When he was 14 years old and living in Vietnam, Huan Phan, now a soon-to-be graduate of Wright College, started experimenting with the breaker box at his family’s home. While his family temporarily lost their electricity, Huan recalls feeling like “a kid in an electrical candy store” during the experience.

The power came back on moments later, and Huan knew he wanted to pursue a career in electrical engineering. A few years later in 2017, he moved across the world to Chicago in search of opportunities that would allow him to accomplish that dream. Huan recently received good news about one of those opportunities – he was selected as a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which will allow him to earn his bachelor’s degree tuition free.

When Huan found out that he was selected for the award, he thought his advisors were kidding. Then his excitement set in. Huan said he can’t wait to connect with “such a diverse and intelligent cohort” of Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars, which also includes five other students from City Colleges of Chicago. He looks forward to maintaining a strong community with his fellow recipients when he transfers to the Illinois Institute of Technology this fall.

Huan credits his professors and mentors at Wright with preparing him for the transfer, and he’s already taken a course at IIT thanks to the school’s partnership with Wright’s Engineering Pathways program. Additionally, he’s been able to participate in Wright’s chapter of the American Chemical Society, as well as two honor societies – the National Society of Leadership and Success and Phi Theta Kappa – through which he’s built his network and found support during the first two years of his college journey.

While he’s on a remarkable path to success, Huan’s journey hasn’t been easy. Coming to the U.S., he struggled with English and had to adjust to a new culture. To better learn the language, Huan said he spent hours watching college acceptance videos on YouTube. Thanks to the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, Huan now knows the feeling of excitement exhibited by the students in those videos.

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