Truong, fourth from the right, in the Stains Lab with colleagues.
A junior biochemistry and chemistry major and researcher, Tiffany Truong is a shining example among students whose personal stories are propelling them forward in their academic pursuits at Nebraska.
Tiffany's parents, both alumni of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, immigrated to the United States from Vietnam after the Vietnam War. Bich Chau and Thu Truong studied chemistry and chemical engineering, respectively, and later moved to Newman Grove, Nebraska where Tiffany and her younger brother Baolong—currently a freshman chemical engineering student at Nebraska—lived for the first part of their childhood. Both Tiffany and Baolong were born in Albion, Nebraska.
"My family loves science," Tiffany says with a smile. She adds that her parents instilled the value education and love of learning in her from a young age. "It was difficult for anyone in Vietnam to receive a quality education when my parents lived there, so the opportunity to do so at Nebraska was of great value to them." Tiffany had the desire to attend college out of state since beginning high school, until a family crisis made her reconsider.
"My mother was diagnosed with cancer during my junior year of high school, and significantly impacted my decision to go to college in-state," Tiffany reflects. "I am very glad I stayed and attended the University of Nebraska because it has provided me with so many incredible opportunities while being close to my family. The university is open to having students make their own impact, and I feel that our ideas, opinions, and contributions are considered and valued."
Tiffany's experience with her mother's illness is what inspired her to pursue biochemistry and chemistry.
"I chose to study chemical biology because it has the closest application to human disease states," she explains. Her current research is focused on developing a sensor that detects protein aggregation in living cells for application in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Sigma Psi Zeta.
113th Class of the Innocents Society - Truong is fourth from the right.
A true role model for young women entering the STEM fields, Tiffany took part in the high school program Young Nebraska Scientists. She was placed in the laboratory where she continues to do research to this day under the mentorship of Chemistry Professor Cliff Stains. Tiffany says that the most fulfilling moment as a student thus far has been the publication of her and her lab mates' research in ACS Chemical Biology in 2015 and in 2016.
In addition to her research, Tiffany serves as the President of Chemistry Club, the President of the American Medical Student Association, the President of Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, and is a teaching assistant for the Department of Chemistry. She is also the Treasurer of the University Honors Program Student Advisory Board and a peer mentor for the Honor Program. Her honors and awards received during her undergraduate career - including being a 2017 Outstanding Student Leader Award Finalist and newly inducted member of The Innocents Society, the Chancellors Senior Honorary - are too numerous to list. Tiffany is also a violist and avid tennis player.
Despite Tiffany's full academic, research, and extracurricular calendar, her community service endeavors speak to her generous spirit toward others. Over the past few months, she has served as a medical scribe and translator at the People's City Mission Free Medical Clinic, and has donated countless hours as a Science Olympiad State Tournament event supervisor and student mentor. Tiffany has also served as an emergency room volunteer at Bryan Health Hospital East Campus since 2012.
"Everything I am doing now as a student is what I consider practice for the real world," Tiffany says. "I've always been treated as a professional here, so I treat every class and meeting with my professors as a job that is helping me prepare for my future." Tiffany will apply to medical school next fall, and aspires to practice clinical care as a physician-scientist.
Baolong's graduation from Lincoln Southwest High School.
Juan Franco, Truong, and Honors Program Assistant Director Dr. Burnett at the Outstanding Student Leadership Awards banquet.
A Regents scholar, Tiffany is grateful for the scholarships she has received toward her education, including the Ed F. and Clara M. Degering Trust Fund Award and the Herbert Thomas and Lilah and David Folsom Memorial Endowment.
"I cannot put into words how appreciative I am of the support from the College of Arts and Sciences," she reflects. "It is amazing to know that someone out there supports what you are doing and wants you to continue. A college education is certainly a huge struggle financially for students. Any contribution, no matter the size, takes that worry away significantly and allows us to continue to do well in school. It is one of the most encouraging acts of kindness I have experienced."
In addition to the scholarship support, Tiffany credits her parents—her two greatest role models—as well as her professors and peers for her success and accomplishments.
"My parents came from Vietnam without knowing a word of English, yet were two of the hardest working and positive students during their time here at Nebraska. They set the best possible examples for me to follow," Tiffany reflects. "Additionally, all my peers, professors, and mentors are brilliant. They are incredibly accomplished in their own right and are among my biggest motivators."