Ngo lands prestigious U.S. honor


Few people go into college knowing exactly what they want to do.

But between the time you declare your major and graduate, you want to experience a moment when you know you’ve made the right choice.

Biochemistry senior Tiffany Tieu Ngo is currently having that moment.

This December, senior Tiffany Tieu Ngo will be attending the United Nation’s Framework for Climate Change in Poland.

Ngo is one of eight U.S. students chosen to attend the event.

She is looking forward to experiencing Polish cuisine while conversing with world leaders in the field of science and policy making.

Climate change has always been a point of consciousness for Ngo but her initial interest in science was never directly connected to it.

Ngo’s fascination with science started in high school when she realized that she liked biology and chemistry.

Having a passion for both sciences, she decided on majoring in biochemistry and exploring what options that might provide.

Now that she is a senior, Ngo knows that she eventually would like to do something in industry, more specifically, cosmetics or pharmacy.

Although those two sectors may seem far away from climate change, in the big scheme of things they aren’t. They both relate to the environment, she said.

Ngo initially didn’t even know about the conference, though she always wanted to do something with climate change to help the average person understand its importance.

She learned of the conference through a former Detroit Mercy student, Justin Pothoof, who attended the conference last year.

“He told me about it and really pushed me to apply,” she said. “And my research advisor Dr. (Mark) Benvenuto.”

Her initial interest in science didn’t grow out of climate change, but the idea of what she could do with climate change came to her through Detroit Mercy.

“I feel like people don’t really know about the application to get students to go, but because here we are such a tight-knit group at UDM with professors and students we really do help each other,” she said. “If I went to a bigger university I probably wouldn’t talk to my professors or know about any (such) opportunities.”

Knowing what she knows now, Ngo believes that she made the right choice picking Detroit Mercy for her undergraduate degree.

Ngo was like many people when she got to university.

She had selected her major but didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do with it.

Along her journey she figured it out and took advantage of the opportunities given to her.

Her advice to anyone still trying to figure out their college path: “Do everything. Participate in everything. Don’t limit yourself. If you don’t experience anything, you’ll never know. Be open-minded and don’t close doors that could be opportunities for you later in life.”