At 23, Tuan has already been named one of Boston’s (BostInn’s) 25 under 25, Forbes 30 under 30, and The Priscilla Chan Stride Impact Fellow from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, amongst many other accolades. You might be surprised to know that Tuan doesn’t come from a family line of entrepreneurs and big-name business dudes. In fact, Tuan’s family left all that they had and immigrated to the US from Vietnam when he was 10. His mom worked multiple jobs as a nail technician, cook, and caregiver for those with special needs in order to make ends meet in their single parent home. Which is to say, he came to this country with very little and has built EVERY bit of his success up from the bottom.
After graduating from Boston Latin Academy, his dreams of going to college were stifled when he realized there was no way his family could afford tuition. So, Tuan took matters into his own hands, writing over 120 essays to apply for college scholarships. In the end of all this, he was able to earn enough to cover his FULL TUITION for a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University.
Because of his own experience with trying to pay for college, he co-founded ScholarJet, a company that provides “unconventional” scholarships that often negate the need for essays, remove cultural barriers (such as first-language differences), and focuses on getting money to students from underserved communities. Past challenges have asked students to dance, paint, build, or even write poetry to earn money for college.
If you ask Tuan how he wants to change the world, he’ll tell you he wants to remove barriers for entry into education. He wants to see a world where students from every background can bring innovation into the world and be acknowledged for it.