Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2022
Richard Duc Thuan Khang Nguyen
Richard Duc Thuan Khang Nguyen has always been intrigued about how things are made. For that reason, he decided to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry.
He chose to come to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University because of the growing number of manufacturing companies expanding into the Phoenix metropolitan area and the possibilities that holds.
“I am a firm believer in the power of manufacturing and the future it holds not only for me, but for the betterment of America,” Nguyen says.
Nguyen is especially interested in all the new technologies being implemented in manufacturing, including collaborative robots called “cobots.” He has interned in Senior Lecturer Jerry Gintz’s laboratory, documenting a process for using a cobot with a computer numerical controlled mill, or a CNC mill, to automate manufacturing work in machine tending.
Principle Lecturer Sharon Lewis is another faculty member who has helped Nguyen grow as a student and has taught many of his classes, which broadened his view of what manufacturing engineering is, especially concerning the less technical human side and the skills involved.
Though not all projects go as expected, Nguyen finds engineering fun because it allows him to make ideas into reality — especially with the access to all the equipment available to students on the ASU Polytechnic campus.
Nguyen has excelled as an engineering student and an honors student in ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College, earning a 4.16 GPA and dean’s list recognition every semester.
After graduation, Nguyen will be continuing his graduate studies in manufacturing engineering through the 4+1 accelerated master’s degree program. He will also return to his hometown in Orange County, California, to look for internships over the summer.
Then he has big plans. He hopes to one day own his own factory in the U.S. with his sister, who is also an engineer, and another in Vietnam, the country his father and mother emigrated from during the Vietnam War.
“I’d like to be a part of Industry 4.0, implementing new technologies to make manufacturing in the U.S. more efficient and cheaper so that reshoring manufacturing can be more feasible,” Nguyen says.
He expanded on these ideas in his honors thesis, which discussed “intensifying the return of manufacturing to the U.S. with a focus on Communist China’s development and their potential threat to the United States’ global hegemony.”
Studying engineering has made Nguyen more appreciative of the components and systems that go into “making good products great” and how he could improve their quality or function. He looks forward to how he can impact the world with his degree.
“Modern society and our daily lives revolve around manufactured products, but before they are made, they are just ideas,” he says. “Manufacturing engineers make them a reality.”