I am a current participant in the “1000 Girls, 1000 Futures” Program organized by the New York Academy of Sciences, which aims to help high school girls all over the world become brilliant STEM leaders. The program lasts for a whole year, i.e. October 2016-September 2017. This year has been very challenging as I am also preparing for the Senior High School Entrance Exam. A lot of homework, an avalanche of papers, and a mountain-load of pressure. However, since I chose it, I have to accept what it brings.
Looking back to the moment I decided to participate in the program, I felt very proud. Regardless of the difficulty of the application process, I finished 4 essays in a row. I have to say I hadn’t written that many English essays till then. On December 2, I finally received the letter of confirmation from the program coordinator, and I couldn’t have been more excited. Then, the miraculous journey began.
My biggest accomplishment in the program so far is that I have learned to balance my different tasks and build many essential skills such as cross-cultural communication, effective communication, networking, and self-awareness.
The education model in China is quite different from that in other countries like the US. We don’t have much time to practice leadership skills in class. Therefore, this program really helps me overcome my fear of being a leader. The leadership and communication modules taught me the right way to listen to others and express my own opinions. For example, I shouldn’t make others upset just because I don’t agree with their ideas. I should respect the speakers all the time: respect their ideas, respect their cultural background, and respect their communication habits. This module has helped me to get respect and confidence from others as rewards in my daily life.
On February 2, I got my outstanding mentor, who is guiding me comprehensively through the program. Her name is Joelle Lavoie and she is a PhD and neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University. We catch up about my progress on the modules and other relevant topics every Friday for an hour on Skype. As I have mentioned, this year has been a very stressful year for me. When I was trying to express my anxiety and worry in my poor oral English, she carefully and patiently listened to me and shared her own similar experiences to comfort me. She showed me what a good listener and mentor is like. Thanks to her help, I have successfully finished my Senior High School Entrance Exam and got a perfect grade. I have got a balance between my daily work and this program. I think it is a marvelous project and I have benefited a lot from this program.
At this point, I am eager to share my good news with all of you reading this blog. I will be enrolled in the best Senior High School in Beijing due to my excellent performance and a high score at the Senior High School Entrance Exam. Undoubtedly, this program is a very important contributor to my success. I have received a lot of training on learning strategies, English communication, networking, leadership and critical thinking. These varied experiences have greatly enhanced my confidence. My mom says that I have transformed to a different person and it is true.
Therefore, I want to share my experiences in this program to set up a similar club at my future High School, promoting enthusiasm for science and the ability to pursue a scientific career among girl students. I think Girl Scientists in the School would be a great name for the club. I will try my utmost to develop my potential and hence bring more glory to my School and the New York Academy of Sciences.
I also want to seize this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the staff and mentors for bringing us such a wonderful program.
Written by: Danqing Luo ( Elizabeth Luo), 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures Mentee