San Diego, CA, October 18, 2013 -- Each academic year, about ten incoming freshman to the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego are named “Jacobs Scholars.” Recipients are selected for their academic achievement, leadership potential and commitment to community service. The exceptional individuals receive a scholarship that includes full tuition and living expenses, invitations to cultural and other social events, and access to a network of current and former Jacobs Scholars.
Irwin and Joan Jacobs created the program in order to enrich the student body of the Jacobs School of Engineering with a special group of world-class students who are highly likely to contribute to engineering innovation — and who are also likely to encourage and inspire other students to do the same.
Below are profiles of many of the Jacobs Scholars who began their undergraduate careers at UC San Diego in Fall 2013.
Jason Chu went to Westview High School in Poway and is now majoring in electrical engineering at UC San Diego. Chu served three years as President of Westview High School AP Educational Services tutoring club, which seeks to help students with both completing and organizing their coursework.
“I am proud to have been given the opportunity to build an environment that encourages students to fulfill their full academic potential as well as build strong connections between tutors and students that grow into friendships and further achievements,” Chu said.
Computer science major Nick Guo went to Torrey Pines High School, where he participated in the school’s Botball robotics team and took an active role in recruiting new students to the team. Starting with a simple robot that drives straight, Guo and his team built it up to a robust competition robot that incorporates a camera with infrared sensors to pick out only green pompoms.
“My team placed first in regionals, and we defended our title as the reigning San Diego champions. We also received the judge’s choice trophy for best overall design and were honored with an award from the United States Air Force for innovation in technology,” said Guo.
Rachel Hsiong is a mechanical engineering major at the Jacobs School. At Oak Park High School near Thousand Oaks, Hsiong took on leadership roles in many community service projects, including the Oak Park High School Supply Drive, which collected needed school supplies for students affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“It felt great to hear back and visibly see the impact even a small club at a small town high school could have,” Hsiong said.
Irvine’s Northwood High School alumnus Rajiv Pasricha is a freshman majoring in computer science at UC San Diego.
Pasricha points to joining programs like the Science Olympiad team at his high school and the Brown Bag Brigade local charity as keys to his success thus far.
“Science Olympiad allowed me to explore a vast variety of scientific disciplines beyond the general curriculum and forge close friendships with so many who share my passion for learning.
Since my current plan is to pursue a graduate degree in computer science, I felt that an undergraduate program that emphasizes research experience is essential in preparing for this goal. This abundance of research opportunities available from my very first term, coupled with the chance to work closely with the distinguished faculty, made the Jacobs School a natural choice for me,” said Pasricha.
Alan Puah went to Piedmont Hills High School in San Jose and is now a freshman majoring in structural engineering at UC San Diego.
In the spring of 2012, Puah competed in the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco’s High School Design Competition and was awarded 3rd place in Building Information Modeling for his sailing center presentation.
“I learned how to push myself beyond my comfort zone and gained experience in problem solving and time management,” said Puah. “I chose to study at the Jacobs School because their one-of-a-kind undergraduate program in structural engineering will allow me both the depth and breadth of study in my interest in structures.”
Puah’s career goals start with becoming a licensed structural engineer and then perhaps starting his own firm.
Andrew Wang is from Fremont, CA. A graduate of Irvington High School, he is majoring in computer science: bioinformatics at UC San Diego. Wang co-founded the Science for Youth organization with three acquaintances from schools around the San Francisco Bay Area. The goal is enhancing local STEM education efforts by providing free science presentations at public locales. Today, Science for Youth has over 80 active volunteers around the Bay Area and hosts bi-weekly forums at four libraries around the Bay Area. Science for Youth has reached over 2,600 students in the course of two years, according to Wang, who is also an accomplished pianist.
“I chose to study at the Jacobs School of Engineering primarily because of the exciting developments in bioinformatics blossoming in UC San Diego. Having found bioinformatics as my dream career due to my love of solving novel applied mathematics problems and fascination in exploring a field of biology with immense potential for progress, I recognized the Jacobs School scholarship as an exciting opportunity to pursue my dream career at the epicenter of its rapid development,” said Wang.
From Laguna Hills High School in Orange County, Collin Wasley is now a freshman majoring in computer science at UC San Diego. In high school, Wasley earned the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America. He is also an accomplished cross country runner.
“I was very attracted to the Jacobs School of Engineering because of its prestige, especially for my intended major (computer science). The school places an emphasis on research and allowing research opportunities for as many students as possible. As a Jacobs Scholar, I am able to take full advantage of these generous opportunities very quickly. These kinds of opportunities will help me in my future graduate school search and career search, and therefore greatly influenced my choice to attend the Jacobs School of Engineering,” Wasley said.
Torrey Pines High School alumnus Angela Zou is a freshman majoring in bioengineering at UC San Diego. Zou served as President of the Journal of Youths in Science (JOURNYS). Zou was a 2012 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Top 20 Finalist and enjoys oil painting and running.
“UC San Diego and the Jacobs School provide the perfect combination: wonderful academics, faculty, and research; a top-notch bioengineering program; and a diverse, vibrant, supportive community — all located in one of the world’s most beautiful, temperate cities.”
Zou’s career goals include becoming a physician and teaching, “I hope to work in a teaching hospital so I can combine my interests in teaching and research with my passion for practicing medicine.”