Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Senior Stories

Van “Zoe” Pham

Van “Zoe” Pham, an economics and mathematics double major from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, says her Southwestern Experience was filled with love, laughter and tears, as well as challenges, chances and successes. Described as energetic, hard-working, bold, brave and straight-forward, Zoe graduated feeling content and confident in her future.

What is your biggest take-away from Southwestern?
That I am loved by the Southwestern University community.

What advice do you have for an incoming first-year student?
Be brave and ask questions. Professors don’t bite!

If you could do it over, what would you do differently, or what didn’t you do that you wish you would have?
I’m the type of person who never wants to miss any opportunity. So, I don’t regret anything I did (or didn’t) do during the time I was at Southwestern.

What’s your favorite memory of the University?
I tutored math and finance students at Southwestern, and I usually joked about my life to get them to lighten up. I loved hearing them laugh. Their laughter made me happy!

Do you have any fun, embarrassing or quirky stories about campus life?
When I found out I had been accepted to graduate school, I cried. I told my professors, “Getting into grad school is way better than having a new boyfriend!” and kept on crying.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your time at SU? 
I presented talks at 13 different conferences.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? 
I was able to finish a 13,000-piece jigsaw puzzle in five weeks.

Who was your favorite teacher? 
Dr. Dirk Early, professor of economics. He holds so many titles—Associate Dean of the Brown College of Arts and Sciences, my academic adviser, my economics professor, my mentor and my friend.

Share a guilty pleasure.
I liked to scare the squirrels around campus.

After taking a Caribbean cruise this summer, Zoe headed to Rice University, where she is working on her Ph.D. in economics.