April 23, 2019
Angel Tuong, from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, is a Mathematics major with minors in Economics and French.
When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: out of breath. I was, no joke, panting carrying my stuff to DMC dorm after 20 hours of sleep deprivation, calling my mom in Vietnam on the phone while trying not to break my light in the other hand. Moving in to college by yourself at 17 was breathtaking.
The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: Someone who has a college degree. Besides that, the normal stuff: researched and presented at a math conference, volunteered with APO national service fraternity, performed on stage with McDaniel dance company, was inducted into math, economics and foreign languages honor societies, and was a peer mentor.
My mentor. For life.: Mom who is unfortunately (or fortunately) 9,000 miles away an average of 11 months per year.
Best classes ever: 1. Math Problem Seminar, where I gained skills to solve math and real life problems like patience, logical reasoning and a lot more patience. 2. Gymnastics: The sport I love but never had time for in high school in Vietnam.
Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: “Here on the Hill we do stop climbing.” Take time to look around. Where you’re heading is more important than how fast. Take in the view and help other climbers behind you.
My capstone: "A Combinatorial Interpretation of Extended Binomial Coefficients”
What it’s about: Combinatorics is an area of math focusing on counting. I need to find an intuitive way to prove extended binomial identities through representing these identities as the number of ways to tile a board. Like, how many ways can you tile a rectangular board sized (5x1) using only dominoes (2x1) and squares (1x1)? Try, it’s super simple.
What it’s really about: I am learning how to count. Everyone should too.
Influential books: “The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why” by Dr. Art Benjamin. Fun fact: My favorite combinatorics professor. My copy has his signature in it. Also, “Le Petit Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (There’s an English version so no worries.)
What’s next: Treat myself to Phở and all the Vietnamese food that Glar and my cooking skill has deprived myself of. What’s really next is learning a fourth language (Italian or Japanese, or both) and working part-time to save up while prepping for event management summer internships.