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Growing up in Da Nang, Vietnam, in the 1960s, the frontlines of war were a daily occurrence for Dr. Charles Nguyen.  “We were rich enough to build a bunker under our house. Typically, every morning we would come up and it would happen that the next house was gone because it was bombarded.  Neighbors, gone. I still have nightmares about that,” recalls the dean of the School of Engineering at Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Nguyen eventually made his way to Germany to study electrical engineering before emigrating to the U.S. After graduating from George Washington University with a Master’s and Doctorate in electrical engineering, he was hired at CUA where he worked his way up through the ranks to become chair, and eventually dean - a position he has held since 2001. He was, and remains, the only Vietnamese-American dean at any U.S. college or university.                                     

When Dr. Nguyen first assumed the role of dean, the school of engineering was faltering amid low enrollments (approximately 175 students). Through targeted marketing, both domestically and abroad, he has nearly tripled the department’s size.

Dr. Nguyen set out to prove himself early on. He secured a research fellowship in 1984 at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where his good timing and hard work again prevailed. Nguyen’s pioneering research on control of robot manipulators proved highly valuable to NASA, then in the midst of building the international space station.

Dr. Nguyen was also part of a collaborative research team that developed an independent robotic arm and hand system that could handle the many exacting tasks of construction in space, then adapted the system for use in minimally invasive spinal surgeries and for breast surgeries, working with Georgetown University to pioneer surgical techniques that today are commonplace. He subsequently published widely on the subject of medical robotics.

Asian Heritage Awards 2014 CHARLES NGUYEN from Rosalynn Carmen on Vimeo.


County Supervisor Dave Roberts, Named Asian Heritage Awards Gala Chairman

  San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts will serve as the Gala Chairman of the 2014 Asian Heritage Awards to be held Saturday, Nov. 22 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.
  The awards, in their eleventh year, celebrate Asian achievement in categories ranging from business to public health while honoring the legacy of Asian Americans.  Individuals and organizations  who  serve the Asian or Asian and Pacific Islander community here or abroad are also eligible
  Supervisor  Roberts represents District 3, which has one of the larger constituencies of Asian Americans, comprising 19 percent of the county’s population.
  “’Visionary’ and ‘leadership’ are the two best words I have to describe Dave Roberts,” said Rosalyn Carmen, president of the Asian Heritage Society, which has produced the award-winning event and celebration since 2004. Referring to Roberts, she said, “He recognizes and empathizes with our mission to empower the community and recognize Asian American  contributions  to the business of San Diego County, thei r cultural value and the entrepreneurial spirit that has ties to both worlds. That is how you bring talent and investment to the community.”....Whole Story

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