Founded in August 2012, the Association for Women in Science – Notre Dame Chapter (AWIS-ND) has become the most active graduate student group at the University of Notre Dame, organizing 25 activities in partnership with 11 other graduate student and university groups during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Last Updated: 08/2017
5th-year Ph.D. Student in Theoretical Chemistry
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Bio: I’m a 5th year Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, studying quantum dynamics methods for exploring alternative clean-energy materials. I was born in a small town before growing up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
I came to the U.S. to pursue higher education and graduated the University of Texas at Dallas with an honors degree in Biochemistry. As I was preparing for a career in healthcare, an opportunity to perform research at Dr. Steven Nielsen’s lab turned into a two-year project and steered my path towards science. The study of quantum chemistry and statistical mechanics introduced me to a brand new way of asking and answering questions that resonates with my love of problem solving. So I decided to go to graduate school, and for the last four years I have worked on developing better algorithms to predict energy transfer timescales and pathways exhibited by a material after it absorbs light. I have received multiple awards during my studies, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Patrick and Jana Eilers Graduate Fellowship for Energy-Related Research. My goal after graduation is to work full-time as a research scientist, collaborating with experimentalists to design new materials.
Coming from a background that is not optimal for fostering scientific research, I care deeply about advancing women’s participation in science. As an active member of AWIS, I have had the good fortune to work with many exceptionally talented and passionate female scientists with a common goal. Last year, I led an organizing committee of the STEMentorship program to provide mentorship to 139 Notre Dame female freshmen and sophomores embarking on their undergraduate journey by offering guidance in both personal and professional development. I developed and implemented plans including mentor-mentee matching, budgets, timelines, mentor training, mentee counseling, communications and program logistics. This year I continue my involvement with STEMentorship with the hope that the program will become an annual feature of AWIS, to create a sustainable mentorship network for female students at Notre Dame.