Vietnamese graduate rejects Harvard Phd scholarship

Truong Vu Yen Nhi believes Stanford is a better environment for her

Truong Vu Yen Nhi (R) receives the Woods-Travis Prize, awarded to outstanding graduates of Amherst College.

While most academics would dream of attending Harvard University, Truong Vu Yen Nhi was faced with the dilemma of choosing between several Ivy League schools, including Harvard.

Nhi, a 23-year-old Vietnamese graduate, has received PhD scholarship offers, worth up to US$100,000 a year, from Harvard and seven other top American universities. These include Princeton, Stanford, Brown, University of Michigan, Rutgers, the University of Illinois and Ohio State University.

Choosing only one from among these high-profile institutions was a challenge for Nhi, who earned her B.A in Math with outstanding results from the Massachusetts-based Amherst College.

Despite the tempting offers, the young Vietnamese academic has decided on attending Stanford this September, believing that the environment there fits her best.

Nhi attended one of the top high schools in Ho Chi Minh City before winning a full three-year scholarship to Singapore’s Saint Joseph’s Institution International. In 2009, she graduated from the Singaporean school with the title of Josephian of the Year and won another grant to study at Amherst College in the U.S.

It was during her time at the Massachusetts school that Nhi decided to follow a math research career. Following her time there, she had one paper published in the prestigious Journal of Number Theory, two of her academic studies reviewed and two other research theorems carried out.

Nhi has also been honored with awards including the Alice T. Schafer, granted by the U.S. Association of Women in Mathematics, the Woods-Travis Prize, awarded to outstanding graduates of Amherst College, and the Robert H. Breusch Prize, given to the best senior thesis at Amherst.


Nhi works as a volunteer at SEA Games

On top of what is an exemplary academic profile, Nhi is also a former member of the junior Vovinam (Vietnam Martial Art) team of the Vietnamese military.

In 2006, at the age of 12, Nhi achieved a black belt in Vovinam, and represented the junior military team until 2008.

Despite not following an athletic career, Nhi remains attached to the martial art.

She was a volunteer in Ho Chi Minh City when it hosted the 2011 World Vovinam Championships,  and was also a voluntary translator during Vovinam competition at the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia the same year.

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