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Jasmine Trang Ha

August 1, 2019

Jasmine Trang Ha (PhD ‘18, sociology) is a fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. “People tend to view international students as tourists, and that view overlooks their concurrent day-to-day experience as migrants living for several years in an increasingly restrictive immigration regime. My research shows the impact of the migrant experience on international students' migration patterns both into and within the United States.” The Don A. Martindale Fellowship supported her studies at the U.

Where are you from? What brought you to the U?

I grew up in Vietnam, and I obtained my undergraduate degree in Singapore. I was attracted to the U's prestigious sociology program. I went to the U for doctorate training in sociology, which sets me on the path to become an educator and researcher in an academic setting.

What are you working on now?

I am currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Demography at Australian National University. My research improves the quality, availability, and usage of international migration data. I also teach classes on migration, globalization, and population studies.

What motivates you? What difference do you hope to make in the world?

Higher education was a life-changing experience for me, and I hope to provide a similar experience to others. I hope to foster critical thinking, which I believe is the basis for understanding and collaboration in our world. Critical thinking is especially important now that we have too much data/information to comprehend on any given social issue.

How did your time in the College of Liberal Arts help prepare you for your career? 

I'm grateful for the mentorship from several experienced academics in CLA. Having seen their work up close, I have the basic ingredients to jump-start my own academic career.

What is something you learned as a student that you use in your work today?

There are several things, but if I have to pick one, I think it's the attitude towards social problems. As a sociology student, I was taught to see and understand the complexity of social issues, and also to appreciate that any intervention effort (e.g., policy, grassroots movement) is our collective "best answer" to a given issue at a given time. That also means we can always strive to be better. That's the spirit that I carry into my classes and my research.

How did your time in the College of Liberal Arts help prepare you for living and working in a connected, global community?

As an international student, I really appreciated the welcoming and supportive environment in CLA and at the U. Through the past seven years, one key realization is that what's new for me as an international student is also new for my host. That realization helps foster curiosity, helpfulness, and kindness in my interaction with classmates, mentors, and colleagues at CLA. That also prepares me well to take on new adventures.

You received support from donors while you were a student at the U. What does that support mean to you now?

I received the Don Martindale scholarship in the final year of my doctorate program. It recognizes excellence in graduate scholarship and achievement throughout the sociology graduate student career. It was really great to have my work acknowledged through such an important award. I was on the market for jobs then, so the award might enhance my profile to prospective employers. It was also really useful to spend on professional copyediting at that stage in my grad-school career.