A native of Bucks County, PA, Christina will graduate with a B.S. in English and Secondary Education, and minors in Anthropology and Sociology. She has studied in England and Ireland, taught creative writing to "at risk" youth, led discussions on diversity with college students as a Diamond Peer Teacher, and tutored adults in the Center for Literacy. When not teaching or writing, Christina rides for Temple's Equestrian team and plays the guitar. Christina will pursue an MA in the Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing at Cardiff University to study how creative writing can be used to improve students' lives.
Anjali Tripathi, of Woodland Hills, CA, will graduate from MIT with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Minor in Applied International Studies. With a passion for astrophysics, Anjali has done everything from working on Mars Rovers to analyzing computer simulations of colliding galaxies. Her enthusiasm for science extends into her outreach efforts as President of MIT's Society of Physics Students and a member of MIT's Solar Electric Vehicle Team. Anjali will soon take her enthusiasm for science and outreach to the University of Cambridge, where she will pursue degrees in Astronomy and Mathematics.
Derron Wallace of Bronx, N.Y., is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wheaton College (Massachusetts), where he studied sociology and the African Diaspora. He also served as president of the student government. A Watson Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, Wallace has worked in vulnerable rural communities in the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia as a teacher, researcher and policy analyst to help strengthen education systems and lessen geographical disparities. At Cambridge University, he intends to pursue an MPhil in Education with a focus on rural educational development. Born in Jamaica, Wallace is a keen student of gospel music and liberation theologies.
A native of Dallas, Texas transplanted to Camarillo, California, Emma Wu will graduate from Harvard University with a B.A. in linguistics. Her thesis focuses on theories of cognition as related to language processing in brain-damaged subjects. Emma is a black belt in taekwondo with collegiate, national, and international competition experience. She plans to study experimental psychology and cognitive neuropsychology at University College London.
Shuai 'Steve' Xu of Houston will graduate from Rice University in May 2009 with a B.S. in Bioengineering. At Rice as a Rice/Baylor Medical Scholar, Steve led the development of a mechanical testing platform for artificial heart valves. For breadth, he has performed research in molecular oncology at HMRI and neuro-biomechanics at Columbia University as an Amgen Scholar. Concerned about education, Steve directed an after-school program for at-risk youth in robotics. Most recently, he studied traditional medicine in modern China and completed an internship in strategy consulting. A Goldwater Scholar and a member of the 2008 USA TODAY Academic 1st Team, he is currently leading a cost-effective technology adoption study at the Methodist Hospital. Steve plans to study health policy at a dual program between LSHTM and LSE.
Yun William Yu, of Huntingburg, Indiana, matriculated at age fifteen to Indiana University, studies chemistry, mathematics, and Germanic studies, and will be the first IU undergraduate to write an honors thesis in mathematics. A Wells Scholar, William coordinated the undergraduate literary magazine "Labyrinth" and annual "Writers on Writing" panel discussion. On the Board of Aeons, he researched student issues for the IU President. A Goldwater Scholar, he applied proteomics techniques to lipids thought to be endogenous nociceptive neurotransmitters. He will study biomedical physical chemistry at Imperial College London and computational biology at Cambridge. William is also an avid swing dancer.
Kelly Zahalka, from Richmond, VA, will graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. in History and a minor in Chinese. Upon graduation, she will be commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Kelly was a four-year member of the varsity women's swim team where she was twice named an Academic All-American. As a junior, she served as the Brigade Sergeant Major. She was the first woman from the Naval Academy to graduate from the rigorous US Navy Dive School. Kelly will pursue a MA in Chinese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Jessica Wei Zhu
Pianist Jessica Zhu, from Houston, Texas, studies at the University of Houston as an undergraduate student of Nancy Weems. Jessica made her debut with the Houston Symphony at age 19 and soloed with many orchestras throughout Texas. In addition to her recital debut at Houston's Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, she has given guest recitals for many organizations, including Missouri State University and Wichita Falls Symphony League. As the national winner of the Steinway Young Artist Piano Competition of the 2008 Music Teachers National Association competitions, Jessica received a Steinway & Sons grand piano. Committed to fostering a stronger arts community, she performs for a terminally ill patient and educates young students. As a Marshall Scholar, Jessica will pursue her graduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Jessica Zhu, pianist, studies at the University of Houston with Nancy Weems and will work with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Jessica made her debut with the Houston Symphony at age 19 and soloed with many orchestras throughout Texas. A frequent recitalist, she made her recital debut at Houston's Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in 2006. As the national winner of 2008 Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Piano Competition, Jessica received a Steinway & Sons grand piano. Committed to fostering a stronger arts community, she performs for ill patients and educates young students.
Benjamin Zintak, from Arlington Heights, IL, will graduate from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. in Systems Engineering and a commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Aviator. While at the Academy, he served as a Plebe Summer Squad Leader and the Executive Officer of the Brigade of Midshipmen. Focusing his studies on control systems and aerospace engineering, he helped build an autonomous miniature helicopter for his senior research project. Ben plans on continuing work in this field by pursuing a MS in Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics at Cranfield University.