Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Computer Science


Soccer, Painting, Muay Thai, The Big Bang Theory show, Gym, Volunteering, Tutoring

About Me

SAT Initiative

December 1, 2016

At University of Richmond, everything is readily accessible. Have a sudden crave for a strong, warm cup of coffee? 8:15 at Boatwright library would come to the rescue! Running out of your toothpaste or laundry detergent? You could find those at ETC. Wanting to eat a-little-bit-fancier food for a chick flick night or a casual date? The Cellar has the best salmon dish ever! 

However, just because I could survive never setting a foot off campus for once, that doesn’t mean I should. College, for me, is a chance to enjoy new adventures and expose myself to diverse experiences. Don’t take me wrong, UR is a great campus, and I do appreciate the opportunities available here! However, because it’s such a comfy and happy place, it’s tempting to just limit ourselves to an ideal Richmond bubble. Going off-campus once in a while to explore fun events (like First Fridays or Folk Music Festival), or volunteering with local people, had made my college experience much more enriching. 

The SAT Initiative, an organization that provides free SAT tutoring for students of the Richmond City Public Schools, is one such opportunity. We meet every Saturday, to create new learning materials for students, ranging from SAT mock tests to math and grammar guides. There are also different time slots during the week that we could sign up to go off-campus and tutor at some public high schools. I have been in both positions — material creation and tutoring — and they were all fulfilling and enjoyable. 

Since Math is my favorite subject, I’m responsible for developing geometry guides. It’s definitely a commitment that requires time and effort, but to think that these guides would be used to help high school students improve their academic performance, and probably make a small yet meaningful impact on their future, it’s so worthwhile! That feeling — the sense that I’m making a difference — is what I love about volunteering too. SAT Initiative is a relatively small and thus really tight-knit team. We always encourage each other in finishing the guides, and often discuss about possible ways to improve the program.

I also go to Huguenot High school to tutor SAT. The first time I needed to stand at the board and explain SAT Math problems to students, I was really nervous. From public speaking experiences in the past, I know I would be more likely to mumble, fidget or stutter rather than delivering a straightforward explanation. I haven’t reviewed the trigonometry topics carefully, or looked at the volume formulas for geometrical figures either — what if I was caught off-guard on some difficult math problems and got stuck?

Thankfully, none of that happened. It was pretty fun trying to take charge of the lesson, and I understood more about the reasons teachers choose their vocation. It’s a rewarding feeling to see students who struggled would gradually improve their understanding of the concepts, and become better at solving arithmetic problems. There was this one senior who stayed after the tutoring session to ask me additional questions about the math problems he completed in his prep book. When such students put in the efforts and show they’re really dedicated to getting greater results on their standardized tests, it also encouraged me to do my job better too.

Here is the SAT Initiative website if you’re interested! It has been a really fun semester for me. Next semester, I plan to continue with SAT Initiative, and maybe take part in many others volunteering projects around Richmond through UR’s Civic Engagement program too. 

About me

Hi guys, I'm Tracy, a newbie Spider at Richmond! My majors are probably Computer Science and Math, and I'm so in love with my current Math/CS classes. They're all amazing! A little more about my background: I'm from Vietnam, but I went to high school in Nebraska. It feels so weird to be a freshman again, when you practically know nobody at school, keep getting lost while finding your classes, always look up to your upperclassmen (no actually, with my height of 5ft2'',  I technically look up to everyone); and struggle with all the new changes.

Yet, it's also exciting! If you haven't already known, University of Richmond offers a wealth of choices in academics, research opportunities, extracurricular activites and - most importantly - desserts. So my goal is to get out of my comfort zone, jump at different opportunities (or desserts) that intrigue me, and make the most out of my college experience. I love soccer, so my friends and I just formed an intramural team named Kiss My Pass. I'm also interested in martial arts, learning ballroom dancing, painting, learning guitar, baking, making new friends,  tutoring and volunteering. Yup, that's quite a lot! But I have 4 years here to follow my passions and become who I aspire to be. As a Spider Diarist, I will also make sure to keep you updated on my journey at Richmond!

Why UR?

I actually applied to UR on a whim without researching carefully about it. At that time, all those tedious Why X and "What's your plans bla bla bla" prompts have exhausted my meager creative juices, and writing college essays quickly rose to the top of my most dreaded chores. "Tell us about Spiders" was a fresh air. It revived the truly poetic, hopelessly romantic, exasperatingly dramatic and possibly neurotic side of me. In short, I loved the prompt; and with the waived application fee as a plus, I decided to apply to UR. It was not until I got accepted that I started visiting the school and seriously considering what it has to offer. During my first visit, as cliched as that might sound, I fell in love with Richmond. What's not to love about such helpful and outstanding professors, the wonderful opportunities to engage in research or study abroad, the vibrant, inclusive and diverse community, and again - most importantly - the irresistable desserts? I went to the admission office to pay my deposit right during that visit. And voilà, here I am as an excited baby Spider!