Straight A’s, volunteerism a medal-winning combination for aspiring physician/scientist
By Diane Mar-Nicolle
Andy Zeng works as a lifeguard, volunteers for the Red Cross and has an affable manner that belies his rock-star academic record. In four years of studying molecular biology and biochemistry on a prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship, he has amassed a whopping 31 A pluses, with his lowest grade an A minus. These grades, along with his significant volunteer activities, have earned Zeng SFU’s Gordon Shrum Undergraduate Medal.
The prestigious medal recognizes a graduating student whose high scholastic standing and extracurricular activities demonstrate outstanding qualities of character and unselfish devotion to the University.
Zeng has already snagged a coveted MD/PhD seat at the University of Toronto, as he is interested in becoming both a clinician and a medical research scientist.
It’s an ambitious career goal in both scope and commitment—it takes an average of eight years to complete these degrees, not including residency, and the competition for entry into the MD/PhD program is fierce. Hopefully, Zeng’s well-honed study habits, such as reviewing slides on his tablet during six-hour walks, will serve him well.
Zeng says he became interested in a medical career during high school, and he grew passionate about cancer research after stints as a research student at the BC Cancer Agency and the Université de Montreal.
Zeng says his significant volunteer efforts at SFU have been the greatest contributor to his personal growth. He served as president and founder of the SFU Red Cross Club, director and founder of the Red Cross Student Movement, and is a volunteer disaster-management responder for the Canadian Red Cross.
“Teamwork, leadership, public speaking, budgeting, organizing and the privilege of meeting and learning from a variety of people gave me a lot more insight than if I had just focused on academics,” he says.
He is graduating this June with a bachelor of science (Hons.).
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