Scholar Stage

Hoan (Lana) Thi LaHoan (Lana) Thi La

Degree: Master of Public Administration
Hometown: Lao Cai, Vietnam
Previous University (for Bachelor's Degree): Academy of Journalism and Communication

About Hoan

Hoan (Lana) Thi La is a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in public administration at Murray State University from Lao Cai, Vietnam. This is her story.

Activities and Organizations

I am a member of Phi Kappa Phi and the International Student Organization (ISO). What I enjoy most about being a member of these groups is to get the opportunity to network. Taking part in these activities is a great way to balance school and a social life, giving my mind a break from studies. They have also provided me experiences to get out of my shell and to learn how to engage with diverse groups of people.


What do you plan to do after graduation?

Before I came to Murray State, I had worked as an editor for a scientific organization under the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam for four years. After getting into the MPA program at Murray State, I started being passionate about politics and policymaking. After graduation, I would love to get involved with jobs related to my degree — especially public policy.  

How do you define success?

For me, success is knowing what I want in life, doing the best that I can with what I have and achieving the things I really love. My success is measured by how happy I am.

Why did you select Murray State?

I applied for admission to MPA programs at different universities but chose Murray State because the University was the first to send me an admission letter, giving me more time to apply for a visa and to prepare before departure. Another reason is that Murray State has a friendly and responsive staff. They replied to me really quickly and provided all the information I requested. They made me feel very welcomed. When I came here, I knew I had made the right decision. Even though Murray State is not one of the biggest campuses in the nation, the University still provides high-quality programs and is home to a diverse community of students and professors.

Who is one of your favorite professors and why?

I have more than one ‘favorite professor,’ but if I have to choose only one, I would say that Dr. James Clinger, my academic advisor, is one of my favorites. He is very knowledgeable in his field and interprets abstract ideas and theories clearly. He always explains difficult points by making good use of examples. I have learned so much in the three courses I have taken with him.

What is one of your favorite Murray State traditions/experiences?

One of my favorite Murray State experiences is Multicultural Night. I enjoy attending the event where people recognize, respect and celebrate the diversity of culture in the community. Last semester, my fellow Vietnamese students and I represented Vietnam at the event. We prepared some dishes from our country as well as tried food from around the world. We had a great time.

What is something you’ve accomplished at Murray State that you’re most proud of and why are you proud of it?

I am proud of all that I have learned at Murray State. I never put pressure on myself to have a high grade point average because I understand that learning and understanding is more important than grades. However, if I have to pick one accomplishment to talk about, I think my greatest one so far has been my 4.0 GPA. I have put a lot of time and effort into my studies. I always believe that hard work pays off in the end and, in fact, it does.

What opportunities have you been afforded at Murray State?

The best opportunity I have been afforded at Murray State has been the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant in the department of political science and sociology. The assistantship has given me the opportunity to assist and learn from some of the best in my field. The employees I have worked with are some of the most amazing people who make me feel like I am home again. Working part-time while studying is truly a rewarding experience.

What do you think sets Murray State apart from other universities?

There are so many things that set Murray State apart from other universities. I always run into my friends and professors while on campus, which gives me a sense of belonging. There are lots of lush lawns that are perfect for studying as well as playing. I really enjoy lying on the grass on sunny days. The faculty are friendly and helpful. They are willing to be active participants in my educational journey. Murray State traditions also set the university apart: All Campus Sing, Racer One and the Shoe Tree make me proud to be a Racer.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

For incoming students, my advice would be to get involved immediately from the moment you arrive on campus. Meeting new friends and making connections will give you a sense of belonging. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and study hard but try to have fun along the way. If you manage your time properly, you are able to balance study and fun.

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