Grad thrives in concert of art and science

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Carolyn Tran has found balance in the beauty of science and music.

“The discipline you need to practice and play at the university level served me well when I was hunkered down in the library for days on end studying for my science exams,” she said. “In both science and music, there is a shared joy both in how a piece of music and in how a body system work in concert. It is beautiful.”

On June 19, Tran will join more than 300,000 Western alumni living around the world as a newly minted graduate and member of the Western Class of 2020.

Now graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science degree along with a Music Performance Diploma (Piano) from the Don Wright Faculty of Music, she looks forward to starting at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in the fall.

Tran grew up in Chatham among a close-knit family of five kids. “Nearly all of us are ‘purple and proud.’”

Her older brother finished both an undergrad and graduate degree at Western. A younger sister just finished her second year. Her younger brother is starting first year in September. Another sister is still in high school.

Tran is one of more than six million Canadians born in Canada to at least one immigrant parent. She grew up with expectations that she would excel, and give back to her community.

“Doing your best, especially in school, was a lesson we learned early in our lives,” she said.

The family’s home was filled with music as every kid took lessons. “It was also a way for my parents to have a couple of hours to themselves each week,” Tran said with a laugh.

Tran, like her older brother, knew she wanted to be a doctor from an early age and is set on becoming a GP. “I love small-town living and I see the need for doctors in those communities,” she said.

At Western, her two best friends come from both her worlds – one from science, one from music.

“They got to know me inside and out. They helped me through all the challenges university can bring.”

Those friends became part of a larger Western experience that will keep her here for years to come.

“This place has a school spirit that other schools can only dream of,” she said. “The campus. The people. The professors. It is such a beautiful and caring community. I cannot say enough about it. No matter if you’re outgoing or shy, there is something here for everyone.”