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A Coastal Engineer from Vietnam is Proud to Protect California Coastline
To Dang and his wife were well known Coastal Engineers in Vietnam. When they arrived in the U.S. they soon realized they did not know about the U.S. cultural context, let alone how to get a job in this country. He worked as a tour guide to help pay the bills and was not sure if he would ever find a professional job. “When I went to the first Upwardly Global workshop, my hope came back,” he recalled.
Ph.D. in Coastal Engineering
M. Eng in Water Resources Engineering
B. Sc in Oceanography/Physics
To Dang had come to this country with my family one year and several months ago. He and his wife had very good positions in their society. They chose to leave that life because, more than anything else, they needed their only son to have a good future. “We wanted the opportunity for him to study and live in this free, democratic, and dynamic country,” he said.
When they arrived in the U.S., they began to realize that they didn’t know this society. I am not familiar with its cultural context or how to make a job in this country. He searched the net and sent his resume to companies but never got any feedback, or they said he was over-qualified for the position. "The problem is not just the money. I want to contribute. In my country I used to work, sometimes, 18 hours a day. I did not know how to not work now!" he recalled. He decided to work at a travel agency as a Tour Guide to pay for food and rent. He found Upwardly Global through his friend.
One month before he joined Upwardly Global, in June 2010, To Dang sent in an application for his dream job as a coastal scientist with a company called ESA-PWA, but he never received a response. A few months later he saw the position was still on their website and he resend his new resume and cover letter. After a week, they invited him for an interview and after three more interviews, they offered To Dang the job.
"It is my first professional career in the United States, and I am so happy. I waited a long time and Upwardly Global helped me to never give up. This is the right job for me. I want to thank Upwardly Global and all of the staff for never giving up on me. Now this is my home. I am a California resident. And now I can use my knowledge to protect my coastline. California has a very, very long coastline," said To Dang.