Triet Duong is a Recruiter for STEMCELL Technologies, a Canadian biotechnology company that develops specialty cell culture media, cell isolation and accessory products for life science research. Triet graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2015 with a BA in health sciences and a minor in communications. He still enjoys collaborating with Simon Fraser University faculty to facilitate career panels and events, supporting students who need help developing a career path!


Q: How have you had to adapt your work life? What has been easy/hard?
A: I live with my partner and our two English bulldogs, so I needed to quickly establish some boundaries! Luckily, I was able to move my whole work station home and can work comfortably without any technological or ergonomics issues. With that said, it’s been challenging to be physically separated from my coworkers, as I’m very people-oriented!   

Q: How have you had to adapt your home life? What has been easy/hard?
A: When I started working from home, I needed to re-focus on myself and my immediate surroundings. I made some updates to our home, and started experimenting with time-consuming Asian recipes. Work from home means I can also have my broth simmering all day long! My partner and I are globetrotters, so it’s been very tough for us to not be planning our next vacation outside of Canada.  

Q: What are you doing for fun?
A: Well, I eat for fun so it’s the perfect excuse to try new recipes and support local restaurants that we haven’t tried before! On some days, I just look forward to getting pastries from our local bakery or ordering take out from our favourite restaurants. I find joy in food, so it’s a fun activity for me to do with others!  

Q: How have you been keeping yourself entertained? What are you watching/reading?
A: My partner and I decided to relive our childhood by re-watching Desperate Housewives and The Nanny! Between the two shows, there’s probably enough episodes to last the entire pandemic. My partner and I became plant-parents and we have become very invested in keeping our plants alive! I feel so fulfilled when I see how much my plants have grown overtime. And if you have English bulldogs, you’ll be entertained all day. Mine are such characters and there’s never a dull moment!   

Q: How are you staying connected with family/friends?
A: Earlier in the pandemic, I made an effort in video-calling instead of simply calling or texting. I reached out to friends and family all over the world, since everyone is in a different situation. It’s so interesting to hear how other countries are handling the pandemic and how it contributes to their perspective of COVID-19.   

Q: How are you staying active?
A: Well, I’m actively searching for new bakeries to try out! Does that count? All jokes aside, I admit I’m not as active as I should or could be. However, I do enjoy my daily strolls with my partner, since we live right by the water.   

Q: What's the best piece of advice you've received?
A: Everyone comes from a unique situation, and COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives in different (and sudden) ways. Avoid generalizing other people’s circumstances and be understanding. For example, I don’t have children so I can’t relate to a family juggling work and caregiving. While we are not in this fight together, we are all able to support each other in this uncertain time.

Q: Advice for fellow alumni during this time of physical distancing?
A: Stay virtually engaged and connected. Luckily, there’s been so many technological advances that makes staying connected so much easier. Reach out to lend a helping hand if you know someone is struggling. Not all struggles require monetary support, and sometimes all you need to do is actively listen. If you know someone who lost their job, see how you can help them get their next job. Even if it's as simple as leveraging your network to help others. After all, SFU’s motto is “Engaging the World!” 

Q: Advice for current SFU students during this time of physical distancing?
A: Let this be your time to practice your responsiveness and versatility. If there’s something I learned over these past few months is that these two attributes are very important when faced with change. Instead of complaining, focus your energy on creatively achieving your goals. If you focus on the negative outcomes of the situation, you are losing the opportunity for self-improvement. You can’t control your environment, but you can control your reactions.  

Q: Anything else you would like to say?   
A: Stay safe and practice self-compassion! If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. That’s why airlines tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting anyone else!