Thanh (Vi) Tran

Biography Paragraphs
Vi Tran

Vi is a 6th year PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University’s  School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Her dissertation research focuses on improving the quality of life for children with Cleft palate through designing a new specialized feeding system and using computational modeling methods to study their oral anatomy biomechanics post-reconstructive surgery. 

Throughout her PhD training, Vi has mentored undergraduate and first-year graduate students.  She was on the department student council, Graduate Biomedical Engineering Society (GBMES), where she served as Recruitment Chair. Additionally, she is a founding member working to establish the American Society of Biomechanics Chapter at UVA. Furthermore, she was an organizer and facilitator of outreach events such as National Biomechanics Day and TechGirls in the Charlottesville community. She is a participant of the Biomedical Engineering’s Going Pro program, which focuses on preparing PhD students for non-academic careers, particularly in industry. 

Vi is one of two PhD Plus Liaison from Biomedical Engineering Department in 2020-2021. Alongside her fellow PhD+ Liaisons, Vi will collaborate with institutional and departmental teams on the broader goals of the AAU PhD Education initiative; namely, to make the full range of PhD career pathways visible, valued and viable for all students. As a PhD Plus Liaison for the AAU PhD Education initiative, Vi wants to give back to the graduate community and improve the PhD training to support graduate students, not just at UVA, but at the national level. Vi is thankful for the professional development opportunities afforded to her through the Going Pro program and PhD Plus that helped identify her career goals and plan to advance those goals. Initially, she was struggling with formalizing her career interest due to a misconception that academia is the most valued career for PhD graduates in comparison to other meaningful careers. Her professional development experience since has inspired her to support her peers in getting the exposure and opportunities to develop professional skills valued in their respective dream careers, whatever those may be.  


As a professional development experience for advanced graduate students, PhD Plus Liaison program affords the opportunity to collaborate with department leaders and PhD Plus administrators to identify ways in which field-specific training and education can be enhanced through the implementation of programs, practices, and activities broadly related to professional development. 

In 2020-2021, eight liaisons will provide student leadership on the University's AAU PhD Education initiative and represent the four participating departments: Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, English and Religious Studies.