VietNamNet Bridge – Dr Tran Thi Nguyen Ny is a professor and researcher at the HCM City Medicine and Pharmacy University. Last month she was awarded the noble Youth Award of the Group of Francophone Embassies, Delegations and Institutions in Vietnam (GADIF) at the official ceremony of International Francophone Day 2018. She was honoured for her important contributions to the promotion of the French language, to the development of the Francophonie and in particular for her brilliant career despite her young age.
Work mates: Ny (Front row first on the left) poses with her students and colleagues at her faculty. Photos courtesy of Ny
Meeting Ny for the first time you can’t not be impressed.
With her bright eyes, sweet voice, charming smile, and looks that defy her age, it’s hard to believe she is already 37 years old.
And you can add modesty to her many charms. "I only did my job" was her reaction to winning the GADIF Youth Award.
Rewind 20 years, and Ny was a student at the Odonto-Stomatology faculty of the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
It was there she first learned French, a language she loves so much she still uses it in her work and studies today.
In 2011, at only 30 years old, Ny received her PhD degree in Odonto-Stomatology at the prestigious Aix Marseille University in France but decided to come back to work at the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Over the last seven years, she has been in charge of the Francophone Training Programme of the Odonto-Stomatology faculty at her university.
And if running that department isn’t enough, she still finds time to teach dental science to students and coordinate activities between her faculty and universities in France.
Those activities, being supported by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF or Francophone Universities Association), the French Embassy in Vietnam, and several French universities, include the graduate training programmes to Vietnamese dentists, a summer course for French students in HCM City, and important scientific conferences with leading francophone experts of odonto-stomatology.
Ny’s contribution to those activities has been huge.
"I had the chance to collaborate with Ny between 2011 and 2015 while I was head of AUF’s HCM City office,” said Régis Martin, administrator of AUF in Asia-Pacific region.
“Together, we worked to revive and strengthen the francophone training in odonto-stomatology in her faculty.
“This has made it possible to attract a growing number of students thanks to an international recognition and to make her faculty shine within the French-speaking university community.”
“But apart from this success in inter-university cooperation, it was above all a pleasure to work with this young, brilliant, dynamic, French-speaking scientist devoted to the success of her students and her university.”
Recognition: The Belgian ambassador (left), also president of GADIF, and the ambassador of Morocco, vice-president of GADIF (right), presents the GADIF Youth Award to Tran Thi Nguyen Ny. VNS Photo Vuong Bach Lien
Family time: Ny poses with her family.
A brilliant study and career path
Ny, along with her brother who also also received his odontology PhD in France, were hailed as the “pride” of Kon Tum Province where they were born and grew, for their outstanding academic and professional achievements.
She already proved to be an excellent student at high school.
In 2004, thanks to her top class dissertation at the end of her studies at HCM City University, she won a scholarship of the AUF to do the first year of her master’s at Aix-Marseille University.
The following year, she won a scholarship from the French Government to complete her second cycle.
Back in Vietnam, Ny was recruited as a teacher-researcher in her home school. Then, in 2007, thanks to a research scholarship, she began her PhD at Aix-Marseille University while occupying a position of practitioner attached to hospital services of the Regional Hospital Center (CHR) of Marseille for two and a half years.
In March 2011, she successfully defended her thesis on "Detection of Old Bacteria from the Pulp" which has been followed by numerous scientific publications.
Ny was especially noticed by an internationally recognized patent on an identification process entitled "Method for Identifying the Mammalian Animal Species at the Origin of Proteins Contained in a Sample being Tested.”
The patent is part of her thesis in France under the guidance of Prof Michel Drancourt and Dr Gerard Aboudharam from the university.
“This method consists of using protein in the pulp to identify animal species,” she said.
“It can be applied in archeology or to identify animal species in case its body was damaged. This patent is mostly used in research.”
"Live your passion"
Ni fondly recalls the six years spent in France as a ‘precious time’ learning both in her professional and personal life.
Being so far away from home was not easy but she counts herself lucky because of the great support she received from her family and friends.
“And I was lucky to read a lot of interesting specialist books that have helped me overcome my difficulties and the time went really quickly,” she added.
She turned down a number of opportunities in France to come home to Vietnam.
“It was not a difficult choice,” she said.
“Though I know that I can develop better my career in France, I wanted to come back to my homeland to be closer to my family. I really love to teach students, and to treat patients.”
“Plus I cannot take a meal without fish sauce and chili,” she joked.
And the secret to her success?
“To live my passion. Believe in myself and do my duty with the society."
"Be demanding with yourself and you should not be happy with what you have achieved. But at the same time, take it easy, be happy with what you have."
by Vuong Bach Lien