Meet Our Scholars

years awarded



Scholar Quote: We cannot always control the obstacles in our path, but we can control the new direction we take onward.

Most people upon hearing my story would agree that life is not fair. I was a well-mannered daughter with near exemplary grades, excellent leadership and accolades, and most importantly, perfect health. Much to my surprise, mere months before graduation, I was diagnosed with cancer. I, however, was not going to let anything—not even cancer—get in my way. The finish line was in my sights now. Despite having two clinic visits a week and a 6-day long stay for chemotherapy each cycle, I managed to attend as many classes as possible. The one major upside to the pandemic was that everything became virtual. With my cycles, I quickly learned on what days l felt the most energized, sol knew when it was best to work on assignments. When time was of the essence, I would sandwich myself between the hospital bed and my laptop, typing away for hours. Group projects became individual, but I worked with the determination of three people. I was crushing tests and treatment. And before I knew it, I was in remission and graduated in the same week.

I rode on the wave of victory through the summer believing that the worst was behind me. After one week into college, the doctors found a new tumor in my head. I had to withdraw and move far away for treatment. My high spirit dissipated, and I was left defeated. With all the time to spare, I now had the opportunity to enjoy myself; something I hardly did in school. I started painting, playing the piano, and reading again. It was the simple things that made me enjoy my time and get through one day at a time. I cultivated new hobbies like calligraphy and watching professional tennis. I started hand-making Christmas cards for all my friends and family, spending hours at a time until my hands cramped. I made peace, focused on my mental and physical health, and came home in remission five months later.

Both diagnoses appeared at such pivotal moments in the same year. However, the timing and stakes for each one led to two different approaches. For the first time, the doctors already knew the treatment guidelines to take, and I was able to stay in school due to online learning. My ambition and self-determination pushed me over the finish line. In contrast, the second time was a more critical diagnosis when online schooling was not possible. I wish I could have done it all like the first time, but no amount of self-definition could have me in two places at once, especially not with a brain tumor. In some cases, patience, and acceptance are key. Ultimately, I would have to disagree that life isn’t fair. It is most definitely difficult, but it is fair. It is impartial. Goodness does not waive one from adversity. In a wonderful game of random genetics, l was given a faulty immune system. No amount of goodness could have ever changed that. We cannot always control the obstacles in our path, but we can control the new direction we take onward.

I decided to go into medicine early on in high school. However, as I learned more about the education path, I increasingly began to doubt my chances of success. With the rigorous courses, the application process, as well as extensive post-undergrad education and training spanning over a decade, it is a daunting path to follow. To prepare for my college advisor meeting, I looked back at my time in the hospital. During my visits with numerous physicians, they all asked me about my high school experience and college plans. I was taken aback by how impressed many of them were with my schooling and enthusiastically supported my pursuit of medicine. They shared their experiences and comforted me about entering such an important chapter in my life. My most recent oncologist would often joke about curing quickly so that I could replace him when he retired. The long exposure to the hospital environment and the support of so many healthcare professionals have given me great assurance, solidifying my decision to learn medicine.