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Working Hard and Flying High, Wonder Girls Get into Harvard and Columbia
A lot of Imagination. Plenty More Action.
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From left: the HKUST Wonder Girls – Sherwin Wong, Kristy Chiu and Pinky Wong
Working Hard and Flying High, Wonder Girls Get into Harvard and Columbia

From ore rocks to glittering gold is a process of roasting, smelting and refining.

In many aspects, teachers are like goldsmiths. They cultivate, inspire and develop students to reach full potential, to become shining young stars.

At HKUST, we often witness such magical transformation. "We encourage our students to set amazing goals and we are here to help them grasp every opportunity to achieve their goals," said Mr Tony Lam, Head of Scholarships & Financial Aid Office at HKUST.

One of the University’s many endeavours is the ever increasing scholarship opportunities. In 2009/10 academic year, around 1,400 scholarships and prizes were awarded with a total value of $36.6 million. About 15% or our UG students received scholarships – a very high proportion compared to other local universities.

This year, we are particularly proud as three of the nine awards of the highly competitive HSBC Overseas Scholarship Scheme come to HKUST students. "We are the only university with all nominees awarded," said Mr Lam.

Claiming full scholarship (totaling HK$1.2 million) to study one year at Ivy League universities starting this Fall, the awardees – Kristy Chiu Ka Ki, Pinky Wong Nga Ping and Sherwin Wong Po Yi, all BBA Global Business Year 1 students, have been dubbed as HKUST’s very own “Wonder Girls”.

Prof Emily Nason, Program Director of Global Business, was thrilled with these budding leaders’ achievement, "I am very proud of our students’ intellectual capability, admirable personal qualities, and their passionate pursuit of excellence. I wish them every success in their exchange year!"
Receiving scholarships usually denotes outstanding academic performance. When it comes to claiming full scholarship from vigorously competitive ones like the HSBC Overseas Exchange Scheme, it spells extraordinary qualities.

Sherwin has carefully studied the welfare of elderly in Hong Kong. "Prosperous as it may seem, Hong Kong remains home to thousands of elderly living in poverty," she said. Sherwin has drawn up a plan to set up a social enterprise using a self-sustainable business model. She has chosen Columbia University as her exchange university mostly because of its famous Social Entrepreneurship Program.

Pinky will be majoring "Government" at Harvard. A keen observer of political climate, she found that limited information and knowledge may lead to misguided behaviour. Pinky will initiate a student association at HKUST to help improve students’ political awareness and participation when she comes back after the exchange. Pinky’s ultimate goal is to enhance the political awareness of Hong Kong people. "The change that I could make may be small, yet remarkable because great changes often stem from small thoughts," she said.

Joining Pinky at Harvard’s "Government" program is Kristy. She is critical toward Hong Kong’s restrictive education system. "Hong Kong students need to think out of the box," she said. She found the study tours she had been to most rewarding and is eagerly looking forward to the Harvard exchange. An active student leader, Kristy encourages young people to open up, reach out and explore the world. 

Inspired by previous awardees, the Wonder Girls will take courses at neighbouring universities (e.g. MIT) as well as participate in community service there. "As exchange students, we are receivers. We want to be givers and contribute to the local community as well," Kristy said.

Set you aim high and try your best is a HKUST culture. The University gives the confidence and offers opportunities for students to achieve their ambitions, and encourages them to make the most of the opportunities available.