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Outstanding Graduate, Fall 2018

Thu Hoang

Thu Hoang knew from a young age that she wanted to be an engineer, even though what an engineer actually did wasn’t exactly clear to her.

“I did not even know what an engineer was except that they were good at math and designed things,” Hoang says. “My seven-year-old-self loved math and building things.”

So instinctively, Hoang made it her dream to become an engineer.

During her final year of high school, another passion was ignited.

“I took an introductory course in computer programming and I instantly fell in love with struggling to solve a problem and the satisfactory feeling I got when I overcame it,” she says. “I discovered how versatile programming was and how it could impact all walks of life.”

Hoang decided to pursue computer systems engineering because the major gave her exposure to both software and hardware.

“I wanted the extra challenge and opportunity to learn multiple domains,” she says.

Hoang can also pinpoint lasting friendships that emerged from her CSE 325 course.

“For the course, we had to build an autonomous robotic car. Doing so was quite difficult, but many precious memories were made in the process,” Hoang recalls. “There were many late nights in the lab and out on the lawn of Old Main coding and testing our cars. The nights were filled with programming, naps under desks, Taco Bell, Dutch Bros coffee and random shenanigans and laughs between my sleep-deprived peers and myself. That course was hell, but also a blast and I walked away learning so much and having made so many new friends.”

When she arrived on campus, Hoang discovered the benefits of being involved in student organizations, participating in both the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers and the Software Developer Association.

Her advice to future students is to get involved with the organizations and activities ASU offers.

“They really enhance your experience and provide great opportunities for growth,” Hoang says. “It’s a great way to make new friends and make connections with faculty members as well.”

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