February 12, 2020
Hy Truong Son was born and raised in Hanoi, Vietnam. He has a BSc in computer science from Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary. He is now in his fourth year of pursuing a PhD in computer science at the University of Chicago and is researching machine learning applications and chemical problems. We interviewed him via email about his experiences below.
Why did you choose the University of Chicago?
When I was applying for graduate school, I wanted to pursue my PhD in the US and UChicago was always my dream school. As a science, math and computer lover, I was impressed by the history of UChicago: ten Fields medalists, four Turing Award winners and nearly 100 Nobel laureates affiliated with the university. Moreover, it is located in the windy city with deep dish Chicago-style pizza :).
Please describe something you are proud of accomplishing at UChicago.
I am proud of publishing scientific papers coauthored with my PhD advisor, Prof. Risi Kondor, and other hard-working, talented colleagues. I have gained a lot from UChicago researchers and students who always motivate me to learn more, expand my knowledge, ask the right questions, and tackle hard problems. I really enjoy and feel thankful to the academic environment at UChicago.
What’s something you love to do outside of the classroom and lab?
Physical training is an important part of my life. I work out every single day. I love running and lifting weights. Luckily, there are two great gyms at UChicago: Ratner and Henry Crown. I spend more time in Ratner, but occasionally I run on the indoor track of Henry Crown for a change of atmosphere. UChicago has everything you need to be fit, healthy, and mentally sharp.
What are your plans post-UChicago?
After graduation, I want to start my career as a research scientist at a technological corporation like Google or Facebook. Later on, I might consider doing a postdoc and then pursuing an academic career as a professor.
What support have you received at the UChicago that was particularly valuable to you?
I want to give special thanks to the International House for organizing several amazing programs for international students. For example, I participated in the 2019 Thanksgiving Homestay Program organized by the I-House. I was invited to live with an American family over the holiday to learn about American culture. It was so amazing, and American people are so generous and welcoming.
If you were speaking to someone who wants to learn about UChicago, what would you tell them?
I don’t have enough words to describe UChicago. Whether you love computer science or history, UChicago would be a great fit for you and you would enjoy your time here.
How has your background or experience prepared you to contribute to an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued?
I was born and grew up in Hanoi, Vietnam. Very fortunately, I was awarded a full scholarship from the Hungarian government to pursue a BSc degree in computer science at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary. Before coming to the United States, I had traveled to several European countries and interacted with different cultures. I have lived in three continents and spent a third of my life so far abroad. From my experience, I’ve learned that America is definitely unique. Everything about America is always so big to me—so open, so possible. I am so happy that diversity and inclusion are highly valued and supported by the university. I am eager to learn from people who come from parts of the world where I have never been.