First, she overcame the challenge of studying and living in a different country. Then, she grappled with living on campus throughout the virtual semester because she was unable to return home. None of it was easy—and it took many tries for Ruby Ngo '22 to secure last year’s internship and to win Dickinson’s annual concerto competition. Below, she discusses the mindset, work ethic and sense of community that have helped her succeed. That includes the ways music-department faculty and members of the Dickinson Orchestra went above and beyond to realize her dream of performing, as a Concerto Competition winner, with the orchestra—even during socially distant times.
Clubs and organizations:
Women in Economics.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Howl’s Moving Castle.
Best thing about my major:
Music: Playing music with my friends and professors and bringing enjoyment to the audience.
Quantitative Economics: Using quantitative methods to analyze data to identify problems and trends, and then making inferences and suggesting solutions to solve economic issues to improve people's well-being.
Favorite place on campus:
Rubendall Recital Hall.
Favorite Dining Hall food:
Professors of Music Jennifer Blyth and Amy Wlodarski; Instructor in Piano Eun-Ae Baik-Kim; Associate Professors of Economics Emily Marshall and Anthony Underwood; John Katunick, associate director of the writing program; and Lev Fruchter, adjunct faculty in computer science. I cannot choose between them, since they are all wonderful and supportive individuals who’ve stayed by my side to help me become the person I am now, both academically and personally. As an international student without any relatives nearby to rely on, they are my second family.
As I kid, I wanted to be …
… a pianist.
About my internships:
I interned as a data analyst at InfoRe Technology (summer 2019) and Mekong Capital (2020). It was very fun for me to work with the data, look for patterns and identify potential insights that might be beneficial for our customers. In these positions, I was able to learn new knowledge and skills that I may not learn in classes and connect with new people who have the same interest in data analytics.
Knitting. It’s been a long time since I did it, so I’m not sure if my skills are still there.
Proudest accomplishment so far:
I finished recording the Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, composed by Edvard Grieg, with the orchestra in the strangest way! I recorded my solo part with the string players, and we put all other instrumental parts recorded by our music department faculty to make a full orchestra concerto recording.
As the winner of the 2020 Dickinson College Student Concerto Competition, I would normally be granted a chance to perform my piece with the community orchestra on campus, but the pandemic wouldn't allow us to do so. I'm so grateful that my professors and many other musicians didn't give up and tried their best to give me the best experience they could! We had so many obstacles along the way to put all of the recorded parts together, but I have a good feeling we made a great recording!
Many big thanks to my professor, Jennifer Blyth, who organized every single detail to make this happen; our conductor, Contributing Faculty in Music Zach Levi; our string players, Professor Blyth and Contributing Faculty in Music Michael Cameron, Emmanuel Borowski and Daniel Brye; our photographer and audience, Academic Department Coordinator Barbara Nieberg; and our magician, Audio Technician Patrick Oh, who put all of the pieces together.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
Never give up. During my three years at Dickinson, I have encountered failures, and with the encouragement from my professors, friends and family, I am now able to finally achieve my goals. Their presence and continuous support are the motivation for me to keep striving and exploring new potential paths to reach my goals. As a result, on my third year of trying, I won the Dickinson College Annual Student Concerto Competition, and I was able to secure an internship opportunity after hundreds of rejections.
Read more Student Snapshots.
Published June 18, 2021