Tran to represent Eberly College of Science as fall 2018 student marshal

Jennifer Dong
December 13, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nhi “Titi” Tran, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, will be honored as the student marshal for the Eberly College of Science during Penn State’s fall commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 15, on the University Park campus. Tran’s faculty escort for the commencement exercises will be Amie Boal, assistant professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Tran will graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average and a bachelor’s degree in biology. Her honors and awards while at Penn State include the Evan Pugh Senior Award in 2018, the Doris N. McKinstry Scholarship in 2017, the President Sparks award in 2017, and the President’s Freshman Award in 2016. She has named to the dean’s list for every semester at Penn State.

“I am proud to be representing a college that has given me countless opportunities to better myself, such as completing research, being a learning assistant, and achieving a quality education,” said Tran. “As one of the first people in my family to attend college, I have faced a number of challenges on this journey, as have my parents. After hearing the news that I have been selected as student marshal, I felt an immense sense of accomplishment, and I know my parents will be watching me with even prouder smiles that day.”

While at Penn State, Tran conducted research with Boal using X-ray crystallography imaging techniques in order to understand the structure and biochemical characteristics of biological materials. She collaborated with graduate student Andrew Mitchell to determine the optimal conditions to image the structure SadA, an N-acyl amino acid hydroxylase needed in the first step of oxidative degradation of organic compounds in air, and WelU1, a protein from the algae Hapalosiphon welwitschii.

In addition to her academic achievements, Tran was a learning assistant for a variety of undergraduate courses and participated in Student United Way, and served on the Council of Lionhearts, as an Eberly College LionPride ambassador, and as a Science-U Curriculum mentor. Tran currently volunteers at Mount Nittany Medical Center. After graduation, she plans to attend an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program with the ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.

“The most important lesson I’ve learned from my time here is that instead of always trying to compete with everyone else, striving to compete with yourself and collaborate with others will bring the most positive outcomes,” said Tran. “When you focus on competing with yourself instead of with others, it becomes a lifelong journey of trying to improve each day and progressing on your own standards for success. Meanwhile, when you work to collaborate with your peers, you learn from each other, foster each other’s development, and drive innovation, efficiency and progress.”

Tran, a graduate of Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, will be accompanied at commencement by her mother, Truc Huynh; her father, Lam Tran; and her sister, Huyen “Lina” Tran, Penn State class of 2018.

Last Updated December 13, 2018