Scholarship winner brings flair for the arts to a science degree

Scholarship winner brings flair for the arts to a science degree

As the latest recipient of our Vice-Chancellor Excellence Scholarship – Vietnam, Tran Hong Ngoc is pursuing her passions with a Bachelor of Science. The prestigious La Trobe scholarship ensures that 100% of Ngoc’s tuition fees are covered for the duration of her degree.

During her high school years, Ngoc excelled as a seasoned debater and a competition-winning writer — but the sciences had already captured her heart. Looking ahead to her future career, Ngoc’s keen to combine her aptitude for the arts with her love for science, and leave a mark in a Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field.

From Hue City to the big city

‘Studying at La Trobe will be like a brand new world opening up. I’ve never been abroad before, so being in a new environment with different people will really expose me to new perspectives and prepare me for the challenges of life.’

Hailing from the historic Hue City in Vietnam, Ngoc is excited to experience life in a new country as she embarks on a Bachelor of Science at La Trobe’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne. She also acknowledges the unique position she finds herself in, gifted an opportunity that will change her life:

‘It still feels surreal,’ says Ngoc.

‘Money is always a concern for international students but the scholarship will definitely lighten my burden. I’ll get to focus more on my studies and have a fulfilling time in college. I might not have been able to be here if not for this scholarship – for that I’m very grateful.’

A flair for the arts, rooted in science

This scholarship round saw the highest number of applicants yet. However, it was Ngoc’s eloquence, confidence and spirited passion for science, coupled with her academic achievements, that made her stand out.

It’s no surprise that a flair for speaking comes naturally to Ngoc, who was an active member of her high school debate team and a leader of the local Model United Nations club.

Despite clear talent for the arts and social sciences, Ngoc says that her family heavily influenced her decision to pursue a future in STEM – with her mother working in agricultural development and her father in urban forestry.

‘My parents introduced and helped sustain my interest in biology by exposing me to nature early on, and putting me to work on gardens and farms. They never directly taught me anything about their jobs – and I didn’t really ask either – but I started sneaking into their bookshelves in high school.’

With her love for science spanning various fields (including a growing interest in fungi and algae) Ngoc is excited by the breadth of knowledge her degree will provide.

‘The generalist nature of a Bachelor of Science is part of its charm because I can easily branch out into specialisations later on. Ideally, I hope to find a niche in a STEM field that I am able to settle and sink my teeth into.’

To make a splash and give back

While keeping her options open in terms of a specialisation, Ngoc is determined to make her mark no matter where she lands.

‘I hope to complete a Master’s degree before finding a place at an Australian company, perhaps in research-heavy work that’s hands on, stimulating and challenging. I’d love to be able to make a difference in my line of work – a new innovation, a new way to do something or a development in a certain field.’

Grateful for the opportunities the scholarship has presented, she also hopes she can one day pay it forward:

‘I hope to make myself a well rounded and cultivated individual, who is able to provide for the people I care for, to contribute to society around me and to give back to the people who have supported me.’

Get rewarded for your excellence

If you’re a Vietnamese citizen, you may be eligible to apply for the next round of the Vice-Chancellor Excellence Scholarship.

You could also be eligible for other region-specific international scholarships that provide tuition fee reductions of up to 30 per cent on selected courses. These scholarships are available to all citizens of the eligible countries – regardless of where you currently live.

Find out if you’re eligible for one of the generous scholarships offered at La Trobe University.