The Catholic University of America

July 1, 2010

Engineering Student Travels Far to Succeed

2+2 Exchange Program Fosters Rising Stars

  Senior electrical engineering and computer science major Andu Nguyen with the poster he will present in Los Angeles later this month.

When Dung Nguyen steps off the plane in Los Angeles this month to show his prize-winning 3D imaging design at a worldwide conference in computer graphics, it will be the latest but not the longest trip on his journey to academic success.

That trip began in Vietnam when Nguyen, a senior electrical engineering and computer science major, transferred to CUA from the International University of Vietnam for the final two years of his degree in engineering.

Nguyen, nicknamed Andu, came to CUA through the School of Engineering’s 2+2 Program, in which top students from participating universities transfer to CUA to finish their bachelor’s degrees. CUA’s Dean Charles Nguyen has established such programs with schools in Vietnam and Taiwan. Five undergraduate engineering students from Vietnam are now completing their degrees at Catholic University.

“The 2+2 students who came from Vietnam have been outstanding students at CUA with an average cumulative GPA of 3.85-4.0,” says Dean Nguyen, “And, they all have been on the School of Engineering Dean’s List since arriving.”

Andu Nguyen transferred to CUA for the fall 2008 semester, four months after the dean signed a memorandum of understanding with the university Andu was attending in Vietnam. Studying at CUA has given him opportunities unavailable in his home country, he says, for example, the chance to learn and work with cutting-edge technologies, as well as the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate.

Nguyen has flourished, publishing more than half a dozen research papers and working closely with faculty mentor Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Zhaoyang Wang on a high-speed, high-accuracy 3D imaging system. For his work on that design, Nguyen won “Best Project” at CUA’s 2010 Senior Design Day and plans are in the works to apply for patents.

“Andu is a bright and enthusiastic student,” Wang says. “His diligence and creativity have made notable contributions to the research work on exploring the high-speed, high-accuracy three-dimensional imaging technique. He has authored or co-authored a number of conference and journal papers with me, which is uncommon for an undergraduate student.”

The imaging system provides full-field, 3D information, such as dimension, shape, location and distance between objects. It can be used in a number of industries, including entertainment, rapid prototyping, manufacturing and equipment repair. For example, a museum could use it to render objects into a three-dimensional image that could then be posted on a website and rotated by viewers for a complete view.

Nguyen will present information about the project at the Los Angeles conference, to be held July 25–29, a prospect that he finds very exciting. “It will be a great opportunity for me to experience emerging technologies as well as be face-to-face with people in the computer graphics industry and researchers in the field.”

The conference, this year called SIGGRAPH 2010, (which stands for Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) attracts more than 30,000 attendees each year.

“From what I have experienced at CUA,” says Andu Nguyen, “I have made the right decision. I’m very glad I came here.” 

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