Husky 100

June 20, 2019

Student Stories: Long Tran

Long Tran

Renton, WA
B.A., Communication, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Global Engagement

Year awarded 2019

I applied to the Husky 100 as an attempt to synthesize several of my major accomplishments under the theme of my disconnection to Vietnamese culture. Everything I’ve done during my undergraduate career has resulted in me actively pursuing a further understanding of my own identity as a Vietnamese-American. I wanted to find a way to articulate this in the Husky 100 application, in written form, to look back at the direction I’ve taken as a student at the University of Washington Tacoma.

The Husky 100 empowers me, validates me, and inspires me to do more, to be excited about my future. As a graduating senior, it’s common to feel burnt out and unmotivated, but this recognition serves as a reminder of the importance and impact of my work in academia and professionally. It reminds me that what I’ve done throughout my four years has led me on a path to a place where I’m confident in myself and proud of how far I’ve come. It means the hours of sleep I’ve lost, compromises I’ve had to make, and damage to my mental health has earned me a place among other incredibly successful individuals in the Husky 100.

Beyond the fact that I was gifted beautiful headshots, the freedom to express myself meant a lot to me and many other Vietnamese-Americans that might have seen my photograph. In my photograph, I wore a scarf of the South Vietnam flag as a way to make visible the experiences of the Vietnamese diaspora of my family and others with similar experiences. It was a way to pay tribute to my parents and a political statement of defiance against the Vietnamese War and the injustice that has gone on before, during, and after the war.

Although I have much to say about all five Husky 100 criteria, the one I’d like to focus on is how I connect the dots. I connect the dots by using my personal struggles with “American” identity to drive what I’ve done in school. In the classroom, I focused on learning about the Vietnam War from differing perspectives and used my personal lens to drive the writing of my honors essays, allowing me to integrate history accurately through research, while also taking a clear social justice-oriented stance that empowers Vietnamese-Americans. Also, outside the classroom, I started the Vietnamese Student Association at the University of Washington Tacoma. I try to actively engage in all directions of my academic and personal life to not only make a difference for the Vietnamese-American public discourse but to gain a more clear sense of self.

I think the Husky 100 inspires other students to dream bigger than high GPAs, aim higher than simply being in an honors program, look beyond what kind of job they’ll end up with after graduation. The Husky 100 inspires students to be visible, vocal, present, impactful, strong, outspoken, driven, powerful, and resilient. The Husky 100 compel students to identify flaws with human life and find ways to improve our well-being and environment.  

I’d like to thank my immigrant parents for working hard for the “American dream,” for their two children to go to college and have a better life than they had during and after the Vietnam War.

From the very onset of my career, I have to thank Dr. Joanne Clarke Dillman for helping me find my place in my research and inspiring me to do what she does, teaching film studies. I’d like to also thank Dr. David Coon who helped me expand my vision as a filmmaker to complement my career aspirations in academia as a film professor.