Nguyen Khanh Dieu Hong, a teacher at the University of Science and Technology in Hanoi was appointed the country's youngest associate professor among 427 others who were bestowed the titles of either associate professors or fully fledged professors in 2012.
|Hong taking sea water samples to check oil pollution|
A ceremony to present certificates to the newly honored professors and associate professors was held on December 24, 2012 at the Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam University in Hanoi.
Dieu Hong is not only a scientist but also a pretty and versatile woman with a welcoming and warm smile. She topped in her graduation at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology and then received a scholarship to pursue a postgraduate course in University College in London without studying for her Master’s.
Hong said that after winning a gold medal at an international competition for young inventors-- Best Young Inventor Award in 2004--she won a scholarship that allowed her to study at any university in the world and she decided on University College London where lecturers thought she could pursue a doctoral course without doing her Master’s.
Looking back at her achievements, they include the first VIFOTEC prize in 2003 and Award of World Intellectual Property Organization in 2004; gold medal at Tech Market Vietnam in 2005; excellent article at an Asian Science Seminar on Bio-fuels and Renewable Energy in Bangkok in 2010 and merit certificate as an exemplary model of Hanoi in 2009.
Despite what people think of her as a bookworm, Hong joined a team to participate in literature and physics competitions for gifted senior high school students. She majored in chemistry at Thang Long Senior High School in Hanoi, but still enjoyed drawing and literature.
She said, “This is an important turning point of my life. My success is both due to my own efforts and support of the research group. It requires patience to do something well and generate expected results.”
Her major research is on environmentally friendly bio-fuels, cleansers and petrochemical techniques. Accordingly, all her research group serves the same target. Their typical research is on metabolizing waste cooking oil into bio-diesel or solvents.
After office hours, she becomes a mother of a 10-month-old daughter that she is proud of. Every day she gets up early to breast feed her child and cook for her husband who works in a petrol field. According to her, anyone who can master chemistry can cook well!
Hong says she is lucky to have good companions and the support of her mother-- a professor in the field of petrochemicals-- as well as an excellent research group and ideal working environment at Hanoi University of Science and Technology.
However, her achievements are her own efforts. She said when she was in London, teachers’ expectations were very high and as the first Vietnamese student accepted into the university, she had to try her best.
She recalls how she would sometimes fall asleep in the bus on way from school to her dormitory. Sometimes she would call her mom in the middle of the night crying to tell her that she was homesick and so lonely in a far away country.
She said that success of a woman scientist is dependent on the support of a dedicated research group as no scientific topic belongs to any individual.