- ABOUT US
Dr. Nathan Duc-Thang Vo, from Tien Giang, Vietnam, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering. He gained his Master’s (2014) and his Ph.D. (2018) at Taiwan Tech, and has been teaching Chemical Engineering courses in the International Advanced Technology Program, an international undergraduate program, since 2018.
Nathan is the President of the NTUST International Alumni Association in Taiwan, and engages actively in Vietnamese community organizations.
My ”unplanned” career at Taiwan Tech
I have been in Taiwan now for more than ten years, although that has never been my plan: When I came to Taiwan Tech in 2011, I knew very little about Taiwan. It was my Professor at Ho Chi Minh University of Technology / Vietnam National University, where I was studying for my Master’s degree, who suggested that I should further my studies in Taiwan. She had visited Taiwan Tech to build up a university partnership and was convinced that Taiwan Tech would be a good environment for me. And she was right! Compared to my university in Vietnam at that time, Taiwan Tech had much better resources, such as a full-fledged research library, well-equipped laboratories, and I was granted a scholarship.
Also, Taiwan Tech has a big Vietnamese student community which made my student life very pleasant. The only negative side-effect is that my Chinese is still quite basic after all these years … But, since Taiwan Tech campus is such an international hub, Chinese is not really needed. It is easy to get everything done in English!
When I graduated from Taiwan Tech with my second Master’s degree - I also managed to finish my Master’s Program in Vietnam – I realized that I wanted to stay in Taiwan. Thus, I was happy to follow my advisor’s suggestion - Professor Cheng-Kang Lee - to do a doctorate at Taiwan Tech which I completed within four years. And when I received the offer for the teaching position at Taiwan Tech courses in the International Advanced Technology Program, I didn’t hesitate to accept. At the moment I don’t have plans to return to Vietnam. I am very satisfied with the working conditions at Taiwan Tech, and I like life in Taiwan which is convenient and culturally quite similar to Vietnam.
Engaging in the Vietnamese community to share experiences
I want to share my experiences with Vietnamese students that’s why I am engaging in the Vietnamese community in my free time; for example, I am the President of the Vietnam Innovative and Intellectual Network in Taiwan, and the Chairman of the Viet Information Centre in Taiwan. Through these organizations, I can reach out to the Vietnamese community in Taiwan, and to young people in Vietnam who are interested in studying in Taiwan.
I know of fourteen Vietnamese nationals who are currently holding teaching positions in Taiwan, and eight of them graduated from Taiwan Tech! I fully support Taiwan Tech’s international recruitment drive, and I believe that positions could be even more attractive for international faculty if they would come with some sort of fringe benefits - like housing subsidies.
Also, quite important, assistant professor positions should offer enough time, resources and the necessary facilities to do research which is essential for a future career in academia. Another suggestion would be to reorganize departmental office spaces: Now offices are often spread out over several buildings on the campus, that’s quite detrimental for department-internal communication.
Ambitious plans for the NTUST International Alumni Association
As President of the newly established NTUST International Alumni Association in Taiwan, I have ambitious plans to connect big national alumni organizations in Taiwan and abroad to create a large international network of NTUST alumni. Like that, we can really reach out to many people and create an impact. We want to be the bridge between international alumni and Taiwan Tech, so we are planning to cooperate with the Office of International Affairs on hosting Career Counselling Sessions for students and other events. The Taiwanese media seem to be very interested in this project, and have invited me for interviews and written about this new association which is the first of its kind in Taiwan. I am really proud of this!