A former literature major at a high school for the gifted, Van Ngoc Kim Ngan decided to study biochemistry at university. She recently had her scientific report published on a Harvard University website.
Van Ngoc Kim Ngan
Ngan, born in 2001, is a second-year biochemistry major at Penn State University in the US. Prior to that, she was a 10th grader at the High School for the Gifted under the HCMC National University and a 11th grader in Singapore before coming to the US to study in the 12th grade.
Her scientific report published on Harvard University’s website is about the impact of Covid-19 on women’s psychology before and after giving birth. This was her first scientific work as a member of a Harvard student research team.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ngan had to leave the US last year. The research, therefore, had to be implemented online. The biggest problem for her was being repeatedly rejected when seeking someone to interview.
“I emailed hundreds of professors in the US, but only one answered and agreed to help,” she recalled.
It took Ngan a lot of time to seek information. She had to work hard to look up data related to the topic and convert them into charts to prove her theoretical points.
Despite the great effort, Ngan’s research work was not accepted immediately. She had to correct it five times to obtain the final version.
The research motivated her to continue doing scientific research and strive for bigger goals.
She has embarked on her second scientific research work on comparing the effects of different vaccines. She is a member of a research team on carbon and environment at the university. She plans to apply for a research institute next summer.
Studying biochemistry now, she was a literature major at high school. In fact, the entrance exams to high schools for the gifted are very difficult, and students have to be good at all subjects, including natural sciences, to pass the exams.
She decided to study biochemistry when she was in the 11th grade in Singapore, when she felt sad as she could not save the life of a relative who died of cancer.
The decision surprised many people. But her mother supported the decision of the daughter.
It was her mother who supported Ngan’s decision to attend the exam to the Conservatory of HCM City, while others thought this was beyond her capacity. And she passed the exam for the Piano faculty of the school.
When leaving Singapore for the US, Ngan had to spend time to adapt to the US culture and environment. The mother’s advice helped her overcome her difficulties.
Tran Duong Chinh, a 12th grader majoring in physics of the Hung Vuong High School for the Gifted, has become the first student from Phu Tho province to win a gold medal at the European Physics Olympiad (EuPhO).
Nguyen Trong Hieu, PhD, senior researcher and lecturer in solar energy at Australian National University, is a Vietnamese national.