I majored in French and English Literature at Yale, where I discovered my interest in 19th- and 20th century novels in both literary traditions – particularly, how the novel genre engages with politico-historical upheavals of modernity. I wrote my French senior thesis on literary and film representations of what is now known as the exodus of 1940: a mass migration of French civilians as they left their homes in Paris and other parts of northern France and headed south to escape the invading German army. At Oxford, I will continue exploring the intersection of literature and history. I am especially fascinated by experiments in narrative structure and temporality as well as in representations of consciousness, and how these stylistic innovations might relate to individual engagement with world-historical processes. For my dissertation, I plan to focus on these themes in the works of Flaubert, Proust, Woolf, and Dos Passos. Writing my undergraduate thesis also piqued my interest in history and memory in French literature of the Occupation, which I will also explore during my master’s degree.
During my undergraduate years, I tried out various careers – from media relations to museum education to civil rights advocacy. I was also active in the Vietnamese Students Association at Yale, and I played violin in a college orchestra. At Oxford, I will continue playing (if I can get my hands on a violin!), and I hope to pick up tennis again, after a hiatus of several years. I am very grateful for the Ertegun Scholarship – and I strive to reflect that sentiment in my academic and extracurricular work at Oxford