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Linh Nguyen
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Linh Nguyen

Graduation year: 2023

High school: Foreign Language Specialized School

Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam

Major: Neuroscience

Minor: Biology

Activities: Student assistant in the Department of Neuroscience and Psychology

Internship: Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program

Post-grad plans: Enrolling in a Ph.D. program in neuroscience

Why Augustana?

At first, my parents did not approve of me studying abroad, so it took me some time to finally be able to convince them. By then, all the early and regular decision deadlines had passed, but Augie was one of the few schools that had a rolling deadline instead.

I also knew that I wanted to attend a smaller school, and out of all my acceptances, Augie gave me the best financial aid package. That sealed the deal for me!

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

Not at all. I came in with a completely different major in mind (English) and not knowing what career I wanted to pursue. When taking an Intro to Psychology class during freshman year, I was fascinated when the professor talked about how the brain is involved in behavior and that every experience we have is the product of the brain!

If I could go back and tell my freshman self that I am now going into a Ph.D. program in neuroscience, she would never believe it.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My professors in the neuroscience program — Dr. Harrington, Dr. Gordon and Dr. Stough. Thanks to letters from them, I was accepted into the Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program and now graduate schools. They have guided me throughout my four years here, especially Dr. Harrington, who has been there with me since freshman year. I will forever be grateful to them!

I also want to thank Dr. Gehler, my biology minor advisor, for his immensely helpful advice. He advised me to take the organic chemistry sequence and then biochemistry, which have been a big advantage for graduate school applications. I will miss our conversations as well.

Finally, I want to thank my family and my friends. They have supported me so much throughout my college journey.

Peak experience?

The Texas Medical Center Summer internship was transformational in terms of helping me gain necessary research experience. It helped open many doors when I applied for graduate programs. I loved the lab that I was placed in and all the experiences I had when I was there!

What surprised you?

I'm more resilient and brave than I thought I was! I pushed myself in academics and also out of my comfort zone.

I'm also surprised by the weather/climate — it's much more diverse than where I come from. We don't have a strong concept of seasons in Vietnam, so whenever I see leaves changing colors in the fall or snow in the winter, I'm in awe!

How did you use your Augie Choice?

Augie Choice covered my housing expense when I was in Texas.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss walking on the campus and seeing how it changes as seasons come and go. And I have to add all the little things I did with my friends: cooking together, watching anime, walking in parks for hours, and even grocery shopping. It’s those little moments that matter a lot to me.

Advice for the Class of 2027?

Take your academics seriously (go to class, build relationships with professors); those efforts will pay off. Be grateful and open-minded for everything — you will learn so so much!

"Ever since freshman year, Linh has been passionate about neuroscience and getting involved in research. She took advantage of multiple research opportunities by doing research in my lab at Augustana, and over the summer at Texas Medical Center. All of her dedication has led to being accepted at not one, not two, but three Ph.D. programs in neuroscience! It has been a pleasure to watch her journey as she becomes a neuroscientist."

– Dr. Rupa Gordon, associate professor, psychology and neuroscience