Nguyen Thi Thanh ’19: Going Green and Going Big

Part of Keuka College’s first graduating class at Duy Tan University, “Xiu” has won several global student competitions for her work on sustainable cities.

Friday, September 11, 2020
1 min. read

If the world someday reverses course on the path to ever-rising global temperatures, it may well be thanks to intelligent women like Nguyen Thi Thanh ’19, who was part of Keuka College’s first graduating class at Duy Tan University.

Thanh, whose nickname is Xiu, grew up wanting to be a police officer. But as she grew closer to college-age, a growing interest in global issues left her reconsidering her focus.

“As I matured, I found out that I am energetic, fond of travel, and drawn into interaction with others as I learn and explore the world,” Xiu says.

She decided on Duy Tan University but hesitated about switching from police studies. A little motherly advice finally gave her the incentive she needed.

“If you don’t try it, how can you know whether it’ll suit you or not?” Le Thi Bich Ha Ngoc told her daughter. “Follow your heart and take a chance.”

Xiu did just that, studying Business Administration as a member of the On-Site Study-Abroad program as part of Keuka College’s Vietnam Program. She studied mostly with American lecturers but also had instructors from Taiwan, Russia, and South Korea. She and her friends called this studying “the American way.”

It was exciting to study with Professor Gary Giss, the Keuka College Dean of International Programs in Asia, who is based at DTU. Thanks to him, I was able to enter major competitions, such as the Asia–Pacific regional finals of Go Green in the City, and win awards because of the presentation skills that he taught me.

In fact, Xiu has competed in several “Go Green” global student competitions focusing on sustainable cities, winning the National Go Green in the City championship in both 2017 and 2018, and coming in second in the 2018 Asia-Pacific regional finals. She also received one of three international Women in Business awards at the 2018 finals in Atlanta.

And Xiu’s presentation skills were also on full display when she spoke during Keuka College’s first graduation ceremony at Duy Tan University.

“Another amazing Vietnamese student in our Vietnam program,” exclaimed Dean Giss.