Hung Dinh Nguyen ’21, who majored in computer science and mathematics at Clark, is a data engineer working working remotely from his home in Vietnam. We connected with him to see how things have been going since graduation.
When did you graduate and what did you do at Clark?
I graduated in June 2021 with a degree in computer science and mathematics. I really liked being a TA for many courses and working at the ITS Help Desk. I enjoy learning about and sharing cultures, so I was part of the International Student Association (ISA) for two years and helped eith World Cup, Journey, and GALA until I went back to my home country. During my last two years, I also was hands-on with TIE [Center for Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship] to find new tech-related opportunities for Clark students.
Where are you now? What have you been up to?
After winning my first hackathon, hackNYU 2020, I got on the last bus heading toward Worcester and then went back to Vietnam. I decided to complete my degree online. I also took up a part-time job to give private piano lessons to kids all over the world through Zoom. Between COVID-19 waves, I was able to travel a bit to Da Lat, Ha Noi, and Vung Tau Beach.
I’m currently training to be a data engineer here at home in Vietnam. I have been working from home for a couple of months now because of the lockdown; thankfully I’m at ease because I’m with my family. My day-to-day doesn’t sound too exciting — although I always try to connect with friends wherever they are, especially my partner, which has been a five-year long-distance relationship. I view the world through my screen, I suppose.
What about hobbies? Do you have any new or developing ones?
Before working, I like to just jam, especially the piano, with some of my friends here. I also enjoy playing chess, learning tennis, joining coding competitions, and making puns. And I’ve picked up a fun habit of learning something new every day. Did you know that dogs are capable of empathy, and some can tell how you feel from your scent?
Do you have any “adulting” tips or advice you can share with your fellow Clarkies?
If you fail, try and try again. I have failed, and will fail so many times, and have had to redo things to the point that I can do them with my eyes closed.
Another one would be: “Life is like a box of chocolates.” Don’t underestimate the situation or yourself. Murphy’s Law is very real, so prepare yourself well and believe in yourself.
And of course, buy clothes that are minimal in design because they fit all occasions.
Do you have any career advice for recent Clark graduates?
I have only just entered the work force so I can’t say I have much to offer! When you’re doing your job search, a job at which you can gain experience and skills is better than a job where you can earn lots of money. I was offered a managerial position in a small music education startup, and the pay was good compared to my current job. However, I quit as soon as I got this current job because I knew this one would elevate me to a higher place than the managerial one.
How do you stay involved with the Clark community?
I simply try my best to make the people around me happy! I joined ISA and involved myself with the wonderful international community at Clark. I find internships or connection opportunities for the CS students as part of TIE.
Did you have a favorite class?
That’s a tough one. I think my favorite class was Professor Basye’s “Intro to Machine Learning.” It’s teaches you how to build models to solve specific problems and, like the name suggests, the model learns by itself. This was what the future looked like to me.
An honorary mention for my top class a philosophy course, “Personal Values.” The classroom was always an accepting space and I was very comfortable being myself in a room full of strangers. Debates were civil; people were open; beliefs were challenged; ideas were well-received.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Worcester?
My go-to place would be Bahn Thai near the Dolan Field House. The food is so flavorful, and the service is great for a decent price. I even know the chefs personally! You can even get a 10 percent discount if you show your student ID. On the other side of the road, there’s Da Lat, where the food is cooked by Vietnamese people. One of the best things about Worcester is that there is a huge Asian community, so I didn’t always miss food from back home.
What was your favorite event at Clark?
GALA — and I am sure most would share the same sentiment. How could I forget the hard work Clarkies put into the amazing display of cultural and modern dances? It is an event that not only shares cultures and spreads the message of peace and unity, but also connects everyone through national pride. As a Vietnamese person, I felt joy knowing that both Vietnamese-Americans and Vietnamese international students could enjoy this event together not as the young generation of Socialist Vietnam or of South Vietnamese, but simply as global citizens.