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Andrew Zhou

San Jose, CA

The Harker School

Grade: Junior


Reading, Video Games, Rubik's Cubing


Policy Debate, Quiz Bowl, Science Bowl


AIME (2006-2009), USNCO High Honors (2008), NACLO Invitational Round (2009), US Physics Olympiad Quarterfinalist (2008), USACO, JETS TEAMS, Cum Laude


I was born in San Jose, California on August 3rd, 1992 and live there today. In my childhood, I developed a love for learning that clearly still persists today, as evidenced by my participation in the US Physics Olympiad. My participation in academic competitions began in middle school with MathCounts and has expanded greatly since then; I have taken numerous science Olympiads since entering high school and am pleased to have achieved some degree of success with them.

My love for any type of academic challenge has also manifested itself in the courses I take at school. In math, I took AP Calculus BC freshman year, Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations last year, and am currently taking AP Statistics. My hefty course load last year also included Chemistry, AP Physics C, and AP Computer Science AB. This year I am taking Biology and Advanced Topics in Computer Science; the former has exposed me to the more practical side of the sciences and the latter, taught by my physics teacher, Dr. Nelson, has allowed me to develop expert systems and neural networks, which I have found to be a very challenging and rewarding task.

My background in physics began in the freshman physics course I took two years ago. Though not a particularly challenging course, I came out of the class with not only a firm conceptual understanding of physics but also a passion for the amazing capacity of the field to explain physical phenomena. The next year, I got my first taste of the real challenges that physics could pose when I took AP Physics C, taught by Dr. Nelson, and discovered the true intricacies and complexities of the subject. Last year I also took the Physics Olympiad for the first time and was rather pleased to make it to the Quarterfinal round. Unfortunately, laziness and a lack of preparation led to less than ideal results, and the Olympiad ended there for me. It was a learning experience for me, and I am quite happy that the preparation I did this time around has resulted in an invitation to the US Physics Team.

I also have various other interests beyond science and math. I do policy debate and have found that the style of argumentation fits well with my intellectual interests in general. My voracious reading habits further attest to these interests, as I will read just about any block of text I come across, from physics papers to analyses of international affairs to science fiction novels. Another one of my interests is Rubik's cubing; I can solve a 3x3x3 cube in about 30 seconds. In the future I would like to learn to solve cubes of other dimensions and memorize more algorithms that would allow me to significantly improve my current times.

I look forward to attending the training camp and meeting all my fellow team members and am sure that camp will be an amazing academic experience.

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