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Engineering positive change at UCSD

The chance to study electrical engineering at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) is a dream fulfilled for ACG Parnell College alumnus William Zhang.
ACG Parnell College alumnus William Zhang

The chance to study electrical engineering at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) is a dream fulfilled for ACG Parnell College alumnus William Zhang.

One of the most highly-regarded engineering schools in the United States – and one of the world’s leading public research universities – UCSD is an excellent option for students passionate about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“I’ve always wanted to study in the US, and being accepted into any high-level academic institute there is amazing,” says William, who also gained offers of place from California’s UC Davis, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.

“UCSD doesn’t focus on humanities or liberal arts – it’s a great fit for STEM students like me. And since the university is so research-oriented, I’ll be able to gain great insights into innovations in technology.”

William achieved his tertiary goals with strong support and guidance from the ACG team.

“Mr Mills [ACG University Placements Advisor] helped me greatly with the application process, my application essays, and improving my academic profile. Mr Coup [Associate Principal ACG Parnell College] and my dean, Mr Maurer, took care of all the documents and official transcripts that were needed, and they also made sure my application was successful.”

Poised to begin his degree studies next month, William is excited – and understandably a little nervous – about his Californian adventure.

“I travelled to California in 2019 with a university tour group and got the feeling that it’s a place where people get things done – somewhere you can do anything. This will be a completely new start for me. I don’t know anyone at UCSD, and I have no idea what will happen, but I’m really looking forward to living independently and enjoying all the American university experience offers.”

And thanks to the years he spent at ACG Parnell College, he’s ideally placed to make the most of it all.

“Like university, we were given a lot of freedom at ACG. Being able to leave the school during free periods definitely taught me to be more responsible with my time. I’m so thankful for the teachers that believed in me, the students that inspired me, and my friends that kept me going. I didn’t have the smoothest journey throughout College, but ACG made things better and helped me get where I am today.”

During his time at ACG Parnell College, William excelled in a wide range of subjects and received the top mark in the school for Cambridge A-Level music.

“Music greatly influenced my life, particularly during my last two years of College. I was part of the symphony orchestra playing the double bass – performing in Australia was probably one of my greatest school highlights.”

As well as developing his musical talent and thriving academically, William learnt invaluable lessons that will stay with him for life.

“Learning to find success and fulfilment in effort and hard work is perhaps the most important lesson ACG taught me. I met many amazing and talented individuals during my time there, and my own accomplishments sometimes seemed insignificant compared to theirs. However, I learnt to value my own smaller accomplishments and work hard. There will be many more situations where the fruits of my labour are impossible to see and trying seems futile, but by valuing my own work and effort every step of the way, I believe I will find success.”

There’s no doubt a bright future is on the cards for this hardworking, determined and community-spirited teen.

“I may aim for graduate study in the US if I feel that further research is what interests me the most. But for now, I want to gain as much experience as I can during my time at UCSD with internships and research opportunities. My end goal is to provide at least some form of positive change to the world.”