Đồng Ngọc Hà (19), who is an intern at the Center for Life Science Research, Vietnam National University - University of Science (VNU-HUS), was among the 50 finalists of Global Student Prize.
On the evening of September 9th, Đồng Ngọc Hà burst with happiness after surpassing 3500 nominees from 94 countries to be included in the top 50 outstanding students announced by Chegg.org (Global Student Prize).
This is the first year the prize has been organized in partnership between Chegg.org, a US-based educational technology solutions provider, and the Varkey Foundation, a global charity focused on improving educational standards for underprivileged children. Varkey Foundation is also the foundation project that organizes the Global Teacher Prize, which had Ha Anh Phuong - a Vietnamese teacher - in the top 10 last year.
Global Student Prize introduced Đồng Ngọc Hà as an outstanding student of Vietnam. Hà managed to overcome many difficulties in his life through his sheer perseverance in his study when all 4 members of his poverty-stricken family lived in an old, 24 square meters room. His motivation was the story about his mom having to drop out of her school due to social prejudice. He also received other awards such as Labor Medal, Class III, and Silver Medal in the 2020 International Biology Olympiad.
Despite the hardships, Hà still found himself fortunate to be able to study in the top specialized school in Vietnam. Hà wanted to contribute to society with the knowledge he learned and to help those with difficult situations like his.
He has conducted many projects, including Biology For All Vietnam. In this project, he tutored many gifted Biology students from 10 cities and provinces. Despite the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hà was still able to keep his projects running. He also held events to nourish the love of science, especially Biology for students.
Upon seeing his photo and introduction on Chegg.org, Đồng Ngọc Hà was so proud. "I did not expect much because I knew about the award and prepared my profile submission very late. I think this result is the proof that I was on the right track, and that what I did for the community was recognized.”
With this achievement, Hà became a member of Chegg Changemaker, a global student community working together to improve lives. He will have an opportunity to participate in international forums on policies and campaigns affecting students and education.
Hà also has a chance to win 100.000 USD. Hà said if he won he would use that money for Hanoi Maker Faire, a free online tutor system, and to develop his Biology For All project.
2021 was the first year the Global Student Prize is held, aside from Global Teacher Prize. Lila Thomas, Director of Chegg.org, said that the prize was launched to honor students who overcame the difficulties of COVID-19, showing their strengths, focus, and determination in their study and contributing to society.
All nominated students have to be 16 years old and above. They are assessed on their academic achievements, impacts on their peers, how they make a difference in their community and beyond, how they overcome the odds to achieve, how they demonstrate creativity and innovation, and how they become global citizens.