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International student pursues well-rounded Whitworth education

Thu Nguyen smiles and laughs as she talks to someone across from her.Thu Nguyen, '16, whose friends call her "Mi," is a chemistry major from Vietnam. In addition to loving the chemistry program at Whitworth, she says the university offers her a well-rounded education that extends far beyond the chemistry lab.

"Chemistry is something that comes naturally to me, and my favorite class at Whitworth is definitely organic chemistry," Nguyen says. Outside of class, one of her favorite activities is attending lectures offered by Whitworth's Speakers & Artists Lecture Series.

The annual series brings notable guest speakers to campus who address important contemporary issues taking place around the world.

"The lectures inspire me to think about where I stand and how I should live," Nguyen says. "I am thankful for all the leaders and everyone behind the scenes who push so hard to raise awareness on our campus."

In January 2014, Nguyen embarked on Whitworth's study-abroad program to South Africa, which she says encouraged her to think about living differently. During the program, students stayed with host families; met with journalists, politicians and academics; and learned about the country's struggle for independence and racial reconciliation.

Along with organic chemistry, Nguyen enjoys plant biology and hopes to pursue a career where she can combine the two elements.

"Right now I am thinking of synthesizing medicines from plant materials," she says, "which would encourage humans to grow more plants and thus save the environment and ourselves."