Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Computer Science


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

About Me

The Richmond Guarantee

November 6, 2017

The first time I met with my academic advisor at UR to discuss registration details, she asked me if I had any specific plans for using the Richmond Guarantee funding. To be honest, even though I had read about the Richmond Guarantee and even discussed it in my “Why UR” answer during the admission interview, I was caught off guard by her question. From its application process to its requirements, there were a lot of details I was still unclear about.

Of course, now being the old, wise sophomore, I am much more familiar with the Richmond Guarantee. In fact, I spent last summer working on a Computer Science research project thanks to this $4000 fellowship. The application process was not intimidating as I initially thought – I only had to write 2 paragraphs about the project topic and my tentative roles, get them reviewed by my professor and submitted the forms in late January. Good news: as far as I know, most applications for faculty-mentored research usually get accepted. So if you delineate your purpose clearly and have a concrete idea of what you will use the funding towards, then it’s pretty much “guaranteed”. It’s not only for research, either. Some students prefer to apply this fellowship to internships at local companies or non-profit organizations, and that is encouraged as well. UR does support its students pretty well with regard to professional opportunities; and the Richmond Guarantee, in particular, makes it easier for us to further our education or gain hands-on experiences in the summer.

I think my professor heard back from the committee in several weeks, and all of the students on my research team got the funding we applied for. Then, we had to sign an award contract, submit all required documentation and paperwork, and attend a one-hour long orientation. During the orientation, they explained in more details how the $4000 would get paid in a biweekly interval at a $10 hourly rate; how you are supposed to submit your hours through Bannerweb every two weeks based on the payroll calendar; and general expectations for professionalism. We also completed an experiential learning form that discusses our goals pre-research, so that we could revisit it after the summer ends and put our progress into perspectives. 

As for housing, most student researchers I know who opted to live in an apartment would get assigned to University Forest Apartments. It was a pretty nice place to live! I had fonds memories of watching Lizzie Mcguire in the living room with friends, having a taco party and cooking ramen late at night together. Having a kitchen forced me to learn cooking and do my groceries rather than relying on DHall all the times, but I actually really enjoyed it. They used a key system, however, which was not geared towards us forgetful types. But being locked out, and trying to catch my suitemate’s attention through the windows by making funny faces was also a good summer memory. 

Students who received the Richmond Guarantee funding are also required to present their research projects at the Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Symposium in the spring. I haven’t done that yet, but I did present my research project at a colloquium in Jepson, and I visited the Fall Symposium in Gottwald. Gottwald on that day was filled with student posters; at each one there would be students who directly worked on the projects to explain their research to — and answer questions from — any curious attendees. In particular, my friends Melissa and Lindsey patiently explained to me how they synthesized new ligands and metal complexes to reduce carbon dioxide to methanol. My chemistry knowledge is sadly too limited to expand on that, but through the data they showed, their project is making very meaningful progress! Kudos to them for their hard work this summer!


I don’t have a lot of tips except to enjoy the experience and make the most out of your summer! Remember to submit your hours on a biweekly basis too; otherwise, you will have to fill out a late form. I personally am very grateful for the Richmond Guarantee, as it allowed me to work on a cool research project about graphics simulation of multi-agent systems, to gain more experiences working with a large-scale code base and debugging, as well as to learn entirely new programming languages through actual practice. Just as importantly, I got closer to my research team after 10 weeks of working together, going out for lunches, or for Wonder Woman and bowling after work. My coworkers, some of whom I did not know so well prior to the summer, are now my best friends. The knowledge I gained through summer research is definitely valuable, but the friendship, inside jokes and memories we had also meant a lot to me.

Research team

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!