Would-be scientist, 13, wins study trip to US as first Chinese delegate

Updated: 2012-07-30 07:55

By Shen Jingting (China Daily)

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Would-be scientist, 13, wins study trip to US as first Chinese delegate

Broadcom MASTERS delegates from different countries attending the science study tour in the United States in May, sponsored by Broadcom Foundation. Provided to China Daily

Zhang Boya, 13, a grade two junior middle school student in Beijing, loves nature and dreams of becoming a scientist - and her resolve was strengthened in May during a trip to the United States.

All her childhood, Zhang has been the apple of her parents' and teachers' eyes. She won various prizes for performing, singing, photography and writing. Most of all, she loves inventing things based on her creative thoughts.

She was chosen as the first Chinese delegate to the United States in May to undertake scientific projects, visit college laboratories and share ideas with young students who have the same interests as her.

"I was really excited. During the trip I learned how great inventions are created and was even more inspired to become a scientist," Zhang told China Daily.

"Study is full of fun because every piece of knowledge I learn today may play a role in my future innovation," she added.

For example, a group of 18 young children from different countries gathered to visit laboratories in Carnegie Mellon University, extracting DNA from strawberries and participating in projects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The US trip sponsor, Broadcom Foundation, called the program Zhang attended "Broadcom MASTERS". Paula Golden, executive director of the Broadcom Foundation, said the program is designed to inspire junior school students to continue studying mathematics and science in order to achieve a personal goal or aspiration.

"The Broadcom MASTERS brings together young people who share a passion for innovation and inspires them to stay with math and science throughout junior schools and into exciting careers," she said.

Delegates are chosen from among the program participants of junior school students by judges at the Society for Science & the Public's affiliated fairs in countries including Canada, China, India and the United Kingdom.

"In addition, through the program, children learned to be more cooperative and develop a team spirit," Golden said. In common situations, most work cannot be carried out by one individual but needs collective support from various researchers.

Zhang Haifeng, the father of Zhang Boya and also a doctor of applied psychology, said when his daughter came back from the United States, many of her classmates were excited as well.

"Not every child has a chance like Boya to experience an innovative trip to the US so my daughter shared her American stories with her classmates," Zhang said.

"Many Chinese students only know they need to study but do not know why they should study." Zhang Boya's experience showed her friends that if you are really passionate about something, you should put your heart into it and persistent dedication will be discovered and rewarded, he added.

Zhang Boya said she had failures and frustrations during her inquiries but encouragement from her parents and teachers helped her to maintain the confidence to carry on. "The trip was also an encouragement. It ignited my curiosity and strengthened my faith in chasing my dreams," she said.

"The trip also told me I am not alone because I have so many friends of my age across the world and we have similar interests," Zhang Boya added.