Thu Phung is a fourth-year PhD candidate in economics in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. Her research fields are development economics and economics of education. She is particularly interested in looking at various socio-economic, and gender-related factors that shape academic performance of students and the gender gap in academic and labour outcomes especially in developing countries. The first chapter of her thesis aims to understand the gender effects of teacher-student interactions and how the interaction impacts students' academic performance. Her current work focuses on answering how family disadvantage contributes to the widening gender gap in academic outcomes and evaluates the impact of relevant education policy to mitigate this problem.
Previously, she worked as a research analyst and consultant for various national and regional poverty reduction projects in Vietnam, which were funded by multiple INGOs and the Government of Vietnam. She completed her Master in Economics at the University of Melbourne, and earned a Bachelor’s degree with Double Honours in Economics and Mathematics at Middlebury College, USA.