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Draft 2: Essay 1

Three years ago when I first volunteered for StudentRND, a non-profit that hosts coding events for low-income and underrepresented groups, I joined with a specific goal to help facilitate learning opportunities for students without easy access to computers.

While volunteering for StudentRND's primary event, CodeDay, a 24-hour event to inspire students to build projects of their own, I had the invaluable opportunity to meet an immensely diverse community of all backgrounds and talents.

I still remember when I met Billy and Bob: newcomers with differing passions in coding and storytelling. I finally realized the creative possibilities that arise from diversity in perspectives when I watched my mentees combine Bob's background in storytelling with Billy's skills from an intro computer science class, and collaborated to win the "Best Game Overall" Award in the closing ceremony!

Now as a regional manager responsible for organizing and hosting CodeDay, I deeply appreciate my lessons learned on the value of empathy and opportunities that arise from diverse creativity.

In particular, mentoring students in how to focus, and share their passions with others has been an incredibly motivating experience. In pushing students to endure through difficulties and achieve beyond previously set goals has driven me to begin unravelling my own personal hypothesis.

Combining intellectual diversity and focused motivation will enable students to expand and create their own learning opportunities. In consequence, personal mentorship and sharing of passions are key catalysts to propel students to achieve beyond their originally set personal and academic goals.

Joseph Zhong

Joseph Zhong

“The brick walls give us a chance to show how badly we want something. They stop people who don’t want it badly enough.” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

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