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Communication Department

4400 University Drive, MS 3D6, Fairfax, Virginia 22030

Phone: 703-993-1090; Fax: 703-993-1096

September 6, 2018

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to recommend my former teaching assistant and student, Huong Cao, an applicant
to your Internship Program. She is a very hard worker, who always went above and beyond, was
pleasant and agreeable to communicate with, and was always looking for ways to improve
herself. She is truly an outstanding person.

I first met Huong when she was a student in my class in Spring 2016. As a student in my
intercultural communication class, Huong was always well-organized, on time, and fulfilled her
responsibilities as student, sitting near the podium and absorbing every word about cultures and
communication. It was not too long after she had arrived in the U.S., so I believe that she was
eager to learn and wanted to improve her English. I am happy to report that as amazing as it
sounds, in 2017, she became a staff writer for the university newspaper, the Fourth Estate, and
was so outstanding that I invited her to become my teaching assistant in Spring 2018. It is not an
easy feat to learn a language and then 5 years later to become a school journal reporter. Huong is
just that kind of person: hard working, goal-oriented, eager to learn, and detail-oriented. With her
characteristics in mind, it is no surprise to me that she has succeeded in her academic goals by
leaps and bounds.

Huong was able to learn quickly and achieve her academic goals because she pushed herself to
exceed expectations. And that she definitely did. I hired her to be my TA in Spring 2018 because
I was so impressed by the progress that she had made. As my TA, she was always there early,
and made herself accessible and available to students, which my students appreciated. Huong is
detail-oriented and well-organized. When asked to make a list of student responses, she made an
Excel worksheet, which was much easier to analyze. She was always responsible for her hours,
and the students and I appreciated and benefited from her strong sense of responsibility. The
class went very smoothly, and student reactions to the class, and to the instructor and the TA
were very positive, thanks in part to Huong’s efforts and sense of integrity for doing a good job.

In addition to her ability to do a solid job of both writing and communicating with others, she
was extremely pleasant to work with. I have taught for 35 years and find that Huong is one of the
most pleasant students I have ever worked with. As my TA, I had to request various tasks of her,
all of which she carried out with a pleasant nature. She was always receptive to requests and
asked if there was anything else she could help out with. I truly appreciated the pleasant
atmosphere that she created, and her responsiveness to my requests. She was always pleasant
and agreeable to work with. She also likes to volunteer, dropping by my office to let me know
that she had volunteered for the Capitol Communicator to attend and cover workshops hosted by
the national DC chapter of PRSA and how much she was learning from the experience. She is
truly a wonderful person and student. Huong also volunteered to put in extra work to submit a
paper to an undergraduate conference, the Virginia Association of Communication Arts and
Sciences. Her panel was selected to present, and she did so, presenting on her experiences as an
international student, and how she handled the challenges she met in achieving her academic
goals. Her presentation was very well received and I am sure that it helped to encourage other
international students, who could see how much she has grown and succeeded to overcome the
hurdles of academic life.

Finally, Huong is always looking for ways to improve herself. She is not pushy or aggressive
about it, but she was wanting to know how I managed to become a professor as an Asian female
and sought to be my mentee. She attended my book talk, and I invited her to comment on her
experiences, which dove-tailed well with my book on Asian scholars in U.S. academia. I gladly
took her under my wing because she is such an outstanding student and such a student with
perseverance, integrity, and character that I was delighted to mentor her. I have no doubt that she
will go far because of these characteristics.

As you can see, I am enthusiastic in my recommendation of Huong. She has overcome many
hurdles and has carried herself with integrity and character throughout the process. My
interactions with Huong over the past two and a half years leads me to give her my highest
recommendation. I have no doubt that she will do very well at your organization. Please do not
hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (571) 214 5797.


Esther Yook

Esther Lee Yook, Ph.D.

Emeritis and Affiliate Professor
Communication Department
George Mason University