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Personal Insight Questions

Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced
others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
Being Key Club President has been the most impactful leadership position to me in my
high school career. Key Club in an international, student-led community service organization. I
have been Key Club President since April of 2017 and I am responsible for delegating tasks to
other officers, presiding weekly meetings, recruiting members, and organizing community
service events. One of the service projects I initiated was a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Dog Toy
Project. I was inspired to do this event after seeing that many members wanted to help out shelter
animals and saw an online tutorial on how to make the toys. The next day, I talked to my club
officers and my advisor about it and I contacted a local no-kill animal shelter who agreed to
accept the donations when we were done. At the next meeting, I asked members to bring in old
t-shirts so we can make the shirts. One hour of community service was offered for two shirts that
are brought in. A few weeks later, we had an after-school session to make the dog toys in the
school library, in which we offered one hour for every two toys made by each member.
However, only a few students came to make the toys and we had too many shirts. Yet, I was able
to adapt quickly and we then allowed members to take the shirts we had so they can make the
toys at home. In addition, we reduced the number of shirts by half because we went through the
shirts and donated the shirts that can still be worn to our school's Caver Closet, which is open to
all students who need clothes. We are close to finishing the service project. As Key Club
President, this project has been the most impactful to me because I was able to lead it all on my
own and I made an impact on my community.

Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked
to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
During my junior year of high school, I was one of twelve students in San Diego County
selected to participate in the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge (FFVF) Youth Leadership
Conference. This opportunity consisted of a four-day conference in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania,
followed by a three-day stay in Washington, D.C. in March. The purpose of the leadership
conference was to educate young citizens about American politics, values, capitalism, and
citizenship. My AP U.S. History teacher had encouraged me to apply.When I found out I was
accepted, I was excited yet scared because I was the only one from my school who was chosen.
Also, it would be my first trip on my own, without my family and friends. My favorite part of the
Conference was the Freedom Summit session, in which we were given lectures about liberty and
security from two college professors. After the lectures, we were assigned a section of a
proposed American Security Act to analyze and change. Then, we engaged in a mock Congress
session and debated the changes each individual group made to the American Security Act.
Having been exposed to these debates between students, I learned that I should be an active
listener and I should not be afraid to talk about controversial issues. Attending this event
influenced me to be aware of current political events happening at a global level in order to
become a well-rounded citizen. Through the conference, I noticed that there are still many flaws
in our society that could be resolved if more people were politically aware. In addition, I learned
more about myself as a leader and my leadership qualities, which has helped me as the Key Club
President. Lastly, I learned about my power as a U.S. Citizen through being politically active
because political changes will continue to impact me. This also inspired me to recently join their
Youth Advisory Council in October of my senior year, which consists of 12 students across the
nation who represent FFVF, advises the national headquarters, and lead service projects within
their community.

Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to
overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
One of the most significant challenges of my high school career was stepping out of my
comfort zone to overcome my shyness. During my freshman year, I have always been one of the
quietest students in my classroom and in my friend group. Although I did great in all my classes,
it had a negative impact on my academic achievement because I would work so hard to avoid
speaking in class, such as in discussions, group presentations, and asking questions. In addition, I
would be so scared of joining clubs that I would leave as soon as I entered the room for
meetings. After a while, I began to realize that if I want to grow as an individual, I had to step
out of my comfort zone sooner or later. I then decided to participate in school events and
activities. For instance, I decided to audition for the school musical, which helped me overcome
my stage fright by performing in front of an audience. I also joined track, which allowed me to
gain more confidence in my strength. Later on, I decided to join Key Club, in which I motivated
myself to step out of my comfort zone through the spirit cheers and icebreakers that we did. It
even provided me with a foundation to build my leadership skills after becoming Club President.
After participating outside of the classroom, I was noticing that I was improving a lot more in the
classroom. My teachers even began telling me and my parents that I was actively involved in
group work and discussions as well. Presentations also became so easy for me to do and became
my favorite project. Now, my peers and teachers would describe me as a leader, a social
butterfly, and someone who always speaks up for what she believes in.

Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this
interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.
I realized my passion for Biology in my sophomore year when we were learning genetics
in my biology class. It was a discussion about meiosis and how chromosomes are exchanged to
create new genetic information at conception. I discovered how genetic engineering can be used
to eliminate diseases and how various programs, such as Ancestry DNA, works to record one's
ancestral background. I was one of the top students in that class and I was able to expand my
knowledge in the classroom by helping other students understand the information throughout the
school year. Many of my classmates came to me for help when they did not want to ask the
teacher and I also gave them advice for remembering concepts and studying tips. I soon became
a student tutor in the class and I even learned more about biology when I was helping others.
Outside of the classroom, I applied to a summer internship at the Scripps Birch Aquarium to
learn more about marine biology and to the Questbridge College Prep Scholars Program, which
allows selected students to attend summer college programs focused to their career goals through
full scholarships. Although I was upset that I did not get into any of these two programs, I
continued to learn by going to the library twice a week to check out biology books and watched
more videos online, such as TED Talks and reading scientific journals. In my senior year, I
decided to join AP Biology. Although it is the hardest class I have this year, it is also my favorite
class because it challenges me to think more critically and there is more to the field than just
working a lab. I want to be a research biologist because I want to give back to society by
working on finding cures for diseases and helping future generations live healthier and longer
lives. Most importantly, I hope that I can create a program to introduce elementary and middle
school students from disadvantaged backgrounds into biology and research at an early age.