Alumna Ana Ngyuen selected for ‘Fulbright Scholarship’

Robinson 2008 graduate Anna Nguyen will be traveling to Switzerland in September and returning in June for a nine month research program to study cancer stem cells in bone and soft tissue tumors.

Nguyen had applied for the grant in October, found out she was a finalist in January and received the letter of acceptance on April 25.

The grant for the “Fulbright Scholar” is an international educational exchange program. The program offers people to study, teach and research abroad.

She will be traveling to the University of Lauanne and conducting an independent research study while working in the institute of pathology.

Nguyen said she first got interested in research in her second year of college when she participated in an undergraduate research program in Germany. After this program, she said she had looked for other research opportunities.

Nguyen says she got interested in cancer biology because her father was diagnosed with cancer when she was younger. Since then she said she has been looking for a lab where she could study cancer biology. Last summer, she studied in the lab she will be returning to continue research.

“I am really excited to learn a lot, especially about sarcomas, because their biology isn’t really understood because they have really low prognosis and I am hoping to contribute to the development of this new technique of identifying a sarcoma cancer stem cell in hopes that it can improve diagnosis of sarcoma and cancer,” Nguyen said. “Anything that I can do to help, I’m excited about and just learning more about the field and getting to contribute to the cancer research community globally. ”

Nguyen said one of her mentors is her faculty supervisor Dr. Arthur Sutherland. He introduced her to her first research opportunity and the Fulbright and Dr. Smikovitch who is sponsoring her project and providing her with the resources she can use to pursue her interest. Her other supporters were Dr. Rivers, Dr. Brad Levin and Dr. Jeffe More.

“I had a lot of support throughout this process so I’m really thankful to them,” Nguyen said.

Being the youngest daughter, it’s hard for her family to send their “little girl” away but they’re really happy for her and they have been supportive of her and the opportunity to contribute to something internationally.

“[When I found out] I was extremely ecstatic and really relieved just because I spent so many months working on the application,” Nguyen said. “It’s something I really wanted to do, to do cancer research on a global scale. It was a lot of anticipation during the months of waiting from applying and getting the news.”

After returning to the States after the nine months are over, she said she will be working on her applications for medical school because she wants to become a clinical researcher and pursue her MDPHD.