Long H. Nguyen ’21 at Andritz, where he is a design engineer

Embracing Second Chances

In 2007, Long H. Nguyen '21 relocated from Vietnam to northcentral Pennsylvania. Fourteen years later, he is a design engineer.

by Tom Speicher, writer/video producer

Published Monday, March 7, 2022

In December 2007, Long H. Nguyen relocated with 11 family members from Dalat in southern Vietnam’s Central Highlands to Hughesville in northcentral Pennsylvania.

“When my parents told me that we were moving to the U.S., I was very excited,” Nguyen said. “That year I got bullied a lot at school, so I kind of gave up on school. I took coming to America as a second opportunity at life. I could reset. If I was in Vietnam right now, I can’t see myself anywhere near where I am today.”

Fourteen years later, the honors graduate is a design engineer for Andritz’s global foundry and manufacturing facility for Durametal refiner plates in Muncy. The refiner plates are the heart of paper and pulp machines; they break wood chips to wood fibers. Nguyen’s name is on two patent applications related to the work.

When Nguyen arrived in the U.S. at age 13, he didn’t speak or understand English, which made him apprehensive about venturing outside his home.

By his high school graduation, Nguyen had won a slew of academic awards in drafting and design. He earned an associate degree in engineering CAD technology in 2016 and began working for Andritz. In May 2021, he completed a bachelor’s degree in engineering design technology.

“I learned so much with all the things that all my professors taught me,” he said. “Penn College taught me not to limit myself with design. If it doesn’t work, try a new thing. Think outside the box. Come up with something crazy, because something crazy might work.

“Let your imagination take you to wherever you’re supposed to be.”

Read a more comprehensive version of this story on PCToday.