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Kenneth Su


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Hello! My name's Kenneth, & I'm an Arizona high school senior with a passion for nature, writing, chess, & the environment. I'm looking to explore interdisciplinary studies in natural sciences, language, and engineering - I'm hard working, efficient, & looking to add to the next chapters of my life! - State & nationally ranked junior chess player (top 100 US by age since Dec 2014) - AZ Rep: 2018 Barber K-8 National Tournament of Champions - 1st place: 2019 International Youth Championship 14U - 1st place: 2020 Charlotte Open U2200 - 2nd place: 2021 Philadelphia International U2200 - 4th place: 2021 Chesskid National Championship - AZ Rep: 2021 National Online Scholastic Chess Championship - Published poet & author - National High School Poetry Contest: 7x National Winner, 2x Best of Issue Winner - Runner-up, Poetry, Age 18 & Under, 2021 Writer's Factory Spring Contest - Hon. Mention: Poetry, SW Region, 2021 & 2022 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards - Silver (Writing) & Bronze (Poetry): 2022 Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest - "The Quagga", 75,000-word dystopian manuscript, pending publication - AP Scholar with Distinction & National Merit Finalist - Dedicated volunteer (250+ summative hours) - Chess, robotics, Spanish, & standardized testing tutor My goal is to become an endearing, positive force - from people to animals, small families to large communities, & everyone in between. My philosophy is that everyone can do their part to improve their world. Thank you for your time & I wish you best of luck in your future pursuits!


Hamilton High School

High School
2019 - 2023
  • GPA:


  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences
    • Botany/Plant Biology
    • Zoology/Animal Biology
    • Marine Sciences
    • Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education
    • Linguistics and Anthropology
    • Cognitive Science
    • Psychology, General
    • Biological/Biosystems Engineering
    • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
    • Environmental/Natural Resources Management and Policy
    • Biomedical/Medical Engineering
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Test scores:

    • 1560
    • 35
    • 1480


    • Dream career field:

      Biological Sciences

    • Dream career goals:


    • Content Associate

      2023 – Present1 year
    • Elementary Chess Coach

      Arizona Chess Central
      2019 – 20212 years
    • Self-employed Chess Coach
      2019 – Present5 years



    Junior Varsity
    2019 – 20201 year


    • Botany/Plant Biology

      2019 – 2020


    • Calligraphy

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Letters For Rose — Assistant
      2021 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      Robotics For All - AZ — SNAP & Vex Instructor
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Midwest Food Bank — Volunteer
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests




    Donald A. Baker Foundation Scholarship
    Her name was Edna. She was seventy-five, fighting middle-stage Alzheimer’s, and had two remaining teeth. Or, as I liked to call them, isolated pawns. I sit outside, taking in my surroundings. Movie theater, private courtyard, 24-hour emergency service: on paper, Pennington Gardens resembles a paradise. The memory care center’s affordable amenities and gentle suburban sprawl draw the attention of a growing senior community. It is here I find myself playing chess with Edna and her companions, an attempt between two nonprofits to slow the onset of a neurodegenerative spiral. I visit the center to seek a game or a conversation, often turned away with blank stares and empty tables. Those who play sit with heads bent low, shrouded in sorrow and devoid of spirit. The aging crisis is a silent, hidden epidemic. Betrayed by family and mind, they spend the last years of life in exile. Gandhi defines a nation’s greatness by how it treats its most vulnerable members; after my experience at Pennington, it is clear that we have failed. At the University of Michigan, I will continue to explore the concepts I value most. I will discover the microscopic intricacies of the natural world with a major in biomedical engineering, delving into the elaborate relationships between protein folding structures and critical early detection systems. I seek to combine my interests in psychology, neurology, linguistics, and more in order to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s because of its global and abundant breadth. Time is the fourth dimension; the reality of our world is that the progression of aging is unstoppable. But that does not mean it has to be unbearable. My outlook on life was fundamentally shaped by the weeks I spent with Edna. Despite not being related by blood, she felt like a grandmother to me. I admired her resilient attitude on her situation, a mix of optimism and reality; she never wavered under her mental capacity, always doing her best to find the good in every situation. Most of all, she taught me two things: that life is never certain, and that time will never return. We must make the most of our lives with the time we have, because the nature of life is unpredictable, uncurable, and unforgettable. And so I did. I can. And I will. It's time for the individuals in the community to speak on behalf of those with no voice. In Michigan, I will work to mitigate the suffering of the elderly and expand my scientific and social breadth through biology, psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience. Through my efforts, I hope to ensure a future free from the disregard and negligence they face today. Edna presented to me a world fractured under the social discrepancies of the elderly, inspiring me to devote myself to time’s tireless reality—a reality that will be experienced by my community, my loved ones, and me. Back in Arizona, Pennington Gardens continues to forget, but its seniors will never be forgotten.
    Eleven Scholarship
    Echeveria Pulidonis. Hardiness 9-12. Bright sun required. Keep soil moist. Water thoroughly only when soil is completely dry. Drain excess water. I squinted at the soiled label of the succulent in my hand, wiping the sweat from my eyes. Moist soil? Infrequent waterings? In the Arizona heat? I shook my head and dumped the plant into a stray pot, dismissing the contradictions. A desert plant that rejected water seemed entirely absurd, an amusing flaw in the laws of biology. Except it wasn’t amusing when the desert plant died two weeks later, petals wilted and roots shriveled. At my next visit to Home Depot, I described the situation to a gardener, who laughed and responded, as if she dealt with the problem regularly: “Did you overwater it?” She explained that the Pulidonis, like many desert plants, receive vital resources through aerated soils; damp soils saturate roots, promoting deadly decay. I was astonished to discover that overwatering—a condition I had believed was made up—caused the pretty plant’s demise. Soon, another emotion emerged, one that grew with each successive succulent I nurtured: a burning, insatiable desire to learn more. In retrospect, this was a tiny challenge, a minor obstacle; a dying cactus ranks low on the laundry list of challenges students must endure. But it was significant enough to modify my perspective on life. In this day and age, it is easy to get caught up in your world. Only by having an open mind and approaching issues collaboratively and respectfully can we tackle many of the challenges we face today. Working in a garden has enabled me to examine nature’s most intricate processes up close. My relationship with cacti and succulents has broadened to the botanical world, including the multitude of creatures intertwined in a complex web of consumption, competition, and commensalism. I’ve continued to explore the methods by which plants and animals adapt to their environments, investigating how they may translate to human innovation. From designing and testing organic-waste purification systems to evaluating soil diversity and root filtration models, every challenge presents an exceptional opportunity, and every experience evolves my existing understanding. Most importantly, I’ve realized the significance of learning to accommodate and appreciate different perspectives. In stepping back to consider the big picture, we can find ourselves moving forward, collaborating through unique and imaginative solutions. Like our prickly friends, we must stand in the sunlight and sway with the storm: sometimes bending, never breaking.
    Ryan T. Herich Memorial Scholarship
    Books form cocoons of comfort—tombs to hold bookworms. —Christian Bök, EUNOIA E--U--O--I--A Eunoia: [ancient Greece] “goodwill”, “well-mindedness” Oulipo: [French acronym] “Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle” (workshop for potential literature) EUNOIA is a univocalic story of extreme limitation in which every chapter is restricted to words of a single vowel. It is a representation of the beauty of language and the necessity of cultural anthropology: the relations between humans are complex, intimate, and imperative. The language and the mind, graceful and infinite enigmas, are beauties that are taken for granted today. I believe the importance of cultural anthropology is to understand the relationships between languages and how they form the unseeing bonds that unite the world. In college, I hope to continue my discovery of language from an unconventional perspective. It is not enough to explain my story. To understand, I must take you on a journey. ̶E̶--U--O--I--A Although my first introduction to oulipo was through Bök’s work of art, I caught on to his writing fashion almost instantly. I would fill journals with unusual words and quotations, outlining a linguistic chassis from which a plot would follow. Fast forward two world-rotations and a handful of oulipo books; I find consolation in A Void, a classic whodunnit (which will soon honor its fifty-fourth birthday!), and “LMNOP”, a brilliant lipogramatic accumulation by Mark Dunn. Both books display a wondrous affirmation of loyalty to an arbitrary linguistic limitation, warranting an award (Dunn, a playwright, has won four) and a standing ovation. Notwithstanding, my itch for oulipo still subsists, gnawing away at my mind. It is difficult to applaud an author’s labors without—for lack of a fitting idiom—sliding into a similar pair of boots. But I did. I do. And I will. ̶E̶-̶-̶U̶--O--I--A Constant contagions accompany aspirant affirmations. Opinions form as rapidly as ambitions vanish; I start to look past brimming book bins, taking tyrannical warnings with a grain of salt. What a man lacks in lingo is paid for in many ways, mainly in variations of charity or fright. Born into a class of wordsmiths, I pick a third option, as did my family: instinct. Coming from Malaysia and Taiwan, Ma and Pa stick to Mandarin, holding fast against social whims. I plow past organic roadblocks, racing to finish first in a dash for cognition. I grin, thriving on misty cliffs and wintry hills. With a bison’s stamina and a bobcat’s spirit, I spring forward, following a trail of apricot-gold blossoms that pinpoint my solitary road to victory. ̶E̶-̶-̶U̶-̶-̶O̶--I--A Writing with limits is intrinsically artificial. It is a rapid trial, a radical thrill. It gnarls a typist’s script and mars a stylist’s paint. It is an infant child’s Christmas gift, a girl’s first kiss amidst a Sapphic savannah. It is addicting. It is my calling. A man’s brain is marginally plastic, and static rigidity will stymy skill. Insipid filth brings implicit bliss—this is a fact that all “first-drafts” will highlight. A rising military captain, lacking instinct, will miss critical tactics; an aspiring artist, lacking clarity, will stain fancy paintings. Anticipating a lack in standard instills faith in a man’s final ability, balancing titanic affairs as if by magic. I print a diagram in my mind. Smithing a digital library, I find a spark within. That is… ̶E̶-̶-̶U̶-̶-̶O̶-̶-̶I̶--A A vast atlas, a glass canvas… what a starry fantasy that was! An abstract arc—alpha flag, slantways drag, backwards zag—flaps at half-staff. Stalwart analysts track stats and scrawl facts. A scarab caravan grabs a blank map and charts a hard, flatland path past Mass. A man spawns, sharp and savant. A galaxy dawns, calm and clamant.
    Nicholas Hamlin Tennis Memorial Scholarship
    “Tennis is mostly mental. You win or lose the match before you even get there.” —Venus Williams I scoffed. I could not understand the concept of a physical sport being mentally challenging. Points were won when one side was stronger, faster, or more agile than the other. I had been playing tennis at the recreation level since I was six years old, never thinking more about the speed and the location of the ball as I played. I always thought my hardest games would be against the physically strongest opponents. I was quickly proven wrong. My first high school friends were through Hamilton's Tennis Academy. When it was time to determine team rankings, though, we all became extremely competitive. Each one of us wanted to prove that we were better than the other—if only to secure a higher position. I struggled with this distinction, and for the first time, I began to think of other things during the game. I thought about what would happen if I won, or if I lost, and how I would be affected. For the first time, I understood Venus’s claim: the hardest tennis games I have had to play were against my friends to determine who would play on the team. It was because I could not let go of my personal life during the game; essentially, I had disturbed my mentality going into the game and it reflected in my performances. “Friends on the bench, competitors on the court.” Your friend is giving it their all to beat you, my coach reasoned. Therefore, you must not put yourself at an inherent disadvantage by distracting yourself. This idea completely changed my mentality. For the first time, I saw the truth in competition: during the game, nothing else mattered. When I left my personal life behind the baseline, my strokes were more accurate, my footwork more fluid. My friends and I learned to come alive, even in the face of each other. And this soon transitioned to our personal lives, where I grew to respect the true efforts and strengths of my friends-slash-competitors. Thanks to tennis, I formed more genuine relationships with my closest high school friends, on and off the court. My JV season was canceled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, I stepped away from the game for almost two years, vowing to return when I was in the right athletic shape—and the right frame of mind. Soon after, I returned to play recreationally with my academy friends, relishing the mix of banter and competition. It was a cathartic release and a way to regain the lifestyle and attitude that I had developed before the pandemic. I respect the competition on the court and I believe that it is a powerful example of the drive and dedication to every aspect of our lives. The highest ability of any athlete is to give their full focus and effort in a game, regardless of the opponent. Consider the sibling rivalry between Venus and Serena Williams, who have played each other 16 times in major tournaments. Or the “Fedal” rivalry, where Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal maintained a close relationship despite facing each other over 40 times. This is a beauty that I had never learned to appreciate before I began to play. It has shaped my perspective on life and allowed me to take advantage of opportunities as well as obstacles. Most importantly, I’ve learned to care for my mindset and learned to appreciate competition and candor. Because of this, I am forever grateful for the eternal game of tennis.
    Dante Luca Scholarship
    “Ta shi shei?” Who is he? I whipped around. Two third-grade girls stared at me, eyes wide with curiosity. Before I could respond, a supervisor approached me. “They only speak Mandarin,” she apologized. “Can you accommodate them?” My relationship with language is deeply intricate. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a multilingual family—my mother speaks eight languages, and my father speaks four—yet I struggled to replicate their successes. My Mandarin was colloquial at best, having never extended beyond vibrant dinner conversations and the occasional Chinese takeout. As I said yes to the supervisor, I was certain I would disappoint the girls. I slowly repeated instructions and obliquely googled definitions; it was only a matter of time, I thought, before they would point out my difficulties. Instead, the girls were ecstatic. They interviewed me about my heritage and told stories about their international friends. Despite my imprecisions, speaking Mandarin bridged the gap between a young mind and a foreign world. I was presented for who I was: a human, capable of error, curiosity, and compassion. A teacher’s most important quality is the ability to recognize and amend their own weaknesses. By concentrating on language, I discovered a spiderweb of connections that I continue to nurture today. I’ve taught and coached in a variety of subjects, from chess to robotics to SAT reading, and although my talent varies between disciplines, my leadership and emphasis on communication remain constant. Language is the nourishment by which the seeds of culture grow and blossom; my introspection allowed me to provide a cathartic release to multilingual students with shy tongues. The importance of mentoring the youth is overlooked and understated. Teaching children is a privilege—it requires patience and introspection, guidance and love. I teach because I believe in the power of genuine smiles and positive reinforcement. I was influenced by a litany of teachers growing up, and I hope to return the favor and inspire the next generation to innovate and succeed. The period when an organism is attuned to learning and experience is known as the critical period, and it is imperative that we as a society recognize this importance and provide the best education and mentoring for children during this time. It’s part of the reason why I devote myself to multiple cultures and languages: as a multilingual child, nothing is more comforting than hearing your native tongue. This is the reason I found myself sitting in La Herencia, an immersive Spanish and Latin American literature course. After five years of study, I discovered the bridge between formal “classroom” Spanish and heritage “household” Spanish was difficult to master. As a non-native speaker, I was nervous about venturing further into the language, afraid of tripping over casual colloquialisms and cultural references. Yet I still chose to take the class, embracing the risk of being lost in translation. Fast forward one year. My eyes dart around the after-school chess club, searching for faces lost in translation: a leopard's lisp, a dragon’s drawl. I’ve delved into historical Latin-American texts and compared Chinese four-character idioms to progress further into the depths of language; today, I will be able to use my experience to my advantage. A teacher pulls me aside, a boy and a girl in tow. “The twins are more comfortable with Spanish,” she begins. “I understand.” I offer my hand to the boy. This time, I am ready. Today, the teacher becomes the pupil. Three simple words, two endearing grins, one unforgettable experience. “Bueno. Debemos comenzar?” Shall we begin?
    SmartSolar Sustainability Scholarship
    I round the intersection of Queen Creek and McQueen, turning onto Paseo Trail. The six-mile thread is sewn into the fabric of a suburban spreadsheet, easing the gradient between municipal skyline and rural landscape. I pull out gloves and a garbage bag from my backpack. Most people come to Paseo trail to run or fish; I come to Paseo Trail to pick up trash. My ecological passions stem from a common childhood toy: the plastic dinosaur. Yet I was not drawn to intricate fossils or hundred-million-year-old habitats; instead, I was intrigued by environmental catastrophe and mass extinction, slowly grasping the ruthlessness of nature and its elements. Soon, I transitioned from “dinosaur kid” to “dodo kid”: obsessed with extinctions, ecology, and the earth. Today, I continue to explore my surroundings from a bifocal perspective, seeking to connect with Mother Nature through environmentalism and writing. I scour the grassline and the adjacent canal for litter, finding comfort in the plants and animals that inhabit this unique ecosystem. My trash collection efforts are independent of organization and acknowledgment; for me, every loose can and food wrapper represents a personal, constant reminder of the callous human footprint. As I tie and dispose of the brimming bag, filled with organic and manmade debris, I turn to my second outlet of release: pen and paper. In contrast to my quiet environmentalist efforts, my writing endeavors are vocal and insistent. My writer's notebook is divided into two halves: a literary side, where I journal my thoughts and draft poetic stanzas, and a technical side, where I compose animal sketches and scrapbook leaf cuttings for further inspiration. I’ve published multiple poems at various levels of recognition; my nature-inspired pieces have been publicized by local, national, and global youth writing programs. The public may ignore the news, but they will listen to stories—stories I write, with passion and purpose. I believe there are many ways to slow or even reverse the onset of climate change. The human species, as consumers as well as businesses, has prioritized accessibility, cost, and time over the health of the planet, leading to rampant environmental neglect. All of this, however, begins with the education of the people. Progress and reform cannot be made if the public does not believe in the cause—and the public cannot believe in the cause without proper education. Climate change transcends political and economical differences, and it’s time for communities to take action through a push for education and a curb on misinformation. I am doing my part to increase my own education, hoping that I will be able to diffuse some of my experiences to other people. In masse, we have the collective power to make the difference needed. Consider the concept of café culture, where relationships are formed around a local eatery. I've built myself a community within Paseo Trail, reveling in the blend of company and solitude; I’ve detailed pigeon courtship rituals, freed wild rabbits from plastic shackles, and grafted stem samples into flowering existence. The power of nature fosters growth, whether inside a busy coffeehouse or along a winding trail. My pen glides across the paper, charting a path upon which I advance toward generational success, one bag of trash—or verse of poetry—at a time. What better place to lead and publish a lifetime of sustainable choices than in the Grand Canyon State?
    PSIVision: Youths Pursuing Behavioral Studies Scholarship
    Her name was Edna. She was seventy-five, fighting Lewy Body dementia, and had two remaining teeth. Or, as I liked to call them, isolated pawns. I sit outside, taking in my surroundings. Movie theater, private courtyard, 24-hour emergency service: on paper, Pennington Gardens resembles a paradise. The memory care center’s affordable amenities and gentle suburban sprawl draw the attention of a growing senior community. It is here I find myself playing chess with Edna and her companions, an attempt between two nonprofits to slow the onset of a neurodegenerative spiral. I visit the center weekly to seek a game or a conversation, often turned away with blank stares and empty tables. Those who play sit with heads bent low, shrouded in sorrow and devoid of spirit. The aging crisis is a silent, hidden epidemic. Our seniors, who form the backbone of society, are discarded and left to the management of strangers. Betrayed by family and mind, they spend the last years of life in exile. Gandhi defines a nation’s greatness by how it treats its most vulnerable members; after my experience at Pennington, it is clear that we have failed. Pursuing an education in behavioral and cognitive sciences will introduce a period of independence and exploration, connecting me with the concepts I value most. I will discover the intricacies of the brain with a degree in cognitive science, combining environmental and chemical principles to develop organic and efficient mobility-driven solutions. I will delve into the elaborate relationships between protein folding structure and critical early detection systems, seeking to combine my interests in psychology, neurology, linguistics, and medicine. I am passionate about connecting science back to the community—a community I have felt connected to all my life. This is the fuel that pushes me to innovate and inspire; this is the reason that I bring myself to the forefront, a positive force for a neglected community. Today, I continue to utilize my state and national chess outreach to work with local organizations, bringing chess and its benefits to the young and old alike. Beyond my efforts with the elderly, I work with scholastic programs to bring chess to underserved and multilingual elementary schools, fostering partnerships through a mutual game. This engagement encapsulates the need to increase awareness about behavioral sciences and their impact on families and populations. Time is the fourth dimension; the young will grow old and suffer. Only with a thorough understanding of the processes involved in cognition and mental focus can we best prepare ourselves for the future, whatever the outcome. The study of behavior and cognition can help alleviate the impact of the aging crisis. This is a modern societal issue that I am passionate about, and one that will push me as I transition into higher education. It is my duty–our community’s duty–our generation’s duty–to search for relief in a wave of relapse. I will overcome obstacles because I am driven to succeed—if I don’t do it, who else will? The behavioral sciences field includes historical stigmas, encompassing mental health, cognition, and emotions; it falls on the responsibility of the daring, the advocative, and the bold to right a generational wrong. I will not accept anything less than equality, and I will combine science and social justice to meet it. I will work tirelessly to mitigate the suffering of the elderly and expand my scientific and social breadth through psychology, cognitive science, and behavioral therapy, hoping to ensure a future free from the disregard and negligence they face today. Back in Arizona, Pennington Gardens continues to forget, but its seniors will never be forgotten.
    Freddie L Brown Sr. Scholarship
    i. denial The fish is rotten, drizzled in the discrete coating of harmful toxins and homeless mollusks and the crumbs of the bleached corals it once called home. [You are what you eat.] I sprinkle plastics on its scales, beckoning the seabirds to swoop for a bite, laughing at the fruits of His labor. Have men played God? I ask the fleeting wind. The offering nods in reply. ii. anger The restaurant is barren, shackled with the furious echo of higher prices and hidden motives and the blisters from slipping on the sticky, deadly oil. [No use crying over spilled milk.] I wave a straw in front of the store, luring the turtles with lurid contaminants, relishing the remnants of self-sustainability. Is this our purgatory? I ask the empty beachfront. Plastic acolytes chant their agreement. iii. bargaining The water is silent, muted by the squalid screams of hopeless prayers and half-eaten dollars and the ink that penned the ornamental laws of the sea. [A watched pot never boils.] I stick a thermometer into the ocean, observing its red blood rise to the heavens, weeping at the waves that are hot to the touch. Can this be salvaged? I ask the stars above. They vanish. iv. depression Rapacious: Man colonizes. Immortalizes. Borrows the world—an oyster? Or a bomb? Ungracious: The clock hits zero—Mother Nature sends debt collectors in pursuit. Voracious: Dead-end trails run cold. Man consumes all—everything is His. Isn't that funny? There is no past nor future. Only the present—a gift? Or a curse? I laugh at the littered littoral. I smile at the scarred shoreline. Do not compare men to monsters. What would the monsters think? v. acceptance A polar bear walks into a bar and orders a glass of ice. Outside, I sell Styrofoam down by the seashore— There are no more seashells.
    Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship
    Chess, in theory, is a very straightforward game. Knights move in an L-shape, pawns capture diagonally, and the king must escape a check; any manual or computer can demonstrate the power of the thirty-two chess pieces on the board. But there is a thirty-third piece, absent from the battlefield, that exerts the greatest influence on the game. Like an omnipresent overlord, its perpetual countdown is the primary source of leg jitters, frantic scrambles, and an error-strewn analysis graph that resembles an electrocardiogram–which, by the way, logs your heart rate at 120 BPM. Scary, right? The Germans have a word for it: zeitnot, or “pressed for time”. It sits in the chess dictionary along with zugzwang (compulsion to move) and zwischenzug (in-between move). In my first years of competition, zeitnot made a regular appearance in my games. My wasted minutes in the opening manifested as wasteful mistakes in the middlegame. Piece 33 dictated the pacing by which I played chess, controlling the outcome of the game in a sweat-slicked scramble for checkmate. It was not until my introduction to bullet chess did my outlook begin to change. The instantaneity of the Internet popularized this lightning-quick variant, with both players having mere seconds to complete a game. Through bullet chess, I trained my intuition, pattern recognition, and reaction speed. I began to tame the final piece, to appreciate the clock before it vanishes. Whether it’s twenty-four hours per day, ninety minutes per tournament game, or sixty seconds per online match, the rule remains the same: manage Piece 33 wisely or perish. Off the board, the clock remains an integral driving force in my life. I believe that time management is my most important characteristic; it is the “fourth dimension” by which we live our lives, one that is often neglected or underestimated. In striving for success, I’ve learned to absorb information and prioritize tasks effectively, paralleling the strengths required to prepare for state and national tournaments. My work ethic and commitment to a higher standard have allowed me to juggle four years of rigorous coursework and heavy extracurriculars with ease. My triumphs are a byproduct of the abilities I developed through a decade of chess study; my greatest talent is extracting the soft skills–efficiency, planning, problem-solving, and more–from the game I love. And I’m not finished. My journey into higher education will only mark the beginning of my path through life—in essence, the opening to my most important game. At college, I’ll hit the ground running, seeking to unite the fields of biology and language in a multidisciplinary mosaic of innovation. I’ll study the environment and explore the ecological relationships between the human and animal world; I’ll work in the neuropsychological field and delve into the intricacies of the brain and its untapped resiliency. From endangered animals to brain scans, multilingual models to pollution clean-up projects: my dedication to a multitude of interests encapsulates the power of time management, a hidden superpower that gives me the ability to make the most of my time in the game of life. Today, I shut my laptop and roll up my board, square-side up. The black-and-white patterns form a vinyl spreadsheet that outlines my future adventures. The clock ticks on, but I am not scared—I embrace the calm and the storm, the fast and the slow, the ups and downs that are embedded in an intellectual, imaginative, and immortal game. The world is my chessboard.
    Dr. Howard Hochman Zoological Scholarship
    THE_COMPLETE_GUIDE_TO_ENDANGERED_AND_EXTINCT_ANIMALS.pdf Author: Kenneth Su Last Modified: 18 Oct 2013 It was my grandest composition, my magnum opus. Inside, a sixty-page encyclopedia described the characteristics, lifestyle, and decline of several hundred animals. I sat hunched over my father’s old laptop, smiling at the dingy screen—I felt as if I had written a research paper! Yes, it didn’t have a thesis or evaluation, and yes, I had paraphrased Wikipedia and National Geographic articles, so it didn’t really count. But that wasn’t important. At eight years old, I discovered my love for animals was fundamentally entwined with my passion for stories and language. Arizona was the best place for a “dinosaur kid” to grow up. The dry, sandy, rocky landscape was perfect for digging for fossils and searching for long-lost eggs. Yet I was not drawn to intricate fossils or hundred-million-year-old habitats; instead, I was intrigued by environmental catastrophe and mass extinction, slowly grasping the ruthlessness of nature and its elements. Soon, I transitioned from “dinosaur kid” to “dodo kid”: obsessed with extinctions, ecology, and the earth. Ten years later, nothing has changed. I jog Paseo Trail every week, scouting the canal landscape for new birds and flowers. During late-night writing sessions, I’m perfecting my new magnum opus, a twelve-page paper on the commensalism in the Sonoran Desert. My drawers are littered with leaflets brimming with animal sketches and textbook margins filled with unfinished poetry. By combining my interests into a honed, shared experience, I’ve been able to reflect on the natural world, using literary techniques and elements to foster an increased understanding among communities. Science and exploration are the fuels that propel the future, but youth and education are their vessels—vessels of thought, discovery, and generational success. I define a positive impact in the animal world as one that helps strengthen connections between environments. I’ve volunteered at local shelters and helped raise awareness for wildlife conservation projects. I’ve also delved into the science behind ecosystems, studying the restorative properties of cactus mucilage and its potential role in desert water purification. I’ve freed strays from plastic shackles and worked to reduce pollution along canals both through individual clean-up efforts and implementing more accessible waste and recycling opportunities. Some of these directly improved the lives of our local animals, whereas others have facilitated a healthier environment for both human and animal companions. And I’m not finished. In college, I hope to continue my exploration of animals and ecosystems with a major in biological sciences, concentrating on ecology and zoology. I will study the intricate relationships between humans and animals while chronicling the intimate details of a shared ecosystem. Working as a researcher will allow me to explore the details and discoveries of the future from a primary perspective, and my literary breadth will allow me to bring the majesty of nature to people around the world. Whether as a lab assistant studying animal diets or as a conservation specialist tracking giraffes in the wild, I will always find a way to incorporate zoology into my career in biology. Today, I shut my laptop and lace my running shoes. The wintry cold brings a wash of migratory seabirds to the canal, a fleeting beauty that I hope to capture in written verse. Somewhere in Chandler, Arizona, a solitary daffodil peeks over the January frost: an eternal symbol of rebirth, resistance, and a flowering spring.
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    the 0 in home i disassemble the vertebrae and roll the rice grains between my fingers, hoping you would take the hint. the moth-filled lamp casts a muted gradient against the dirt floor. your hair scowls and my breath stands on end. a drunken sow pads the concrete oasis, the vroom of the city, the silence of the sky. you point to the decomposing tilapia and i swallow the maggots inside. you say dis-CUSS but it comes out as dis-GUST and i don’t correct you. the next morning we catch a train to the capital and watch the beggars grab at the rails as they blur into oblivion. i avert my eyes. all humans are the same. what separates me from the sidewalk and the stomachaches? nothing more than a neon scroll. it reads 11:34… red line to taipei. one-way, because you say there is nothing to come back for anyways. we could come back for the beggars, i say. you sigh. the taiwan metro is a closed loop. a sleeping dragon. golden gates long eroded into metal arches, immortal, eternal. for a minute i swear i can see the bright blue sky, but that is just a dream. where we are going, there is no sky. the train lurches. the gates tremble. bones will not burn if left to the flame – that i learned the hard way. the tongue splinters but the lips make no sound – that i learned the hard way, too. you scold me with your kiss on my cheek. i grab my ticket tightly with my good hand.