“There are so many amazing memories from my time at CBU. I will always remember this instance with Dr. David Dawson. I was tasked to create a demo for National Chemistry Week, and I decided to do a calcium carbide water reaction. As I was doing a trial run of the demo, Dr. Dawson was behind me with a fire extinguisher, just in case. The demo went well, and no one was hurt.”

As a student at CBU, David Tran was a Chemistry major and an active member of the Student Affiliate of the American Chemistry Society (SAACS), serving as its President and presenting research at its conferences. He also visited many high schools in the area, performing demos and workshops for the students, and meeting many chemistry and science teachers. When he graduated in 2005, David was initially unsure what path he should take in his career.

“Should I follow in my father’s footsteps and become a prosthetist, or should I continue to do research, or should I look into some other medical programs, or should I become a teacher? Every time I thought about teaching, I felt a sense of calm and peace. I eventually decided to follow what I believe was a sign from God and to give teaching a chance.”

David has been on the faculty at St. Agnes Academy since 2009, where he is now the Biomedical Science instructor, STEM Coordinator for the high school division of the Academy, and Junior Lead Sponsor. His career in the classroom has led him to be recognized by St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School with its Marian Swicker Chair of Excellence Award and by the Catholic Diocese of Memphis with its St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award for Innovation in the Classroom. He was also the recipient of the Good Samaritan Award from the Diocese in 2017.

David is also a member of the Knights of Columbus of Council 8826. One of the founding principles of the Knight of Columbus is charity, and he says that he loves helping his church community with service projects — such as making meals for police and firemen to honor their service — and raising money for local nonprofits, such as the Madonna Learning Center. He was elected Grand Knight for the Knight of Columbus Council 8826 in 2017-2018 and served as one of the Council’s trustees from 2018 to 2022.

David met his future wife as a student at CBU, and he and Dr. Christina Brown Tran (Biology ’06) have now been married for 11 years and are the proud parents of a daughter. David is also an active member of the National Alumni Board for CBU. “I love working with the alumni, faculty, and staff to help promote our great institution,” he says. “During Alumni Week, it was an amazing experience to complete a service project with current students, professors, and alumni.”

Enter to learn and leave to serve is an important aspect of my life. It is my guiding philosophy for educating future STEM and biomedical professional at St. Agnes Academy. I want to lead my student to always serve others.