Olentangy Liberty’s Gu is determined to excel
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Amanda Gu is not your typical high school senior. Unlike most, she finds diseased organs interesting. But then not every senior is contemplating a career in medicine.
Amanda, an Olentangy Liberty student, developed her interest in becoming a doctor the summer before her sophomore year when she attended an anatomy and physiology camp at Wright State University. It was then that she had her first taste of medicine and was able to work on two human cadavers.
She is one of 50 who will be interviewed for the University of Pittsburgh’s guaranteed medical program. Only 10 will be accepted. Amanda’s interview will be over spring break.
She is also waiting on financial decisions from Yale and Harvard. While she is contemplating becoming either a surgeon or radiologist, there are so many directions she could go, she admits it is too early to say what her final medical specialty will be.
She spoke excitedly about a recent shadow experience with an anesthesiologist where, while on the maternity ward, she was able to observe an epidural, spinal tap and C-section.
Moving to central Ohio from Connecticut when she was in the fourth grade, Amanda said if she stays in America, she would like to live in the northeast as she is a fan of the cold and snow.
“I like the cold weather. I like the east coast, she said. But then she also likes the idea of living in England. “It all started with Harry Potter.”
Having visited there once, she hopes to become immersed in the intellectual aspects the country offers and is hoping to do a work study there.
She admits that while senior year is exciting, she is ready to leave for college and try new things.
This year she is busy not only with coursework, but also with volunteer work and other activities.
“I’m doing a lot more with volunteering at the zoo,” Amanda said. As a ZooAide, she interviews for new volunteers, and interviewed more than 100 people last year. She has put in 200 hours of service at the zoo, she said.
She is also a camp counselor for the Ohio Leadership Institute Training Camp for middle school and will soon begin training to be a candy striper at a central Ohio hospital.
Having just turned 17 in January and just beginning to drive, Amanda said transportation for volunteer work has been an issue, so she is not in that many clubs.
But she has run cross country since 7th grade and noted that while it appears to be an individual sport, that the 72 girls worked well as a team.
“We really bonded,” she said, adding all of her friends have been running with her for the past several years.
Music is an additional area where Amanda excels. She has played piano since age 6 and still takes lessons today. She also plays violin, which she began in the fourth grade, in the orchestra.
For the coming summer, Amanda expects to get experience at the local hospital and continue working as an intern in her parents’ pharmacology lab at Ohio State University where she has been working for several years.
Leaving for college may be a bit hard, she said, as she is not used to being away. But she did spend a month in China with grandparents, she said, where she went to Chinese summer camps.
“It’s cool to be immersed in their culture,” she said. Amanda said some of their views about America are “pretty hilarious” such as there is no homework after school, only shopping and parties.
Molly Penrod, science teacher at Liberty, has had Amanda in both honors biology and advanced placement biology.
“Amanda’s list of accomplishments is incredibly impressive. Her dedication to academics has resulted in soaring standardized test scores and various academic awards and honors. She is fluent in Chinese and English, thus publishing articles in a leading Chinese newspaper and competing in various Chinese essay and culture competitions. She has participated in a plethora of summer camps in the United States and China to learn about physics, basics of engineering, anatomy and physiology, leadership skills and Chinese culture among others. It is clear that Amanda has made a clear commitment to her academic responsibilities while making time to give back to her community. I am honestly not sure how she does it all while maintaining her calm, confident composure each day,” Penrod said.
“She has shown evidence of being a very strong leader as well as being a sincere, mature and extraordinarily responsible student. Amanda possesses the ability to see into her future and deliberately prepares for it. She makes daily decisions based on the impact it will have on her future. That is an extremely rare, and mature, way of thinking. I believe Amanda’s determination to succeed will help her to thrive at the collegiate level and beyond. I look forward to hearing about the great things Amanda will do in her life. She is extraordinarily talented.”
Amanda offers the following advice to those coming up in high school.
“Don’t be afraid to take a chance,” she said. Some courses might seem too daunting, but “if you try hard enough, you will succeed. And you may find it more interesting and easier than you thought.”
She found this true herself when, in her junior year, she took advanced placement biology, chemistry, economics, statistics, calculus and literature.
This year is a much lighter load, she said with a smile, she is only taking four AP courses — government, calculus, comp and physics in addition to anatomy and strings.
“Amanda is a very conscientious student, always engaged and determined to excel in whatever she has chosen to pursue, said social studies teacher Doug Wiles.
She is a quiet leader, setting an example for other students through model behavior and actions. Amanda will likely choose a challenging career and strive to be the best in that field. She is a pleasure to have in class,” Wiles said.
For now, Amanda is looking ahead to the next eight years in school, with another four in residency.
Amanda is the daughter of Dawn Han and Howard Gu of Powell.