Loan Anh Tran '18

Loan Anh Tran '18

Cross Country
Track & Field
Red Cross Club (President)
Musical Theater
Model UN

Hometown: Randolph
Attending: Brown University

What are your plans next year?

I’m going to Brown. I’m planning on studying computer science there.

Has Thayer helped shape those plans for you?

Oh, definitely. When I came in to Thayer in 6th grade, I was pretty sure that I was going to become a surgeon. Then I took Intro to Programming my sophomore year, and I loved it. Thayer taught it so well, I was blown away, and then completely changed my plan. 

When you think of Thayer, what's the first thing you think of?

I think of the strong community of both students and teachers. The atmosphere that the community creates helped me grow so much as a person. When I entered in 6th grade, I was so shy, I didn't participate in anything. I just wanted to focus on school and just go through the motions. Thayer's really opened me up. As I talked about with computer science, it really changed my future, I'd say.

What was your most challenging class at Thayer?

Probably Intro to Programing with Mr. Goldstein because when I went in, I had zero experience with it. I was going to drop the class in the first week, because I was honestly failing. It was just a hard combination of problem solving and math, and it was completely different than anything I'd ever taken before. But I just stuck with it, and it turned out well, because now I'm planning to study it in college.

Who was your most challenging teacher?

Mr. Forrest, in Pre-Calculus Honors. That class is legendarily hard. He teaches you the basics of what you need to know, but then, in tests, he'll make you form all these crazy connections. He teaches you enough, so you should know how to do it, and then it's up to you to solve the rest. It taught me how to become more than just a student who sat in classes; it taught me to become a problem solver. That was really challenging for me, but now it paid off.

What was your favorite book that you read at Thayer?

It was probably the play Six Degrees of Separation. I'm not the biggest fan of plays, but then Ms. Hayman made me consider all these different themes that ran through it. 

What was your most memorable academic experience?

In Intro to Programming, I really struggled in the beginning and I always thought I was a really bad student in that class; but in the end, I got a really challenging final project to do. If you do well in the final project, you can get an A, but then there's an extra credit section, and that's the only way you can get an A+. No one in that class had ever gotten the extra credit portion, but I got it after hours of hard work. I was so proud. It was the culmination of a year of struggle and challenges.

What advice would you give incoming freshmen?

Utilize and appreciate everything Thayer has to offer. Thayer has so many opportunities and connections that students really should take advantage of. I was able to participate in the Independent Summer Research program because past students formed really strong connections with MIT and BUI researched in the neurology computer science lab at BU, and I developed a test that could potentially help diagnose Alzheimer's, using visual cues. It combined neurology and computer science. It was so interesting,  and I couldn't have done it without Thayer's resources.

How did Thayer Middle School help prepare you for the Upper School?

It was so helpful. The Middle School was structured in a good way. It wasn't overbearing, but it really did help me transform into a good student. The teachers  taught you how to study, and they taught me how to work hard and be a good student. I really think it helped me succeed in the high school.

What's your favorite food in the dining hall?

Ever since Chef Doug came back, I will eat anything he puts out on the table, but probably his shepherd's pie.