Hometown: Wichita, Kan.
High School: Wichita High School East
Intended major: Political Science, Biology
Possible career: Public administration, medicine
Duyen is an International Baccalaureate Diploma recipient. In high school she participated in the student council, acting as Student Body President in her senior year. Duyen was also founder and co-president of International Youth Aid, a club dedicated to raising awareness and money for issues affecting youth around the world. In addition to being an Evans Scholar, Duyen is also a Gates Millennium Scholar.
In the summer of 2010 Duyen spent two months in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, working with a center called Action to End Exploitation (AEE), which works with families that have been impacted by the sex trade. The center runs a small school, provides scholarships for students to attend a nearby private school, and provides micro loans for small entrepreneurs. The center also runs a restaurant to help generate jobs and funds for the school. Duyen spent the summer teaching English and working with the micro-loan program, including conducting site visits and interviews with loan applicants. In addition to working with AEE, Duyen took private Khmer language classes, gaining an elementary understanding of the language and learning to read. At the end of her stay, Duyen traveled around Cambodia, visited her home country of Vietnam and spent a week in Taiwan.
As an extension of an externship she did last January, Duyen spent this past summer working in a stem cell research lab at Weill Cornell Medical College. She tested conditions that help beta-islet cell survival ex vivo. She found the work difficult and frsutrating at times, but she was able to see first-hand how scientists troubleshoot and process their results. She was also able to see how medical innovations occur and how they can influence the practice of medicine. She will be returning to the lab this winter and possibly next summer.