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Senior Spotlight: QiHan Zhao

May 13, 2019

When senior QiHan Zhao was looking for a high school in the US as an 8th grader, a lot of things about Léman seemed to be the right fit. "I attended Léman's sister school in Chengdu, China, where I'm from, so I was familiar with the school," he said, "I also had my eye on Léman because it was in New York City, where I knew there would be a lot of internship and cultural opportunities like athletic events and Broadway shows." When he arrived, all of those predictions came true. "I had the opportunity, through my Biology teacher, to intern at the Cornell Medical School Plastic Surgery Lab, which was an eye-opening experience," he said, "it expanded my knowledge of what it's like to work in a lab setting, which is something I always considered as a career."

As a member of the National Honor Society, the current Vice President and former President of the Boarding Student Government, a Student Ambassador, a member of the Varsity Soccer and Volleyball teams, and a member of the High School Band, QiHan still finds time to be a full IB Diploma Candidate. He feels he has succeeded in the IB because of hard work and time management. "The IB is a really taxing program. It's inevitable that you will have a lot of work, especially with the addition of extracurricular activities and community service hours. You have to plan ahead and for what's coming. Every week I look at PowerSchool to see what my upcoming assignments are so I can get a jump start on them. That has made a big difference in my success as a student," he said. Planning ahead was also what made a difference for him in the college application process. "My college counselor encouraged me to get a jump start on my college essays in the summer, and I'm so happy that I did. I finished most of that work before my senior year began. I also had to work on my IB Extended Essay, so that required a lot of organization," he said, "I'm so happy that I had those skills to make it go more smoothly."

Those skills will serve him well when he enrolls at Duke University in the fall ranked #8 in National Universities by US News and World Report, where he plans to major in Global Health. "After working in a lab setting in my internships, I realized that I'd rather work directly with patients, which is why I chose a Global Health major. I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to learn that while I was still in high school," he said. It was through a proactive spirit and the help of Léman faculty members that QiHan had those internship opportunities. " I spoke with my Biology teacher, who put me in touch with the IB Biology faculty member. He was the one who suggested that I apply for the internship at Cornell, and I'm so happy that I did. The teachers here have so many resources that they are happy to give you if you ask. The internships and competitions I participated in while at Léman really built up my resume for college," he said.

Although QiHan is excited to enroll at Duke in the fall, he is already looking forward to coming back to visit Léman. "I'm not ready to leave the place I've called my second home for four years. I've grown so much as a person here and built so many good relationships," he said, "my residential counselors have been my teachers as well as my friends. They taught me healthy study habits as well as how to unwind from the stress of the IB. The boarding program has been such a great experience. I've met people from all over the world which opened my eyes to different perspectives and cultures." When he does enroll at Duke, he's planning to continue some of the activities that made his experience at Léman so positive. "I really loved being a part of the Student Ambassador Program, and I'm planning on joining the program there as well," he said, "It was a formative experience here at Léman, which helped me build a lot of ongoing relationships and express my enthusiasm for the school to new students. I'm happy to continue that tradition."

Congratulations, QiHan! We know you'll be successful at Duke and beyond!

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