Women of Distinction


Cindy Vu (Middle)

Liang, Vu and Ketchum


  • Research Assistant for the Physical Sciences-Oncology Center at Northwestern University, Summer 2011
  • Center for Community Outreach EARTH Co-Coordinator, 2009-‘10
  • Watkins-Berger Scholar
  • Alternative Spring Break: 2011
  • KU Society of Women Engineers – Activities Chair: 2010-2011
  • KU Research Experience for Undergraduates – Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory: Summer 2010
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society: 2009-Present
  • Dennis E. Rieger Scholarship Hall – New Woman of the Year: 2009, Community Service Chair: 2009-2010, Food Board Manager: 2010-Present
  • KU National Residence Hall Honorary – Kenneth L. Stoner Rising Star Award: 2009, Service Director: Fall 2009
  • KU School of Engineering Dean’s Honor Roll: 2008-Present
  • OCA-Verizon College Scholar: 2008

How I became interested in my field:

Ever since I was in elementary school, I have enjoyed learning from my math and science classes. While in high school, I began volunteering at a local hospital and developed a great appreciation for those who work to improve the health of others. These experiences have influenced me to become involved in my community and to aspire to a life of service. My pursuit of an engineering degree and a career in medicine perfectly combines all of my interests.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me:

My alternative spring break experience at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind is very meaningful to me and is also my favorite memory as a KU student. I took a great leap away from my comfort zone when I decided to go on that trip. Driving across the country for twenty hours with six strangers to volunteer with people who are deaf, blind, or multi-handicapped, I had no idea what to expect.

All my hesitations soon faded I started meeting the people at SCSDB. It was very inspiring to meet the teachers who are dedicated to educating these children not only in the usual school subjects but also in how to live with their disabilities. The kids were so fun to interact with whether they were teaching me some phrases in sign language or handing me my imaginary cane in order to walk down the hallway. I left South Carolina with new friendships and great memories that I will hold always on to.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

My parents are definitely my role models. As Vietnamese immigrants, they came to the United States knowing that they would have to start new lives and work hard in order to provide for themselves and for their family. Because of them, my siblings and I grew up in a good home and are receiving college educations. Through their actions and experiences, my parents have taught me that anything is possible.

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:

One of my best friends, Alejandra Villa has had a significant impact on my life. As residents of Dennis E. Rieger Scholarship Hall who lived right down the hallway from each other, Alejandra and I met during our sophomore year and our friendship quickly grew. Alejandra’s sincerity, support, quirkiness, and drive never cease to surprise me. I am blessed to have someone like her as a friend.

An important life lesson I have learned:

Things change even if you did not expect them to or want them to. While embracing these changes and learning from them may be difficult, it is what you must do in order to really live.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know…

Get out there! Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way and get involved with things that interest you. It may seem scary at first, but trust me. It’s worth it.

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

“Life is a journey and only you hold the map.”

Why not have an adventure?