Rice alumnus Nathan Truong ’14 is one of 18 Luce Scholars for 2016-17. He was nominated by Rice and chosen for the nationally competitive fellowship program from 162 nominees who have a record of high achievement, outstanding leadership ability and potential for professional accomplishments.
The Henry Luce Foundation established the program to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. Truong will receive a stipend while he completes two months of summer language training followed by 10 months of professional placement in an Asian country. Luce Scholars gain new perspectives and cultural insights on their host countries through immersive living and working experiences in Asia.
Truong, who was a member of Brown College, was born to Vietnamese refugees and raised in ethnically and racially diverse southwest Houston. After graduating from Rice with a degree in biochemistry and cell biology, he joined Teach for America and began working as a physics and AP statistics teacher at the Brays Oaks campus of YES Prep Public Schools.
“As a product of Houston public schools and a current high school STEM teacher, I am looking forward to learning more about how other Asian countries are tackling their own education-related issues as well as gaining insights from the successes of their educational systems,” Truong said.
For Truong, the Luce Scholarship is more than a professional experience; it is also an opportunity for cultural exchange.
“Education systems vary widely abroad, and I am fascinated with the dynamic relationship between culture and educational infrastructure,” he said. “I look forward to learning more about the best practices and systemic roots of my placement country’s education system.”
Truong plans to study how countries are using education to tackle issues related to poverty and social mobility, along with utilizing science to advance society.
“The year abroad will allow for the development of a deeper understanding of best educational practices and how societies and governments implement them from a policy and grassroots level,” he said.
The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents, who were missionary educators in China.
Rice students and alumni who would like to be considered for the Luce Scholars Program should contact Madalina Akli, associate director of global engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-348-3631.