Sieu Tran, a double major in mathematics and biological sciences, has been named the Virginia Tech College of Science Outstanding Senior.
“Sieu truly embodies the mission of Virginia Tech: teaching, research and outreach,” said Gary Long, associate dean for undergraduate studies with the College of Science. “Sieu is our Outstanding Student because has chosen to place himself where he can lift up people in need, rather than himself. To me, he is a Hokie extraordinaire.”
A member of the Virginia Tech Honors College, Tran will graduate in May with a degree in mathematics from the Department of Mathematics, and a degree in microbiology from the Department of Biological Sciences. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in integrated mathematics and application of models of genomics in medicine. Afterward, the Hampton, Virginia, resident said he wants to conduct multidisciplinary research in immunology while mentoring students at a university level.
“To achieve these goals, I have carved a unique educational path for my undergraduate years by constantly, consistently, and insistently seeking out research and community service opportunities to grow intellectually and personally,” Tran said in 2016, after receiving his Goldwater Scholarship.
During his time as a student, Tran has delved deeply into undergraduate research, working on multiple projects with faculty in Blacksburg and abroad. He worked in the lab of Nanda Nanthakumar, associate professor of biomedical sciences and pathobiology at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. There, Tran looked at the effects of prebiotics and probiotics on mucosal infections.
“The dedication with which Mr. Tran carried out these experiments was extremely impressive. His effort was way beyond the level I was expecting from an undergraduate student,” said Nanthakumar.
Tran also studied abroad at England’s University of Kent in spring 2015, focusing on a mathematical research project. Upon his return, Tran returned continued the project under the guidance of Daniel Orr, assistant professor of mathematics. “His eagerness and initiative are truly exceptional, easily within the top 2 percent of students I have taught at Virginia Tech,” said Orr.
Tran’s community volunteer work was equally exceptional. He cooked meals for the homeless thru Campus Kitchen, packed lunches for disadvantaged children with Micah’s Backpack, participated in Radford-Fairlawn Daily Bread Delivery, and worked with Alzheimer patients at a local care facility. “Volunteering has been an indispensable part of my life,” said the Hampton, Virginia, resident.
“Coming from an underprivileged immigrant family, I hope my accomplishment is a proof to the underserved and underrepresented that anything can be achieved with hard work, hard-won confidence, and passion,” Tran said on being named the Outstanding Student by the College of Science.
After continuing his education Tran said he will “continue exploring myself and the world through traveling, research, and serving my community.”
Written by Jessie Rogers, of Suffolk, Virginia, a junior in the Department of English, part of the College Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.