both technical and social matters. Technical mastery helps directors create movies with eye-catching angles, colors and layouts. An understanding of society helps them forge intricate story lines that deal with pertinent social topics, creating works with cultural and historical values. Art and Media Studies is an invaluable area of studies for students, whether pursued as a major, minor, or simply out of curiosity.
Lessons on the fundamentals of filmmaking from director Trinh Dinh Le Minh
At Fulbright, director Trinh Dinh Le Minh is the passionate lecturer behind “Introduction to Video and Film Production”, and “Narrative,” plus one new course slated for next semester, “Documentary Filmmaking and Video Journalism”. In “Introduction to Video and Film Production”, students are exposed to basic filmmaking techniques where they learn about screenwriting, imagery, sound engineering, and narrative techniques to weave captivating tales. Through small projects and one final short film, students gain an understanding of the overall process of film production. Along the way, they gain insights on creativity, storytelling, project management, and human resource management, and so on. With “Narrative”, students learn to tell stories (an art form that makes up the tapestry of human history, useful in work and life). Students will use this skill to apply to content production work in various media.
“Studying Art and Media Studies within Fulbright’s liberal arts framework liberates minds to embrace cross-disciplinary thinking, cultivates the skills to apply diverse knowledge, and fosters teamwork and leadership capacity. This opens the door to diverse career opportunities,” Trinh Dinh Le Minh shares.
Director Trinh Dinh Le Minh looks for proactive, curious, and daring learners
Director Trinh Dinh Le Minh notices that Fulbright students are eager and proactive learners. He observes with admiration that Fulbright students “approach reading and viewing with gusto; for them, these activities are prerequisites. I see this as truly commendable in learners.”
Art and Media Studies is the right major for those who are “curious and open to new experience; even when we might not favor these new ideas or experiences; what’s crucial is to retain an openness to receive them, because they will help you collide with the world, ignite inspiration and hone what you really want to follow.” He added: “The idea of “collision” here also includes seeking feedback, standing alongside creative works by other artists, seeing diverse methods, from all this to further grow and refine one’s own art.” These are sensory and intellectual insights that give filmmakers grounds for contemplation and to elevate the caliber of their works.
Liberal arts education as the perfect foundation for students to develop knowledge and skills in the arts and media
For Trinh Dinh Le Minh, Fulbright’s liberal arts education model allows for the study of art and media to benefit students of diverse interests and career paths.
Artists do not confine themselves to studios, but must always be in conversation with life, to gather interdisciplinary knowledge about the economy, society, culture, politics, and beyond, to tap into topics that matter and carry their projects to fruition. The liberal arts education model at Fulbright gives students majoring in Art and Media Studies a rich base of knowledge, along with research skills that are applicable to diverse professional fields. Even when graduates do not go on to work directly with arts, they can find a rewarding career in related industries such as audience studies, marketing, management, or event organization, and so on, where technical art and media knowledge is required. Additionally, students of majors such as Psychology, Sociology, Business Administration, etc., can develop the ability to appreciate aesthetics as well as cultivate a management mindset when taking courses in Art and Media Studies. Indeed, this major opens doors to many applications and possibilities.
Quoting Dr. Pamela Corey, Major Coordinator for Art and Media Studies, director Trịnh Đình Lê Minh delves deeper: “Researchers must ‘keep in mind practical applications’, and producers must ‘have a good grasp of art history, art analysis, and comprehend the artistic currents that have arisen and evolved with time’, in order to birth innovations.”
Director Trịnh Đình Lê Minh makes films to explore life
Personally, Le Minh does not immerse himself in any particular artistic school, but rather draws inspiration from directors who came before him. It’s the allure of the beauty of art in general, and the resonance in the cinematic canvas in particular, that motivates him. Equally crucial for him is the connection between the audience and the filmmaker, where both can find a common ground in their perspectives on life, and resonate to the deft touch of the director’s artistic designs. This is also the philosophy he imparts to students at Fulbright during his lectures.
To Trịnh Đình Lê Minh, no matter how many films he has made, each one is a unique experience: “Directors are on an eternal search. We voyage through worlds and explore characters in our scripts. Our perspectives also change with time; hence even the same story is told anew every time through the lens of evolving experience. That’s what I find fascinating about filmmaking.” In his philosophy, “art stems from life, but it also reflects aspects of life that can’t be expressed otherwise.” Art is a deep dive into the depth of perception, a quest to illuminate life’s nuances and paint vivid portraits of life that might slip through the cracks of simple observation.” Therefore, Lê Minh doesn’t merely make films to “express his perspective on life,” but also to “explore different facets of life that he might have missed had he not embarked upon that cinematic journey.” Heightened emotions blended with fresh looks into life at the point of convergence that gives birth to beautiful and meaningful cinematic creations.
This December, “Ngày xưa có một chuyện tình” will officially start filming. This tale of young love, set in the Vietnam of the 90s and early 2000s, promises to strike a chord with today’s young moviegoers. Eras might have shifted, but the essence of love remains. This movie hopes to connect young viewers with their parents’ generation, whose youth and love was as exuberant and colorful and worthy of celebration as ever there has been youth and love. It’s a story from nearly 30 years ago, but will surely not be outdated.
On October 7, 2023, the Mekong Water Challenge (MWC) 2023 Demo Day was held, marking an incredible three-month journey of incubation. Hosted by the Department of Science and Technology of Can Tho City, and coordinated with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation – Fulbright University Vietnam (CEI), Nuoc Solutions, Research Institute of Climate Change – Can Tho University, and other partners, the MWC brings together innovative ideas aimed at protecting water resources in the Mekong Delta.
A Meaningful Incubation Journey
The MWC program reflects the efforts and commitment of CEI at Fulbright University Vietnam to address social problems and find innovative solutions to protect and manage water resources in the Mekong region.
During the first stage – Project Selection, the program attracted 30 registered teams, or more than 120 interested individuals. This signifies the program’s popularity and the participants’ interest in the topic.
In the second phase – Incubation, 10 exceptional projects were selected for in-depth problem-solving and solution development. The kick-off training webinar series took place over three days, from July 11-13, covering the innovation process, problem understanding, and prototyping & testing. The teams proposed solutions for protecting water resources and received guidance and training through weekly one-on-one meetings with advisors and experts. The MWC 2023 was delighted to have experts from diverse fields like Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Finance and Investment, Agriculture, Environment, Community Development, and Art.
The third stage – Prototyping & Testing was the key phase to actualize ideas.
The three-month journey included over 12 hours of intensive training, 125 hours of one-on-one mentoring, and thousands of hours of fieldwork and product testing. The teams conducted extensive research, created breakthrough solutions, and developed highly applicable projects to solve water resource challenges in the Mekong Delta. The projects in the final round showed high potential for further development and contribution to urgent social issues.
The Competing Teams Made Their Mark with Quality and Unique Projects
The competing teams were divided into two groups: Ideation Track and Solution Track, working in various fields like solving water problems in agriculture, aquaculture, forecasting, and increasing awareness through artistic exhibitions. Ms. Tu Ngo, a jury member of the program, was inspired by the young people’s creative initiatives and practical technological solutions for the water difficulties in the Mekong Delta.
At the Demo Day, a total prize of up to 10,000 USD, sponsored by Nuoc Solutions, was awarded to the top three teams. The Save Water team won the highest prize of 115,000,000 VND with the ecological agriculture project “Mekoxa.” The runner-ups “V-Biotechnology” and “Mekoko” also demonstrated their tireless efforts. Their awards of 69,000,000 VND and 45,000,000 VND will motivate them to continue their projects and make a greater societal impact.
The Mekong Water Challenge is proud to be recognized as an exceptional incubation program aimed at addressing water issues in the Mekong Delta region. As the program concludes, Fulbright is pleased to have provided valuable experiences to the participating teams and looks forward to fostering an ecosystem where young people can contribute to their communities and region.
About the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI)
The CEI, Fulbright University Vietnam’s first center, aims to instill the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation at the heart of the Fulbright culture and training program. CEI offers various entrepreneurship and innovation training events to Vietnam and the region for Fulbright students and other communities, including students, experts, entrepreneurs, and enterprises. CEI plans to expand its collaboration with Fulbright University Vietnam, nurturing and supporting business development to quickly discover solutions for major challenges facing Vietnam and the region.