Brahmas commit to top universities

When a new school year begins, whether online or in person, several Diamond Bar High School seniors will be attending prestigious universities across the country, including those in the Ivy League. 

 Jolynn Zhang, Mason Pan and Matthew Lioe  were  admitted into Brown, Daisy Tseng is headed to Cornell while  Christopher Lee will be at  Columbia. In addition, Mena Hassan will be attending Stanford, Catherine Lu to MIT, Jackson Lennon to Pomona College, Michael Cheng to University of Chicago and Grace Lee to Amherst.

Hassan said she has dreamed  of attending Stanford since the start of high school as she admired several aspects of the university, ranging from its emphasis on startup culture to academic opportunities. While she will be majoring in computer science, Hassan intends to explore her other interests such as economics, business and public policy. 

“Hopefully, I can work in either finance or [computer science], especially since I’ll be so close to Silicon Valley, and make a social impact,” she said via Instagram. “I’m hoping to gain experience in a variety of environments, from large tech companies to startups to research labs while working on side projects.”

At DBHS, she was the president of the Society of Women Engineers club, superintendent of the student council and member of Team Sprocket. Through these activities, she learned about which subjects interested her and gained leadership and STEM experience.

“I realized that I didn’t enjoy mechanical or electrical engineering as much, but I did enjoy programming,” Hassan said. “[The clubs] also helped me build technical soft skills that helped me in my applications, including Autodesk inventor, programming languages and collaboration.”

Cheng intends to study economics at the University of Chicago. He said he looks forward to utilizing the core curriculum to pursue his other interests in social entrepreneurship and technology. He is also considering earning either a minor or double major in computer science.  

“I love Chicago’s core curriculum: how every student, no matter what their major is, gets to take courses that span various fields,” Cheng said. “This gives everyone a well-rounded education and fuels discussion on campus because every student becomes somewhat knowledgeable in every topic.”

While a Brahma, Cheng founded the nonprofit organization CultureBloom, which is a program where students all over the world can video chat about their solutions to global problems. He also conducted and wrote research papers on entrepreneurship, business and biology that helped spark his interest in economics. 

“Because I had so many diversified interests, I wanted to attend a school where I can freely explore various activities and not be confined to a set field of study,” Cheng said.

Lioe chose to attend Brown due to the programs the school offered that catered to his major: urban studies. He expressed his interest in Brown’s open curriculum, academic history and urban and environmental studies. 

“I want to learn how to build communities that are sustainable for all people and how to ensure that those people have happy lives, interactions and access to resources,” he said via Messenger. 

He said his involvement in the Wellness Center and Peer Counseling contributed to his interest in pursuing urban studies. These activities helped him realize that building communities requires not only an academic perspective but also a wellness approach. 

“All of these programs have challenged me to think critically about my actions, leadership and purpose and I’m glad that [the programs] could help me grow,” Lioe said.