For the second year in a row, a Semiahmoo Secondary student has been awarded a prestigious scholarship to the University of Cambridge.
Semiahmoo's Fred Zhu, was recently awarded the Blyth Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship, which is set up for Canadian students wishing to pursue an undergraduate degree at any of Cambridge's undergraduate colleges.
"I got a call on Thursday and I was in shock for the better half of the day," said Zhu. "I wasn't expecting this at all."
The scholarship is estimated to be worth around $150,000, and will be used toward tuition fees, maintenance and travel between Canada and the U.K. for three years.
Zhu was chosen following an application process that involved an essay, letters of recommendations and flying to Toronto for an interview.
"When I went to Toronto for the interview I was mainly going for the experience, and I thought that was enough, so this came as a great surprise," recalled Zhu, who will be pursuing biology at Cambridge's Jesus College for Natural Sciences Biological.
"My parents had trouble believing me at first, then I showed them the letter and they were speechless." When asked why he had chosen biology as his intended profession, Zhu said it was his fascination with the medical implications of such work.
"I think the field of biomedical engineering is expanding really rapidly, especially with all the innovations we're seeing at the molecular level," he said. "Biology has allowed us to extend our life expectancy by a good 15 years. That's why I'm impressed by the field. I want to be part of that collaborative effort in the future."
Zhu's award follows last year's Semiahmoo grad Tristan Downing, who was also awarded the scholarship and is currently undertaking a master's of engineering at Cambridge's Pembroke College for Engineering.
Out of all the students applying from across Canada, Zhu and fellow Semiahmoo students, Akshiv Bansal and Lloyd James, were among 34 short-listed for the award. For 2012, a total of 110 students applied for the scholarship.
"These students have outstanding ability, but would have not been able to come to Cambridge without the scholarships," said Dr. Geoff Parks, director of admissions at the university in a release. "They will now be able to benefit from the unique experience offered by our world-class university and be a valuable part of its diverse community."