“To the population of Toronto, April 23, 2018 was the first day spring. We had spent the week previous recovering from an unexpected ice storm. In the calm of that day, a van mounted the curb and drove through a block of pedestrians along Yonge Street. The van stopped a few metres from my house and in its wake, it left 10 dead and another 16 injured.”
So wrote Megan Niu, winner of the 2018 DRI Foundation $5,000 college scholarship for a graduating high school senior. For Megan, what DRI Certified Professionals – including her mother, Bing Yuan, CBCP – do for a living became very personal when disaster struck so close to home. The incident, while tragic, was also the perfect subject for Megan’s scholarship application essay. So, she threw out her original draft and started over, writing about that April day and its aftermath. Eloquent and instructive, her essay can be read in its entirety here.
“She didn’t even let me look at her essay before she sent it,” said Bing, who is the disaster recovery implementation lead for the City of Toronto IT Department. “She said it was too personal.”
But Megan did more than write an excellent essay to earn her win. With a 4.0 GPA, she also aced a variety of AP courses, attended the Institute of Quantum Computing on full scholarship, participated in Physics Olympiad Training, was a provincial finalist representing Toronto in the Brass Category of the Ontario Provincial Music Festival playing French Horn, was a provincial finalist in the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) Programming Contest 2018, and took first place in the advance division of the Mackenzie Girls Programming Invitational Contest 2018. Unbelievably, Megan also found time for a long list of volunteer activities. This fall, she will attend the University of Waterloo where she will study computer science.
“Your accomplishments speak for themselves; your very impressive grades, your extracurricular accomplishments and volunteering to help others. Your essay showed a creative approach to dealing with the issues of preparedness that face future generations,” said DRI President Al Berman. “On behalf of DRI International and its Foundation I want to congratulate you on being the 2018 recipient of the DRI Foundation High School Senior Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to the High School Senior who has not only demonstrated academic excellence, but more importantly has given of themselves to help others, making their community and the greater world better prepared. I cannot wait to see what is in store for such an amazing person as you. It certainly makes me feel confident about the future.”
Bing is also very proud of her daughter. “She’s really dedicated to the thing she’s decided to do. She does everything from beginning to end with total commitment. I think her determination and maturity help her achieve excellence.”
Megan can certainly add “humble” to the list of superlatives that describe her. When asked if she had anything she’d like to say to the DRI Foundation, her reply was “Oh, yes. THANK YOU! I’m so surprised and grateful! And please, if you can in your article, please say that I am sure all of the other essays were also very excellent too. So, thank you for choosing mine.”