Roman Vo was born in Vietnam and came to the United States in 2000 where he lived in Rochester, New York, and attended high school. After graduating high school and college, Vo pursued a PhD in electrical engineering at the University of Buffalo. During his time as a student, Vo was able to study abroad in Japan. He relocated to the Portland area in 2011 to take a job with Intel. While in Portland, Vo was active at the Phật Quang Buddhist temple in Beaverton, where he taught the Vietnamese language to Vietnamese American children. In 2018, Vo accepted an expatriate position with Intel in China, where he lived for two years before returning to Portland. Vo now lives in the United Kingdom with his husband, where he works as an electrical engineer for Facebook UK.

In this interview, Vo begins by discussing his career as an electrical engineer before moving on to his personal life in the Portland area. Vo touches on his experiences with Portland’s Vietnamese community; some of his philosophy on community building, particularly among second- and third-generation Vietnamese American children; and the community’s political divisions. Vo goes on to describe what he sees as key differences between the educational systems in Vietnam and the United States before detailing his time as a college student in Upstate New York. Vo returns to the subject of political divisions before sharing some of his family history in both Vietnam and the United States. He then details how living in so many different countries has shaped his own identity as a Vietnamese American and changed his perceptions of Vietnamese culture. Vo concludes the interview by briefly discussing what it means to be gay and Vietnamese American, including his own struggle to be accepted by his parents.