Samantha Tran was born in Vietnam in 1975, a month after the fall of Saigon. In 1976, she and her family escaped the country on a fishing boat, stayed in a refugee camp in Malaysia for one year, and then arrived in Oregon in 1977. Growing up, Tran attended Whitacre Middle School and Cleveland High School, where she took part in the business program, and then went on to study accounting at Portland State University. Throughout her life, Tran and her family have also been involved in the Vietnamese Catholic community, including connections with the largest Vietnamese parish in the area, Our Lady of Lavang. Currently, Tran lives in Happy Valley and works as an accounting controller for a private company in Portland.

In this oral history interview, Tran begins by sharing how she and her family left Vietnam in 1976, including the journey they had to take on a fishing boat and the time they spent in a Malaysian refugee camp before arriving in the United States. She then talks about being part of the Vietnamese community in Portland and how involvement with the Vietnamese Catholic church was part of forming those connections early on, such as attending Vietnamese language classes, being part of a dance group, and going to Sunday School. However, she also shares how the community and church has changed over time, and how this brings bittersweet feelings for her and others. As a student in Portland Public Schools, Tran also recalls her experiences there and the key teachers that made an impact in her education. She then talks about moments when she has felt at home in Portland, as well as her experiences with racism and discrimination here. At the end of the interview, Tran shares the things she has been proud to accomplish and what she has been grateful for throughout her life.