In late 2013, a Vietnamese American girl entered Truman College in the American state of Illinois. At that time, she was only an 11-year-old girl who surprised many elders with her dedication, hard-work and inquisitiveness.
Enjolina Truong Iqbal, also known as Phi An Truong Iqbal, has become a phenomenon of St. Thomas of Canterbury Primary School in Illinois as she entered Truman College after finishing fifth grade, at the age of 11.
Enjolina, who was born on April 25, 2002 in Chicago, showed her curiousness from a young age. Thu Truong, Enjolina’s mom, said her daughter got up and walked at eight months old and was very curious about everything.
“She always asked me, ‘mommy what is that?’, and once you answered her question, she would not stop asking more questions. She would keep asking you to death until you yell at her to stop,” Thu remembered.
The little girl tried to open everything, including the TV and laptop, or mixed everything in the kitchen and played with it all day.
Enjolina knew her time table when she was about four years old, got into St. Thomas of Canterbury Primary School in second grade and got straight A’s in all her classes.
“She is a very different child, and she doesn’t watch TV, play games, do make up or want to go out like other children. She loves to read most of the time. Since her dad is a doctor, he has a lot of medical books, but her favorite books are about psychiatry and biology,” Thu Truong shared about her child’s special habit.
The mother recalled the day Enjolina came back from school saying she didn’t want to study at the fifth grade anymore: “When she was in 5th grade, she came home every day, and said, ‘mommy I am so bored.’ I asked her ‘do you want to go to high school’ she said, ‘no, I just want to go to college.’
Thu Truong, who soon realized the talent of her daughter, asked for a letter of recommendation from Enjolina’s teacher and went to Truman College, where the 11-year-old girl had to take a test to get in and was later put directly in college-level classes. This was in late 2013.
“The challenging part for me was that some people were saying that I wasn’t going to make it in college or that I should not be in this class because of my age. I felt that if I got something wrong or forgot how to do the work, they would laugh at me or be cruel to me. However, I overcame this challenge by just ignoring them and just focusing on myself and how I am going to help the world,” Enjolina shared about her difficulties when entering a college at such young age.
The college student emphasized that she had to work extremely hard, be focused, and have no sleep just to get an A at school, as genius is something that people are not born with, but they have to work hard and be determined.
In talking about Enjolina’s studies, Helen Valdez, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Truman College, who taught the Vietnamese American girl in two classes, said Enjolina earned the highest grades in both classes even though her fellow classmates were all older than her.
“I had the opportunity to see her strong intellectual abilities and her exemplary dedication to learning all class material thoroughly. She had excellent rapport with the other students in class who respected and admired her strong ability and interest in learning mathematics,” Valdez said, calling Enjolina a model student whom she ranks one of the best students she has had in her 27-year teaching career.
Jessica K. S. Mahoney, a consultant at the Critical Reading Center of Truman College, said Enjolina is alive with curiosity about all things and is empowered by her curiosity and her unstoppable perseverance. Her potential comes from her desire to ask and answer questions, to come to an understanding, and to use her knowledge to explore new ideas.
“When I realized that I had a very young person in the classroom, my first thought was that I would need to change my materials to suit her level of experience,” she recalled.
“However, I quickly found that Enjolina looked at complex, controversial, and emotional topics with a level of maturity that was completely unexpected and refreshing. In fact, her views on the topic added a whole new perspective for the other students in the class to consider,” Mahoney said.
Enjolina said she plans to prepare to take the MCAT, or if she keeps a 4.0-4.5 GPA, to get into the Baylor College of Medicine, a medical school.
“In addition, in the future I am hoping to open up a DNA testing company and do research there to make medicine,” she shared with a Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper reporter.
Enjolina currently creates videos on YouTube in which she teaches mathematics, saying she finds it meaningless that so many girls on YouTube become beauty gurus and inspire young girls to do the same.
“She said to me, ‘Mom, all they have on YouTube is stuff about makeup and clothes, but nothing educational for young generations. I want to teach calculus on YouTube so I can help people that struggle with math,” Thu Truong said.
Enjolina said the purpose of making these videos is to inspire young girls that they do not have to show their body parts and that they can excel in school and become the world’s next successful generation filled with doctors, researchers, or engineers.
Đăng ký: VietNam News