Featured Students

Featured Student: Hahn Dihn


  • Name: Hanh Dinh
  • Year: Graduate Student
  • Major: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Best movie you’ve seen recently or favorite movie: the Jungle Book
  • Favorite thing to get (eat or drink) on campus: Sushi
  • Favorite books you’ve read recently: You are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Quirky Fact: My favorite cartoon character is Dory, the forgetful fish from Finding Nemo, because I like her saying: “Keep swimming!” Whenever I feel I need more energy to do something new, I will say to myself: “Keep swimming!” and the inspiration for a new idea will come up.
  • Coolest experience in Murray: Joining the radio show of WKMS and talking about Vietnam


Tell us about yourself:

I am a graduate student in the TESOL program. This is my third semester and I have been enjoying it so far. I had a BA in TESOL at the University of Pedagogy, and I taught English for two years in Ho Chi Minh before I came here. I love teaching and experiences with teaching English for young learners, high school students, and adults. It is a great chance for me to make friends and listen to the stories of people from different backgrounds. Right now, I am doing my observation in the ESL program at Woods Hall for Practicum class and I am eager to teach at Calloway Adult Education Center for my Internship.

Coming from one of the biggest cities in Vietnam with such a dynamic pace of life, I find myself interested in a wide variety of activities. Thus, to further develop my professional aspect, I work as a Graduate Assistant for my program. After class, I join in a variety of activities to experience American culture and stay active. I am the president of the International Students Organization and a member of honor society called Phi Kappa Phi. My new hobbies since coming here have been joining Zumba classes and experiencing different American cultural activities.

Why Murray State?

When I looked for a quality program in my field, the TESOL Program in Murray State University came up as one of the top results. I was very happy to look at the various subjects I would have a chance to learn with a supportive and professional faculty team. Especially one where the professors included both American professors and international professors. They would give me great insights in the field from varied perspectives. The university also provided a lot of chances for graduate students to find on-campus jobs and research scholarships.

In addition, the brochure of MSU came up with the beautiful scenes of campus and a great blend between academic study and nature. Murray was also voted as one of the friendliest towns. I thought it would be a perfect environment for me to focus on study and making social relationships with international and local friends. This was also my first time studying abroad, so Murray State University was an ideal start.


Click here to listen to Hahn Dinh’s interview at WKMS!

What recent projects have you been working on? 

What I expected has come true. Since the first semester, professor Ho-Ryong Park encouraged me to join in a project to present at a Kentucky TESOL Conference. I was really excited to do my first professional presentation with my professor. We had a project on Open Resources for English Language Teaching. Then, I did another research with my classmate, Nate Brelsford, on Dogme Approach in ESL classrooms.

From a small-scale final research project in the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) class with Dr. Park, I was encouraged by him to submit the proposal for the TESOL Conference in Baltimore. I was very happy that the proposal was accepted, so I and my co-presenter, Nhu Le, went to Baltimore and present what we did. Our topic was about applying digital storytelling into teaching writing. It was a professional event for ESL/EFL teachers all around the world, so it was a great honor for me to be there, presenting my project, sharpening my presentation skills and receiving great feedback from them. It was also a wonderful chance for me to build my network and meet renowned authors and professors in the field. I experienced a lot of helpful workshops, innovative presentations and especially meetings with professionals. The event also introduced a lot of technological advances in language learning in the Electronic Village  as well as updated materials for teachers and students.

What do you like best about your experience as a TESOL graduate student in MSU?

There will be one more semester and then I will finish my studies here in Murray, yet I will never forget all the professors I have had a chance to study with. I was a little bit nervous when I first came here, yet professor Park was a great mentor to encourage me to try my hand at research projects. Professor Trites guided me on how to compose a good test and effectively assess students’ learning. Professor Xia took me and my classmates on a field trip to Marshall High School where we could experience a real classroom study environment and design our own curriculum. Professor Song always challenged us intellectually, inspired us to try a new role as a researcher, and finish a small-scale research project under her enthusiastic guidance. When I need advice or have any questions, I know that my professors are by my side and they are always willing to give me a helping hand.

Besides, my classmates are all amazing. I learn the passion for teaching from them and I love the chances to discuss and work with them on our class projects. Because they come from different cultural backgrounds and have different teaching experiences, they teach me a lot of different teaching styles and teaching philosophies. Those will always be great memories for me and become my inspiration for my career in the future.

What are you looking to do next?

First of all, I am looking forward to doing my teaching internship in the next semester. I also hope that I can use my time wisely to experience more, learn more, and make higher quality projects. In the near future, I hope to go further in my field. Let’s see if I can make my dream to have my PhD come true in the next few years. 🙂



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