Q&A with published author focused on young women in STEM

Huong Nguyen is a young woman actively promoting STEM education in Vietnam through her work at ASU. Recently, she co-authored a paper with ASU’s Scott Danielson and Kathy Wigal that was reviewed by the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Her paper, “Comparison of AUN-QA and ABET Accreditation,” was published in the proceedings of the ASEE’s 123rd Annual Conference and Exposition. HEEAP had the opportunity to interview Nguyen and find out more about this outstanding achievement and the significance of being recognized by the ASEE.

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Huong Nguyen (second from left) with international participants and colleagues at ASEE’s 123rd Annual Conference in New Orleans.

What inspired you to write and submit a paper to the ASEE?
I worked with Scott Danielson and Kathy Wigal under the Vocational and University Leadership and Innovation Institute (VULII) project to support our partner schools in preparing for international recognition, including AUN-QA assessment and ABET accreditation. From our work, we realized that a comparative analysis on these two organizations and sets of criteria would be beneficial for the universities, both those who are participating in the project and those who are not.

Can you tell us more about the conference where your paper was published?
ASEE’s 123nd Annual Conference and Exposition was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 26-29, 2016. It is an internationally known engineering conference that is dedicated to all disciplines of engineering education. I did a presentation on this paper at the conference in a session run by the International Division.

This was the first time I attended a conference of such large scale. I was very impressed with the active and innovative engagement of academia, industry and government in engineering education in the United States, particularly through the professional and technical societies. I found the town hall meetings where peers and colleagues voiced their opinions to help shape the future of engineering education very inspiring. It was definitely an eye opening experience for me.

What was the hardest part about writing this paper?
I received a lot of support and guidance from Scott Danielson when writing the paper, so it was an enjoyable process rather than a hard one. To me, presenting the paper in front of an international audience was a big challenge.

Do you have plans to continue to author ASEE papers?
My colleagues and I are planning on our next submission for ASEE, which would also have a regional/international focus in quality assurance.

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Huong Nguyen and Scott Danielson (far right) at the 2016 ASEE Annual Conference with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) sponsor banner. Nguyen wrote extensively on ABET accreditation in her paper published by the ASEE.

Can you tell us a little about your educational and professional background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration from International University - VNU HCMC, and a master’s degree in cross-cultural communication and education from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. I spent a few years in the corporate world before switching to education. The combined experience in these fields has started to excite me as I gradually realize the many common things that business and education share.

As far as your education and career goes, who would you say has been the most influential person in your life?
My father has always been the most influential person in my life. He is a doctor and he has spent all his life helping and saving people. His wisdom and his unlimited desire to learn, to understand the root cause of a problem from different perspectives, has influenced how I think and act.

What are some other aspirations you have for the future?
I hope to see a better developed higher education system in Vietnam in the near future, so that every Vietnamese citizen can be worry-free when sending his or her children to local schools, and local graduates are well equipped to work or continue their studies — both in-country and abroad. I do think that we have good human resources who are capable of doing this. I am looking forward to seeing significant changes and development in Vietnamese higher education system in the upcoming years.

September 25 , 2016