Sophia Tran, Ph.D.

Please join President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., in congratulating 2022 Presidential Faculty Fellow Sophia Tran, Ph.D. Tran (she/her) joined the Metropolitan State University of Denver Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2016 and now serves as general chemistry-laboratory supervisor and outreach coordinator. She begins her one-year appointment today.

The Presidential Faculty Fellows Program is a professional-development opportunity that allows Category II, tenured and tenure-track faculty members to learn firsthand about presidential-level operations, leadership and decision-making. With a focus on shared governance, the program allows Fellows to contribute to and support strategy and decision-making related to University operations, budget, special projects, legislative and external affairs, fundraising, communications and more.

President Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

“Dr. Tran is incredibly engaged in the advancement of her department and in the development of her students,” Davidson said. “She’s embraced inclusive leadership and has been an important voice in so many conversations regarding curriculum, instruction, inclusion and more. She’s an excellent example of our CADRE values in action, and I look forward to collaborating with her.”

Tran was born and raised in a suburb north of Seattle. She earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from the University of Washington. Her graduate work focused on utilizing metal-hydride complexes to catalyze the “recycling” of chlorofluorocarbons into safe and high-value chemicals.

In recent years, Tran has focused on science outreach and education. As a first-generation Chinese American, she is especially dedicated to improving classroom equity for BIPOC and first-generation students, particularly in STEM fields. A 2020 Teaching Excellence Award winner, Tran serves as a Puksta Scholar faculty mentor, chairs the General Chemistry Curriculum Committee, helped establish the University’s annual Women in STEM conference and has contributed to the development of several new Chemistry and Biochemistry courses. She also co-chairs the APIDA Alliance, which strives to create a safe gathering space for Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American faculty members, and is active in creating STEM education opportunities for women and girls in the broader Denver community. In her spare time, Tran enjoys baking, cooking, reading and taking walks.

Tran applied for the Presidential Faculty Fellow Program because it provides an opportunity to act as an agent of change and inspire institutional improvement from the inside out, while specifically drawing on her “boots on the ground” and lived experiences as a first-generation woman of color in STEM.

“I want to be the voice that advocates for those without the same privilege and opportunities (that I have had), while also creating the most beneficial opportunities for our most minoritized and underserved students,” Tran said. “I’m also excited to take on an administrative role at MSU Denver – an exciting experience to advance my career.”