Thuy Tu was born in Phan Thiet, Vietnam. Soon after the Fall of Saigon, she and her immediate family sought refuge in Hong Kong. They were then sponsored to come to Portland, Oregon when Tu was three years old. Growing up in Portland, she attending Portland Public School System, graduating from Benson Polytechnic High School where she double majored in architectural drafting and journalism. After high school, Tu enrolled at the University of Portland, graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering from the Shiley School of Engineering. She has worked as a transportation design consultant for David Evans and Associates and the URS Corporation. Tu has also taught at both the University of Portland and the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Environment. In 2015, she launched her own consulting firm, Thuy Tu Consulting LLC.

In this interview, Thuy Tu begins by briefly touching on her origins, both in Portland and in Vietnam. She speaks on the process of immigration to Portland and the issues that her parents faced when trying to settle in the United States. She then extrapolates on how Vietnamese families more generally settled and moved around within Portland. Tu describes the importance of religion for Vietnamese immigrants. She transitions to speaking about Portland Public Schools, which she felt were easier for her to adjust to because she came to Portland at such a young age. Tu continues to describe her higher educational path through engineering and journalism and discusses her professional career in architecture, consulting, infrastructure design, and teaching. She concludes the interview with a comment on the implications of gentrification for Asian American communities.