Poulina Tran ’19
Hanoi, Vietnam
Poulina Tran

Worldwide reach

While attending high school in Hinton, N.Y., Poulina went on a mission trip to one of the poorest regions of her come country, Vietnam. What surprised her most was the complete lack of technology and how far removed the people were from the modern era. She decided then to pursue an education in computer science so she can return and help the people in that Vietnamese community. Now she’s a double major in computer science and mathematics and dreams of earning her Ph.D. to help bring technology to underserved areas of the world.

Analyzing the options
Out of the almost 40 colleges I applied to, Northwestern was the one I decided to visit during my senior year of high school. One of the main reasons I chose NWC is the small class sizes. I think it really provides an opportunity for a stronger connection between professors and students. I also really appreciate the homey atmosphere at the dorm. People who live with me are not just my friends; they feel like my siblings!

Since Northwestern is a liberal arts college, I’m encouraged to take classes in a variety of disciplines that don’t connect directly to computer science, like writing and speaking. Because of that broad education, I feel more confident to go into the real world and succeed. In addition, the three computer science courses that I took during my first year enabled me to realize that I really enjoy writing code, which I didn’t know before attending.

Support systems
The computer science professors are very enthusiastic and passionate. They care about their students and take their opinions for class and department-related issues seriously. They are also flexible; if a lot of students have another big test on the same day, they might change the date of their test. They are always happy to meet with and help students if we have any questions. 

Social networking
I have met so many nice people and made a lot of good friends who have left a major impact on my life. I felt like I have discovered a family here.