Terry Tran: From Combat to the Classroom
Clayton State University takes pride in individuals who have made an impact, in some way, on the school or the community. One such individual is Sieu “Terry” Tran, who is not only a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, but a Clayton State student who holds the position of president of the Clayton State Vietnamese Student Association.
Tran is from Saigon, but grew up in the Metro Atlanta area where he first became aware of Clayton State. His choice of becoming a Clayton State student came from the close proximity of the school to his home and the relaxing environment that the college campus offered.
Tran has had a smooth transition from the battlefield to civilian life due to the faculty and staff at Clayton State. He notes in particular Tina Lake, coordinator of the Veterans Resource Center, and Dr. Michelle Furlong, professor of Biology and chair, Department of Natural Science.
“These individuals helped me through a number of obstacles that would hinder my transfer (to Clayton State). Without them, I would not have been able to attend spring semester of 2014, and my academic progress would have been delayed,” says Tran.
Not only has the staff been a tremendous help, but his professors have had an enormous impact on his college career.
“I have had nothing but great professors here. They have inspired me in every way possible,” he says.
Professors such as Dr. Jim Braun, professor of Chemistry, who introduced him to a new degree, as well as Dr. Paul Melvin, associate professor of Biology and Biology coordinator, Dr. Diane Day, lecturer of Biology, and Dr. Chris Kodani, associate professor of Biology, who opened up his mind to new and intriguing information.
The Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) has given him a sense of security, uniformity and cohesion that he was missing from being in combat. His first experience with the organization was the Annual Charity Dinner where he was able to assist in hosting the event as well as hold the position of the Master of Ceremonies.
“I loved how students came together so well to make the event work. It was out of my expectation,” says Tran.
This event provided the strings that tied him to the organization, as he was so impressed with how well everyone worked for one common goal that he says it was similar to being on the battlefield.
Through the wonderful professors, faculty, staff and fellow members of VSA, Tran has been able to smoothly transition from a hectic environment to a relaxing college experience. He is now able to make his dreams real and possibly assist in the efforts to make other’s dreams real through his expertise, knowledge and desire to become successful.
Tran plans to graduate in 2015 where he then will apply for medical school and possibly become a commissioned officer.