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Angela Zhong

1005

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

Bio

Hi there! It's nice to meet you. My name is Angela, and I would describe myself as ambitious, driven, and giving. I hope to continue a life of service as a Coca-Cola Scholar. Please reach out to me or find me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelayzhong/ for more information.

Education

Harvard College

Bachelor's degree program
2020 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Business/Managerial Economics
  • Minors:
    • Environmental/Natural Resources Management and Policy

Cypress Woods High School

High School
2016 - 2020

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Economics
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Law Practice

    • Dream career goals:

      Head of a firm

    • Intern

      Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Summer Intern

      Testmasters
      2019 – 2019
    • No Limits Debate Camp Assistant

      Strake Jesuit College Preparatory
      2019 – 2019

    Sports

    Figure Skating

    Club
    2015 – 20172 years

    Awards

    • 2nd at Theater On Ice Nationals in Choreographic Exercise
    • 7th at Theater On Ice Nationals in the Free Skate
    • 6th at Theater On Ice Nationals overall

    Research

    • Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

      Harvard Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies — Research Assistant to Dr. Alaa Murabit
      2020 – 2021

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      NewGen Peacebuilders — Student Ambassador
      2018 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Rotary International - District 5890 — Governor, Past Communications Officer
      2018 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Advocates and Allies in Law Scholarship
    Lesson 2: Judge Elsa Alcala’s Starbucks order was a grande Caffè Americano with an extra shot of espresso for court days. Lesson 3: Filter her mail with industrial-grade gloves. I was aware of the statistics. While African-Americans comprise 13% of my home state of Texas, they are a whopping 43.9% of death penalty victims. But hearing about how Harris County executes more than any other state is different than seeing the lived experiences inked onto paper. Indigent defendants humanize their jailhouse lawyer’s typewriter with political cartoons; others corroborate envelopes describing squalid prison conditions with dead roaches--hence the gloves. While some culprits are caught, emotionally charged decisions and prosecutorial misconduct abound. Ms. Alcala’s hands are bound by Byzantine procedurals, not lack of expertise. But these injustices just ignite my drive to attend law school and, someday, change the archaic processes that discriminate on the basis of class. I pour over records for viable leads to reply with: a resurfaced recording, a biased juror. Because as hopeless as I feel shredding their pleas, I know that my helplessness is nothing compared to the defeat the defendants must feel when when the guards do not bring them return mail. I continue my relentless searching for a shred of a lead. Lesson 1: Cases are won in the small discrepancies and minute nuances. Perhaps it is the intrigue of a new internship or more likely my exploration of a potential career path, but the prisoners’ letters kindled an insatiable desire to scrutinize, to question for the sake of equity in a system of overburdened public defenders. Defending the indigent is not the same as championing a particular cause or issue, but rather each client is a cause, in and of themselves. While public defenders are usually not on the forefront of impact litigation or other types of law reform; what they do is work in trenches, fighting for the rights of their clients on the ground level of the justice system. This is one of several reasons why indigent defense is not for everyone. Despite these immense hurdles, I investigate the appellant’s innocence and overarching structures like qualified immunity that incentivize police abuse of power. Sometimes, I find enough that I am able to draft a response to one of the countless letters that Past Judge Alcala receives. There are hundreds more to go through, but I just remind myself that this is how I can do my part to champion a just system, not just a system.
    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
    On my way to school, I pass by a handful of shady clubs, decrepit motels, and dilapidated massage parlors. Human trafficking may seem like a third-world problem, but with the highest rates of across the country, with over 17,000 victims being brought in across the border every year, modern-day slavery has flourished in the seedy underbelly of Houston. The structural issues are especially pervasive in minority communities without much social capital: low-income caretakers ashamedly turn to such industries in order to put food on the table, undocumented families are unable to report when their children are abducted, already ‘at-risk’ youth are deemed irresponsible and not worth tracking. Despite these staggering inequalities, law enforcement victim-blames the exploited individual, ignoring the overarching economic coercion. Even well-intentioned forms of aid have failed because of the perception that these issues are not “palatable” enough to talk about in polite company. To overcome this uncomfortability and address this social stigma, I centered the Conference for Peace & Conflict Resolution to start from the heart of the problem by allowing leaders of the future generation to empathize with the lived experiences of victims to empower them to change the cultural structures of their living spaces and address objections of our policies with an insider’s view. I, along with the leadership team, involved over two hundred students in attending the NewGen Peace Conference, where we focused for two days on interactive sessions to learn about the human trafficking that predominantly afflicts Houston’s minority community, as well as four other issues that the youth identified: homelessness, intolerance, environmental degradation, and gun violence. Within just human trafficking, we tackled the intersectional violences that our academics had unfortunately ignored for so long. We taught our peers prevention techniques, lessons on how to recognize symptoms of this systemic problem, and promoted acceptance of victims’ survival strategies, including safe ways to open our homes as battered shelters to those in need. We invited with state-level judges to introduce the legal perspective on human trafficking in the status quo in order to make the societal change an institutional one as well. Through my efforts, I was invited to the Alliance for Peacebuilding and US Institute of Peace as a youth representative and advocated for the Youth Peace and Security Act on Capitol Hill! During the advocacy day of PeaceCon, I had the privilege of learning how to speak to lobbyists and representatives on Capitol Hill and push for the Youth Peace and Security Act, which aimed to increase peace education funding to programs of secondary and higher education. Oddly enough, none of the educators, speakers, or other participants were below 25 either, yet my sponsor noted that they heard “youth" spoken approximately 900 times that day. Instead of backing off of the issue, I pointed directly at the elephant in the room during my speech at the PeaceCon the next day, “We may hear names like Malala Yousafzai but representation should not be only spoken about by adults or only for a select few. In the future, we can and should hear the names of your children too, because everyone deserves the opportunity to become a peacebuilder.” Afterwards, I began to see a cultural change in our communities: hanging in every school restroom, plastered on bulletin boards, was information on how to report the crime without endangering the livelihood of the trafficked victim. A school representative even called me to ensure that these students would be accredited for their missed school time when attending this conference in an attempt to encourage more students to attend the following year. “The following year?” I asked. It was then that I realized my work has only begun. I have an obligation to continue the fight until human trafficking has become eradicated. So my endeavors do not cease at the end of the PeaceCon. I will not stop until youth become the voice of practical, material change. I absolutely cannot afford to. Currently developing an online peacebuilding course, I hope to spread the education I received when organizing Houston’s Youth Peace Conference to those who may not have access to such institutional support. In collaboration with NewGen Peacebuilders, together, we are chartering the Sugar Grove Academy, where all 850 students and approximately 50 teachers will become certified peacebuilders. While my efforts to attend PeaceCon -- a headache of flights, school absences, and potential make-up work -- may be thought of as “troublesome,” nothing worth doing was ever not.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    There is an incredible bias against youth advocates in the status quo; students are taught that they are the future generation, yet told to be less troublesome, less ignorant. The latter is definitively false. Youth are more aware than ever before, with immediate access to major news outlets at the palm of their hand. Additionally, the magnitude of problems that afflict youth are more prevalent than ever before: violence within the classroom destroys the safe environment meant to cultivate scholars. Schools have been shut down with students forced to stay within their homes as an unregulated chemical fire polluted the air with benzene and particulates. The intolerance that breeds on the severe gentrification and segregation of my neighborhoods is perhaps the most suffocating of all. ---- On my way to school, I pass by a handful of shady clubs, decrepit motels, and dilapidated massage parlors. Human trafficking may seem like a third-world problem, but with the highest rates of across the country, with over 17,000 victims being brought in across the border every year, modern-day slavery has flourished in the seedy underbelly of Houston. The structural issues are especially pervasive in minority communities without much social capital: low-income caretakers ashamedly turn to such industries in order to put food on the table, undocumented families are unable to report when their children are abducted, already ‘at-risk’ youth are deemed irresponsible and not worth tracking. Despite these staggering inequalities, law enforcement victim-blames the exploited individual, ignoring the overarching economic coercion. Even well-intentioned forms of aid have failed because of the perception that these issues are not “palatable” enough to talk about in polite company. To overcome this uncomfortability and address this social stigma, I centered the Conference for Peace & Conflict Resolution to start from the heart of the problem by allowing leaders of the future generation to empathize with the lived experiences of victims to empower them to change the cultural structures of their living spaces and address objections of our policies with an insider’s view. I, along with the leadership team, involved over two hundred students in attending the NewGen Peace Conference, where we focused for two days on interactive sessions to learn about the human trafficking that predominantly afflicts Houston’s minority community, as well as four other issues that the youth identified: homelessness, intolerance, environmental degradation, and gun violence. Within just human trafficking, we tackled the intersectional violences that our academics had unfortunately ignored for so long: the invisible violence of hypersexualizing black youth bodies, stigma surrounding LGBTQI+ identifying persons, and more. In addition, we taught our peers prevention techniques, lessons on how to recognize symptoms of this systemic problem, and promoted acceptance of victims’ survival strategies, including safe ways to open our homes as battered shelters to those in need. We invited with state-level judges to introduce the legal perspective on human trafficking in the status quo in order to make the societal change an institutional one as well. Through my efforts, I was even invited to the Alliance for Peacebuilding and US Institute of Peace as a youth representative and advocated for the Youth Peace and Security Act on Capitol Hill! During the advocacy day of PeaceCon, I had the privilege of learning how to speak to lobbyists and representatives on Capitol Hill and push for the Youth Peace and Security Act, which aimed to increase peace education funding to programs of secondary and higher education. Oddly enough, none of the educators, speakers, or other participants were below 25 either, yet my sponsor noted that they heard “youth” spoken approximately 900 times that day. Instead of backing off of the issue, I pointed directly at the elephant in the room during my speech at the PeaceCon the next day, “We may hear names like Malala Yousafzai but representation should not be only spoken about by adults or only for a select few. In the future, we can and should hear the names of your children too, because everyone deserves the opportunity to become a peacebuilder.” Afterwards, I began to see a cultural change in our communities: hanging in every school restroom, plastered on bulletin boards, was information on how to report the crime without endangering the livelihood of the trafficked victim. A school representative even called me to ensure that these students would be accredited for their missed school time when attending this conference in an attempt to encourage more students to attend the following year. “The following year?” I asked. It was then that I realized my work had only begun. Yet, it had already changed my community’s perception of trafficking, and I had an obligation to continue the fight until human trafficking has become eradicated. Now, our volunteer work is oriented around helping the disadvantaged minorities in our community. Now, we understand that our community is only as strong as the weakest member, and together, we must lift each other up. My endeavors do not cease at the end of the PeaceCon. I will not stop until youth become the voice of practical, material change. I absolutely cannot afford to. Currently developing an online peacebuilding course, I hope to spread the education I received when organizing Houston’s Youth Peace Conference to those who may not have access to such institutional support. In collaboration with NewGen Peacebuilders, together, we are chartering the Sugar Grove Academy, where all 850 students and approximately 50 teachers will become certified peacebuilders. While my efforts to attend PeaceCon -- a headache of flights, school absences, and potential make-up work -- may be thought of as “troublesome,” nothing worth doing was ever not.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road Congesting lines is our specialty. To check-in, I’ve transferred souvenirs from my stuffed suitcase to my bulging backpack. My phone pings, notifying me that United 389 is boarding Group A. Metal detectors screech at Victor’s watch. Though the countless flights we board as the USA Debate Development Team ensure we are intimately familiar with security procedures, it seems to be a fact of life that we are perpetually late. Despite my impending departure, I linger as they scramble for their shoes, attempting to stave off the inevitable goodbyes. As the USA World School Debate ambassadors, we are fortunate to circumnavigate various corners of the world and descend into uncharted territory. And no matter whether we find ourselves in Ithaca, New York, or Seoul, South Korea, whenever and wherever I am with my team, I doze off on a pile of limbs bundled in the starchy-white, hotel bed sheets. In the mornings, I awake to the taste of adventure. But all good things must come to an end. Still, I prolong our time, stopping to listen to the soothing fifties jazz that ambles through the airport. Traveling has cultivated our sense of wonder at the life we have before us and the one that we can live. I am too intoxicated to let go. With my team, endless stories are shelved between the ubiquitous, grey, speckled walls and linoleum floors; I am not heading to Gate C14, rather, I am sprinting towards a crossroads: two gates left of relaxing in the warm sand of Barbados and one gate right of munching on authentic currywurst in Berlin. With my team, the thousands of bustling passengers of all different classes, ethnicities, and genders are gathered in a beautiful ‘almost’ between here and there, waiting to be dispersed around the globe. Though we may drastically diverge in our day-to-day lives, the simple mundaneness of the airport threads us together. I am bared to the vastness of the world and all the possibilities it possesses. Sharing secrets in a Taiwanese hotel room at three a.m. or purchasing matching face masks in German Targets during lunch break, my fondest memories derive from people I have known for a handful of weeks. Like when dashing through terminals, racing the clock to reach the gates before they closed, time whirls by all too fast and me and my team are too preoccupied forming the adventures of a lifetime to grasp at its fleeting figure. All I can do is preserve these feelings of wonder -- and the correct airport protocol -- to accompany me in my future travels. Perhaps this way, my time with them will never end.
    Fleming Law College Scholarship
    Eyes On the Road and Off the Screen With the advancement of technology, revolutionary benefits have been introduced to society. With a few taps, I can connect with family from across the world. In the palm of my hands is a gadget with the ability to share my outfit of the day on the internet or type up this essay. With just a quick glance, I can catch up on the latest news. But with these progressions also comes a dangerous disadvantage. Driving, especially at high speeds, requires minute adjustments to accommodate a plethora of circumstances beyond the driver’s control: the weather, other cars, pedestrians, etc. Unfortunately, drivers may often become disillusioned with the mundane drives -- to work, school, or home -- and the accompanying traffic, making their minds more likely to wander to other concerns. Thus, the biggest driver error category is distracted driving, especially on technological devices, such as a phone or global navigation system device, accounting for more than 1,000 injured daily (The Zebra). Attempting to multitask and juggle the responsibilities of life by taking one’s eyes off the road -- even just for a second -- can be a fatal mistake that kills nearly 3,000 people in the United States alone every year (Singh). While it may be near impossible to truly hold a driver accountable for their actions whenever they are driving alone, it definitely is possible whenever there are other people in the vehicle. Oftentimes, it is when others are in the vehicle that the driver actually becomes more distracted by the music, accommodating their guests, or mapping the location. In order to prevent these disasters, there are a multitude of steps drivers can take to change the societal acceptance of the bad habit. Adults often have to commute to their workplace and may have other obligations such as driving their children. Thus, companies ought to encourage their employees to utilize cell phone blocking technology that identifies whenever the user is driving by accounting for how fast their location is moving and if the phone is connected to the car. Many operating systems have free applications that resist the driver’s temptations. Competing applications such as Safe2Save even offer users discounts towards purchases at partnering companies to incentivize the users to consistently launch the app or set it automatically before they drive and reap the benefits. This is especially important as “many drivers continue to use phones even when they are aware of the crash risk” (National Safety Council). Lastly, and most importantly, passengers in the car should assist the driver in eliminating distractions. For example, they can map for the driver or change the music and air conditioning so the driver can maintain focus. The guests can also actively deter the driver from using their phone while they are on the road by communicating to the driver that they do not necessarily feel safe or comfortable in a moving vehicle while the driver is on their phone. It is important to teach the passengers to be as straightforward as possible because this could eventually become a life-or-death concern for both the driver and the passenger. In conclusion, drivers ought not to consider technology as an impediment to their driving but use beneficial aspects to prevent distractions. We as a society should also enforce drivers' correct habits especially when they have others in the car to produce law-abiding citizens that make for a more safe environment not only for the driver, but also for those around him/her.