Skip to main content
Viet Bui
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Viet M. Bui

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Stadium High School, Tacoma, Wash.

Hometown: Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Majors: Engineering physics; computer science

Minor: Mathematics

Activities: Augustana Web Guild; EDGE project manager; physics, computer science, math tutor; Augustana Physics and Engineering Society; Water Polo Club; Vietnamese Student Association; Sigma Pi Sigma (physics); al-Khwarizmi Society (computer science); American Physics Society

Internships: Augustana Summer Research Fellowship; Augustana's EDGE Center

Post-grad plans: Pursue working in a related industry and continuing on to a graduate program with a focus on computer-mathematical modeling into renewable systems and materials.

Why Augustana?

The name Augustana first came to my attention during my first year in the U.S. through an exchange program. One of the high school alumni who attended Augustana returned to our school during winter break to visit us. I also have a close friend in the U.S., and we decided to consider Augustana for our college plans. Liz Nino from Augustana international admissions reached out to me personally, and I felt a connection with the campus right away.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

There have been a lot of changes since I came to the campus. I can't believe that I am an engineering physics major, and I found a wholesome group of physics and engineering friends that I dearly love and am grateful to have, and that is also my biggest reason for declaring the major during my first year. Although there were a lot of ups and downs, I love all the people and friends that I made throughout my college years.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There would be no “me now” without the support of all my peers and friends.

I want to thank Dr. Joshua Dyer, who patiently allowed me to drop and then pick up my engineering physics major again at the end of my first year and recommended jobs and opportunities for my post-grad journey.

Doug Tschopp and Andy Shearouse welcomed me on board at the EDGE Center and Augustana Web Guild. I also want to thank all the people I met in EDGE, my co-project manager Caitlin Campbell and Maddy Snyder.

Dr. Jackie Opfer, thank you so much for trusting and motivating me to pursue graduate programs. Thank you Dr. Civiletti for mentoring me in thin-film solar cells research. I am also grateful to Dr. Nathan Frank and Dr. Cecilia Vogel for inspiring me and sharing ideas and thoughts. 

I thank and appreciate the energy from Dr. James van Howe, who guided me during my senior year in physics.

Thank you Pastor Melinda for the fun and insightful experiences during Holden J-term and beyond.

Peak experience?

Three major peak experiences have marked my time here:
• Summer Research Fellowship with Dr. Jackie Opfer: I had the opportunity to design, build and field-test a scientific aquatic research station.
• Holden J-term: I learned and lived in one of the most sustainable communities in the U.S.
• Designing, building and displaying origami interactive art: I created this piece for an exhibition during my third year here.

What surprised you?

How short it feels. And there is always something new every semester. Making friends never stopped after my first year. It continued throughout the semesters.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice for my Holden J-term, and it was the best $2,000 that I spent. Seriously. Because the skills and experience that I learned from that trip are non-measurable. I can do pottery, Scandinavian Sloyd woodcarving, carpentry and cross-country skiing.

What will you miss the most?

What I miss will hit when I am not around the campus anymore so yes, I think I will miss everything here. The most interesting that I will miss besides my social circle will be all the geocaches around our campus.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

In my first three years at Augustana, I maxed out credits each semester, which helped me complete my double major and minor. However, I wish I could have allocated more credits and time to pursue the arts. While being well-planned is important, sometimes spontaneous decisions can bring unexpected joy.

"Viet found the EDGE Center early in his time at Augustana. He has been an intern all the way through college, designing and developing websites for clients. Our summer interns work full-time, and Viet spent his first summer building on his already strong code and design skills. He followed that with a second summer developing management skills and leading our intern team. Some lucky company is about to hire a top website developer, and we will miss him a lot."

– Doug Tschopp, director of the Entrepreneurial (EDGE) Center and instructor of communication studies