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priscilla leung sz kiU

“Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.” ― Marcus Aurelius. Growing up fascinated by moral philosophy, Priscilla Leung applies her learnings to her pursuit of knowledge and social advancement in biomedical sciences. She is driven by an innate curiosity of the world and beyond, from which springs a love and appreciation for all of those within, and from this appreciation, she strives to improve the quality of life of others.

My Story

When she was young, disorienting and repeating radicals filled the paper which now curled under the weight of their engravings. “Again!” Her father’s words echoed through her foggy mind. As delicate raindrops fell from her eyes, they stained the paper upon impact, making the graphite bleed through the pages and her core. Shaking, the 6-year-old Priscilla picked up her pen and copied the Chinese characters again and again until the birds sang for the sun. Each stroke and point was made with precision and care. Eventually, her barely legible characters straightened into uniformity. Without prompting, she would rewrite them over and over again until they were perfect. Identical to the textbooks, well enough to be considered calligraphy. 


Growing up, perfection became the standard for Priscilla. Disregarding the herculean nature of the task, or enormous time and effort commitments required, she strived to do the best in every assignment and assessment, only satisfied with the full score. However, soon enough this unsustainable practice took its toll upon her health in the form of a common disease – eczema. For years, she struggled with her mental health in areas like stress and body positivity. Peers would ask, “Why are you still wearing leggings?” “Why are you wearing a jacket right now? It’s so hot!” In reply, she smiled sheepishly and remained silent. Over time, however, as much as she wished to forget those experiences, she was able to glean valuable lessons from them as well. 


Since then, Priscilla was able to realize the importance of “moderation” and the strategy in balancing her commitments so that she didn’t need to compromise on what mattered. To be successful and maximize her potential, she began to explore and understand the way to live, re-discovering and seeking out new experiences outside of academics, and building a new life there. As she healed, Priscilla also began to see how countless others had suffered similar conditions. On one hand, the severity of her condition compared to others instilled a strong sense of gratitude to which she carries with her in everyday life. On another note however, combined with other personal losses, it had spurred her to turn to biomedical sciences in search for a better solution to various diseases.


In school, Priscilla is actively conducting microbiology research at a university-level laboratory, and has previously presented at science conferences like American Geophysical Union (AGU), Asia-Oceanic Geosciences Society (AOGS), and most recently American Society for Microbiology (ASM) where she was deeply inspired by the work and impact of numerous industry professionals and academics. She has also dedicated 4+ years to promoting mental health and wellbeing among students through a Student Wellbeing Ambassadors society in which she regularly leads events and manages their social media team. The IB Higher Level courses Priscilla has decided on taking are Maths AA, Biology, and Chemistry. Besides her passion in the biological sciences, she is also deeply intrigued by ancient philosophy and classics, especially in metaphysics, and ethics. She aims to utilize her reflections in this area to become a better person and to guide her scientific career. 


In addition to mental health, Priscilla cares deeply for refugee rights and advocates global cooperation. She recalls interviewing one of the founders of Hong Kong Refugee Union, “Speaking with her [the founder] humanized their experiences and I felt moved, motivated to do my best to help them.” Moreover, she realized the power of words in connecting humans together, invoking empathy and sense of justice. Thus, she helped develop a channel in a student magazine, Echo, aimed at telling the stories of people who are in need of help, and another project, Stories of Time, to connect generations of elders, among other demographics, to the modern society. 


Priscilla lives by the quote, “人固有一死,死有重於泰山,有輕於鴻毛。” which when loosely translated, means “Everyone is destined to die. The significance of the death may be heavier than Mount Tai, or lighter than a feather.” To become someone whose death becomes Priscilla wishes to obtain a double degree in biomedical sciences and classics/archaeology in university. 

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