Being a shy and reserved kid, during high school Tuyen never reached out nor made himself visible to others.
“And that greatly hindered me from reaching my potential,” he said.
So, upon starting university at RMIT, Tuyen promised himself this would change.
The highlight of his first year was building a capstone-level project, a programmable LED board, which now marks the entrance to the School of Science, Engineering & Technology office.
“The project is a showcase of IT students' talent and creativity,” Tuyen said, “This helps bring a new perspective to our IT program, as it's not just coding but also creating products and exploring other opportunities.”
The newfound confidence reinforced Tuyen’s belief that he could contribute more to a broader community outside of RMIT.
Tuyen joined the non-profit organisation Fight For Dreams and used his technical knowledge to build a website that showcases information about the organisation.
“I helped raise money for high school students from low-income families in Tien Giang province through the website,” Tuyen proudly shared. “This money helped more than 100 students to continue their high school education, and funded trips and events.”
In his final year, Tuyen focused on a capstone project entitled “Dengue Advanced Readiness Tools” (DART), an integrated digital system for dengue outbreak prediction and monitoring, in collaboration with Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU). His outstanding performance not only brought Tuyen a position as a junior research fellow at OUCRU but the DPhil in Clinical Medicine with Oxford University.
Dr Marc Choisy, Head of Mathematical Modelling Centre for Tropical Medicine at OUCRU who then became Tuyen’s supervisor, was astonished with his exceptional technical qualities.
“In my 20 years of student’s supervision, I have never seen anyone learning R [a programming language] that fast, not only the language itself and its subtleties, but also the whole philosophy of working with R,” Dr Choisy said.
“It is impressive too that by the end of the capstone project, Tuyen had already made a first version of an R package from all the tools he developed for the project. Porting the developed pipeline to cloud services such as those offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) also brought its lot of technical challenges that Tuyen managed to address with quite some dexterity.”
Dr Choisy praised Tuyen for his humility: “Tuyen is the youngest staff of OUCRU, an organisation of 350, but exceptionally mature for his age, and at the same time very modest and very kind to others in my group and in OUCRU”.