Quick overview:
  • Hometown(s) & Country(ies): Vietnam & Russia
  • High School / Previous Institution: International School of Tomorrow, Moscow, Russia
  • Major: Computer Science and Media Arts & Design  
  • Graduation: May 2021

To contact Xuan Thao (Susie) send an e-mail to

Why did you choose JMU?

I first came to James Madison University during my winter break as I was visiting my sister, who’s now a JMU Alum. During this visit, I got an opportunity to go to several remarkable on-campus events, one of them being a Capstone Event for Computer Information Systems (CIS) and School of Media Arts and Design (SMAD) majors. This event sparked my interest in learning about visual media content and website design and pursuing the SMAD academic program at JMU. JMU has a beautiful campus, and very welcoming community with strong college spirit.

What do you like best about JMU?

What I like best about JMU is the warm welcoming atmosphere and the sense of inclusiveness that it provides. While here at JMU you meet people from all over the places with diverse backgrounds, unique interests and tastes, you also find everyone united by our awesome school spirit and pride. In addition to feeling as a part of a whole, I also love the wide variety of opportunities that JMU offers to discover yourself, find “your place” and “your people”. Student Org Night is one of my favorite events at JMU as it offers you an opportunity to find a group of people that share the same interest as you. Through this event I have discovered Mozaic Dance Team - a competitive urban dance team that has become a family to me, who always supports me and is therefore me throughout my college experience.

What surprised you the most during your first semester?

One of the things that surprised me the most was how good the JMU on-campus food was. As a freshman with a meal plan, I tried every single dinning place JMU had to offer. My favorite place to eat on-campus is Bistro 1980 food court at Students Success Center! And to no surprise now JMU actually ranks 5th in the nation for best campus food based on the Princeton review :)

What is your favorite class?

I really enjoy taking my Media Arts and Design classes as they offer various hands-on experience with creating media content. I got to use a great variety of JMU’s resources and equipments to put together different creative projects. In SMAD 203, I got to learn how to create different visual media content using Adobe softwares and in SMAD202, I got to learn about video production and visual storytelling. I even learned how to create a Public Service Announcement using the equipments and tools in the Television Studio.

What do you like to do during your free time?

As a member of Vietnamese Student Association, Mozaic Dance Team and Filipino Americans at Madison, I like to participate in culture shows, attend General Body Meetings to spend my time getting to know the members as well as get involved in on-campus events. I also like dancing and taking different dance workshops on and off-campus.

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