STU student wins more than full-ride to Western University

    Giao Dang, a fourth-year economics student at St. Thomas University, was accepted into Western University’s PhD-stream master's program in economics for September 2021. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    Giao Dang was in her home in Fredericton when she found out about her scholarship offer from Western University in Ontario. She didn’t expect to find out until the end of March because the website said the final results would be posted around then. But on Feb. 22, Dang screamed in her room when she received her acceptance letter.

    “My housemates were taken aback and were like ‘what the hell,'” said Dang. “It means a lot.”

    Dang, a fourth-year St. Thomas University economics student from Vietnam, was offered admission into Western University’s PhD-stream master’s program in economics for September 2021.

    But this isn’t the first time Dang has won a full-ride at a Canadian university. In 2017, she won STU’s Chancellor’s International Scholarship, which covered her tuition and room. She said the scholarship was the biggest influence when choosing to attend STU.

    Western University offered Dang around $46,000 in total funding. 

    The funding from Western University covers a minimum of a full master’s international tuition plus fees of at least $21, 719 conditional on satisfactory progress in the program, but will match any changes to tuition costs. She’ll also receive additional funding of $16,848 conditional on meeting the university’s conditions for progression towards the degree. She is also being offered a one-time Dean’s Entrance Scholarship of $2,400 and a possible $5,000 bonus if she passes the PhD qualifying exams in the summer of 2022 and enrols in the PhD program for fall 2022. 

    Though Dang has yet to decide if she will be accepting the offer at Western University because she’s still waiting to hear from six other universities, she said it still means a lot to her.

    “I really want to pursue a PhD program in Canada,” said Dang. “Western gave me the opportunity to take first-year PhD courses during my master’s.”

    Normally, a master’s degree is required before pursuing a PhD, Dang said, making Western a standout among her other choices. If she decides to go to Western, she’ll finish her PhD in six years and hopefully become an economics professor. 

    “Western is known for its very competitive funding packages for graduate studies,” she said. “So that’s why I applied.”

    She’ll be guaranteed her funding while she attends Western, but she must pass her PhD qualifying exams to transfer to the PhD program.

    Dang wasn’t always as passionate about economics as she is now. Originally, she wanted to major in political science. She credits her introduction course professor Fariba Solati for inspiring her in her macroeconomics class. 

    Solati, who is also Dang’s honours thesis supervisor, said Dang has been a top-five student in her classes. She described Dang as an exceptionally hard worker and a dedicated student.

    “[Dang] seeks to challenge herself and continuously looks for ways to improve her abilities and skills,” Solati said. “She is an impressive student.”

    Solati is proud of all of her students who do well and expected Dang to be one of them. She said she hasn’t been surprised from her success, saying her hard work to achieve her goals are the keys to her success.

    “I found [Dang] to be a very focused student,” said Solati.

    Dang said Solati was the most wonderful economics professor she’s ever had.

    “I’m still interested in politics,” said Dang. “But [Solati’s] lectures are very fascinating and I think she inspired me to pursue an academic career in economics.”