Liberty’s Wang on path to saving lives
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While he is considering a career as a heart surgeon, Oliver Wang may ultimately seek another way to save lives. His dream is to someday open a clinic in a location where vaccinations save lives.
“It’s a different kind of thing,” he said on the impact of saving lives through a clinic as compared to being a surgeon.
During a visit to China in 2011, Oliver was able to “do something productive” in his father’s hometown for nearly three weeks by following an internal specialist in a local hospital.
“It’s way different than here. It reaffirmed the idea and got me thinking about global health,” he said.
Oliver also hopes to visit South America and possibly open a clinic there.
“It’s so foreign to me, impoverished,” he said, adding he would like to help with a medical program there.
But for now, the Olentangy Liberty High School senior is excited and anxious about his future. He has already been accepted to both Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, but is waiting to hear from his dream schools — Stanford and Harvard universities.
Oliver visited Stanford in California last summer.
“It was amazing,” he said. He also visited Boston and Harvard. “I’ve always liked that sort of competitiveness. I also liked Boston; it’s beautiful. I want to experience something different. I’ve been here my whole life.”
Oliver is not sure just when he began thinking of medicine; he chose the science field in his career passport this year. But he happened to come across a test he took on careers in third grade in which he wrote that he wanted to be an animal scientist.
“Somehow that morphed,” he said.
He began thinking of becoming a cardiac surgeon when an uncle recently passed away from a heart problem. A problem, his father told him, that runs in the family.
He had considered bio-med engineering. Tying this in with a medical background, he said would be “this perfect harmony.”
With nine advanced placement courses last year and an additional six this year, he is the quintessential student with classes over the last two years in calculus, microeconomics, macroeconomics, music theory, biology, U.S. history, chemistry, statistics and literature and composition, physics, U.S. government, European history, language and composition, psychology and art history. He is also taking orchestra.
He mused that art history is more fascinating than he thought it would be and noted that much of the coursework was not as demanding as one might think, mostly because the courses are interesting to him.
Liz Golowenski, chemistry teacher at Liberty, spoke glowingly of Oliver. She said that he “has been a terrific person to get to know. He is highly intelligent but not arrogant, strongly compassionate but not sappy, and diverse in attitudes and abilities without being shallow. His range of knowledge is very broad. He is able to successfully complete chemical titration calculations and a most difficult Chopin sonata. Oliver is a integral part of the environmental club that has promoted a highly effective electronics recycling program this year.”
David Hale is a math teacher at the high school.
“Oliver was a junior in my AP Calculus BC class last year. He was a hard worker who would help others if they didn’t understand certain concepts. He volunteered to do after-school tutoring in math with students who needed help both last year and this year. He is a great kid who is always polite and respectful. He is a great representative of Liberty High School,” Hale said.
While science may be the career path that Oliver follows, music is a major component in his life. He began taking piano lessons at “around 5 or 6 years old” and began playing strings in the fourth grade with the school program.
He plays piano on a weekly basis with a friend playing viola at Worthington Christian Village.
The same people come each week to hear them play the mainly classical programs, he said.
“One woman closes her eyes and nods her head to the music,” he said smiling.
“It’s so great to see,” he said. “Science doesn’t do something like that.”
Oliver also performs in school groups and has garnered numerous awards over the years.
Playing tennis other years, he had to drop the sport this year to focus on a public affairs class he is taking at OSU.
“It supplements what I learn in AP government,” he said, adding he also gets to meet others from around central Ohio. An internship is included in the program where Oliver is working with United Way of Delaware County.
He said he does basic office work in addition to working to create a program for the education mission.
“I get to learn so much about Delaware County,” he said.
Oliver also volunteers at Riverside Methodist Hospital. He hopes to have 500 hours by the end of summer; he has 430 hours now. He helps at the information desks, helps with some discharges and does other odd jobs as well.
Among numerous other activities he juggles, he is also treasurer of the school’s service club, organizing a dance marathon set for early in April, which will raise funds for pediatric cancer research. In the short term, he will be visiting Chicago over spring break and looks forward to visiting the Chicago Institute of Art.
In his spare time, Oliver plays in ping pong tournaments with his sister, enjoys movies and likes to eat ice cream, having worked in an ice cream shop since last summer.
“I’ve tried every flavor twice,” he said.
He expects he will be working there again this summer.
With all the courses and activities that he has successfully undertaken, Oliver advises others, “Don’t be scared. It may seem like a lot, but if you try and really like it, it won’t be a problem.”
Oliver is the son of June Wang Wang and Justin Wang of Powell.