Dr. Thanh Le Perseveres on Path to Medicine

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From its earliest days, Lebanon Valley College has produced alumni who have reached dizzying heights in their chosen careers and left the world a better place as a result. Perseverance, a vigorous work ethic, and dedication are qualities imbued in the psyche of American culture.

So was the case for 2010 grad Dr. Thanh Le’s father who had to leave his wife and six-month-old daughter behind in communist Vietnam to make a better life for them in America. The process of becoming a U.S. citizen and readying the way for his family to join him took eight years. When Le and her mother were finally admitted to the United States, it took a couple of years for her to learn and understand the language. The lifestyle was different, with small, nuclear families living alone in a household rather than with extended family under one roof. Even the climate was vastly different from their homeland. 

It was not an easy adjustment, and as young Le adapted and grew in her knowledge of English, life became even more demanding. She quickly became the family’s translator as they navigated their new homeland. But like the College she came to choose for her undergraduate education, doing things the easy way was not in Le’s vocabulary. 

From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a doctor. Memories of her grandmother’s suffering and premature death from colon cancer fueled her ambitions, and after graduating from LVC with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry and art—art was her stress reliever—Le accomplished her goal of attending medical school. Today, she is in an attending physician in hospital medicine at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del., where she lives with her husband Anthony Petrole ’10, another happy outcome of her LVC education. 

Le’s secret to success? Not having a Plan B. “I saw only one road, and I just kept walking that road,” she said. That single-minded determination and hard work has brought her the success she enjoys today, much like other LVC graduates who came before her.