Impact Award, Fall 2019
When Tristan Le arrived as a freshman at Arizona State University, he had no prior experience writing computer code, but that’s exactly what he wanted to learn.
“To me, learning the structure and syntax of programming languages is like learning the language of the future,” he says.
“Hello, World!” was Le’s first coded statement, and that short declaration marked the beginning of his passion for software engineering. Le graduated magna cum laude last fall from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Barrett, The Honors College, and this year completed his master’s degree.
Le received the New American University Scholar President’s Award and was the recipient of a university grant and a federal Pell grant. While he was rewarded for his academic achievements, Le also contributed to the Fulton Schools in a number of roles. He participated in the Fulton Ultimate Engineer and Leadership Program and worked as a teaching assistant during his undergraduate and graduate programs, eventually leading a team of approximately 20 teaching assistants. He also served as the social media chair of the professional engineering fraternity, Theta Tau.
Le’s ASU experience has taught him that getting an education is not necessarily a function of high intelligence.
“It is not about how smart you are; it is about how hard you work,” he says. “The takeaway is everyone is smart enough if they are determined to not accept their starting point as where they will end up.”
He also suggests following the advice he brought to campus from his mother: “Why leave for tomorrow what can be done today?”
Le says he will always remember how he felt the first time he stood on Palm Walk as a full-fledged college student.
“The feeling of opportunity and purpose one gets from pursuing education is unmatched,” he said. “As I exit school life, I will look back at this time as an inspiration for future moves. Now the world is our opportunity.”