Nguyen Ngo received her master’s degree in accounting on Saturday from UMSL.

Being more than 8,000 miles away from home for more than three years can make anyone home sick. But University of Missouri–St. Louis graduate Nguyen Ngo was able to make the distance bearable with the help of technology and a few surrogate parents.

In 2008 Ngo left her family and friends in Vietnam to attend school at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. On Saturday she received her master’s degree in accounting, after earning her bachelor’s degree in accounting from UMSL in Aug. 2010.

“It’s going to be hard to leave UMSL, the faculty in the accounting department have become like my mom and dad. I love them all,” said Ngo, who has only been able to return home a few times since coming to UMSL, but does talk with her family via Skype every week. “They have been so wonderful and have made being away from home easier.”

But she’s not returning home anytime soon. Next week she’ll leave St. Louis for San Francisco, where she’ll begin her new job as an auditing associate at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

“Again I owe everything to the great professors at UMSL, especially Mary Beth Mohrman,” Ngo said. “After I earned my bachelor’s degree, she encouraged me to come back for my master’s. She helped me get a job in the department as a graduate assistant and she helped me with my new job at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.”

Mohrman, associate professor and chair of the accounting area, said she’s proud of Ngo and knows she’ll be a great accounting professional.

“She can attend to details while still understanding the big picture,” Mohrman said. “She can explain concepts to beginning accounting students and interact with seasoned professionals. Her accomplishments would be impressive in a native English-speaking student. To accomplish what she has in a second language is truly exceptional.”

Ngo credits UMSL for her success. Not only the professors in the department, but the programs and resources offered to international studies really helped make a difference.

“From the day I got to UMSL, they have helped me meet other international students and form friendships,” she said. “Also, the great resources offered to us for writing resumes and how to act on interviews, really helped prepare me.”

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton