Van Truong, MS Ed ’15 candidate, was a co-founder of her own nonprofit long before her enrollment at the School of Education. Working as an intern in Washington DC, Van met Silvia Raithel, where they quickly began cultivating their interest in education, specifically in Myanmar. In August of 2012, Van and Silvia co-founded the New Education Highway (NEH), a 501(C)(3) nonprofit. The vision of the organization is for all individuals to have access to an open, quality education allowing them to gain the confidence and skills they need to actively improve their societies and communities. NEH uses technology, community partnerships, open educational resources, targeted teacher-training, and sample teaching materials to provide this access.
In her role at NEH, Van helps to oversee the operations of NEH, including working with teachers, coordinators, and interns to track student progress and discover areas of improvement, as well as periodically visiting centers for on-site observations and meetings. It was the founding and management of NEH that prompted Van to pursue an advanced degree at JHU SOE as she “saw the potential of how technology could be useful in those communities” and “wanted to see how technology could be used to increase and maintain student engagement and motivation in learning.” Participating in the full-time, online program has allowed Van the flexibility to work on NEH as well as pursue her MS in Education. Van especially enjoys learning from her fellow SOE students. Networking with her colleagues has allowed her to develop ideas that have been specifically designed for, and applied to, NEH’s classes and operations.
In 2004 and 2005, Van was invited by Oracle’s ThinkQuest, an international website competition, to present at the Consortium for School Networking Conference and the National Education Computer Conference. She and her teammates were winners of the competition for the creation of their website SARS: An Open Scar, where they demonstrated the impact of various skills through through online, project-based learning as opposed to learning that occurs in a traditional classroom setting.
In the future, Van hopes to expand NEH’s educational and community outreach, working in the U.S. and other countries.