What grades did you attend Bullis? What year did you graduate?
5th-12th grades, Class of ‘10
Where did you attend college and what is your occupation?
MIT, Orthopedic Surgeon
What activities or classes were most memorable for you as you reflect on your time at Bullis?
I loved being part of Ms. Darling’s homeroom and taking AP statistics with her. Beyond her wonderful personality and genuine care for students/education, she is an excellent teacher. She made an AP class feel less daunting, and I have relied heavily on that foundational knowledge through college, medical school, and now on a near daily basis. I also loved Mr. Zimmer’s AP Calculus class. It was the first class that I felt I needed the brainpower of my classmates, and I appreciated how Mr. Zimmer fostered a great environment for us to learn as a team, a skill that is incredibly relevant for the real world. It set me up well for rigorous technical training beyond Bullis.
How did Bullis best prepare you for college and beyond?
Beyond excellent academics, Bullis is a place that fosters a well-rounded student, dedicated to lifetime learning and the pursuit of passions both in and out of the classroom. I was challenged with my schoolwork, but Bullis allowed me to pursue my passion for gymnastics. From 7th to 11th grade, I was doing 2-a-day practices totalling 35 hours a week of training. I am forever grateful that Bullis recognized this source of joy and fulfillment and worked closely with my family to make sure I still received a great education and social life while being able to pursue my passion.
Please tell us about what you have been doing since graduating from Bullis.
I graduated in 2014 and matriculated to MIT, where I was premed and majored in Biology. While at MIT, I was part of the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps through which I commissioned as an officer in the Navy at the time of graduation. From there, I went to Stanford for medical school, where I took an additional year to do full time research on stem cells and fracture healing. I am now an Orthopedic Surgery resident at Harvard, and will be active duty Navy upon graduation.
Which part of your journey has been most rewarding?
It has definitely been a wild ride. I have been lucky to have a wonderful support system and many opportunities that I would not have dreamed of when I was at Bullis. I cannot pick one most rewarding experience, so I will tell you about a few. Professionally, it has been incredibly rewarding being a surgeon in training- medicine is very much a vocation and career path of delayed gratification. However, as a resident, it has been rewarding to not only develop relationships with patients as individuals but also be able to use a surgical skillset to provide a tangible service to patients. There is truly nowhere like the operating room.
Research has also been a fulfilling endeavor- I have been lucky to be engaged in research since high school, and it has made me a more curious, resilient person.
Finally, my Navy experiences have been very meaningful and have only reaffirmed my decision to be a part of a storied tradition. It was actually through a Bullis community service initiative that I discovered my desire to join the military. During my junior and senior years, I volunteered with CAUSE, an organization that provides activities and entertainment for Service members and their families. While volunteering, I spent a great deal of time getting to know wounded warriors and was inspired by their dedication to a purpose greater than themselves. As such, I realized I wanted to serve as a military physician. During college, I spent every summer on summer “cruises” in which I was fully immersed in the fleet from spending time out with Marines to diving underwater in a submarine. I also found myself at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD for two summers in college and again returned as a medical student working on research and clinically with patients. The Navy has brought me some of my closest friends and some of the best people I know. I have learned the true meaning of service leadership, and am excited to serve those who serve as a Navy orthopedic surgeon.
What would you say to Bullis students who are currently on their journey to finding purpose?
Explore any and every opportunity that presents itself to you. You should start off saying yes to most everything as you never know where it will take you. You just may discover a new passion that gives you fulfillment and joy. However, that also means you need to be proactive in your pursuit of purpose- you need to create opportunity, too. Cold call/ email people- boldly but tactfully, ask for what you want. The worst someone can say is no, and the best, well...who knows!
Who is someone that inspires you and how?
As cliche as it is, my parents are my biggest inspiration. They both immigrated to the US from China in the 80s, became experts in their fields, started their own companies, and now are truly living the American dream. As I’ve gotten older, I am more and more in awe of this feat.
What is the best book or production that you have read, watched, or listened to lately?
Lately, I have been interested in memoirs- Phil Knight, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Matthew McConaughey. Audible is the best! I always thought of books on tape as an old person thing that my parents did, but it is wonderful. There is something about hearing someone talk about their story that is so fun and interesting.
What global challenge would you like to see tackled and how do you see yourself contributing to the positive change that you desire?
World peace! Just kidding, but also not really. As a physician, my desire is to heal both on an individual level and on a more global scale. Health is so important and oftentimes we take good health for granted. My world is seeing individuals often at their lowest, and our goal as healers is to help people get better. I hope that I can develop meaningful relationships with my patients while also working to help even more people through research, therapeutic development, and access.
Why would you tell a prospective family to choose Bullis?
Do it. Though it has been a while since I’ve graduated, I am sure the spirit of academic, athletic, artistic excellence, and the development of well-rounded healthy people lives on. Bullis provides the opportunities to discover and pursue your passions and can be a wonderful place to grow up and launch from.
- Class of 2010