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Supplement: Stanford - 4 Intellectual Vitality


Leo Choi

Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

As a kid, I use to bring home a botanical case with a dozen cicadas all crawling and a bucket with grass, dirt, and a black mole wiggling inside. I was madly in love with animals and insects. I dreamed of figuring out how cicadas can sing so loud, and how moles can dig so deep.

As a junior, it was stem cell that was strummed to memory while I was playing guitar in front of deaf parents and their children at Gwangju Deaf Association. The children smiled at the tunes and laughed at my mistakes; the parents smiled and laughed looking at their children. I dreamed that the parents could hear my song and listen to their children’s laugh through stem cell therapy.

I had all these dreams and fantasies for many years, but I have regarded them unrealistic; biology as a subject was even less intriguing than mathematics and physics. But the crumpled pages of the World Scholar’s Cup material have fueled my passion for biology, and prompted me to indicate it as my intended major. A source 70 page long was provided to prepare for the biology section of the competition; a rat with human ears, an artificial heart, otoplasty, and Flavr Savr kept my eyes frantic and inexhaustible, prompting me to read the source more than five times, to memorize everything. I realized, after reading about the current nanotechnology, biotechnology, and bioengineering, that my dreams and fantasies were not far from reality.

So I embarked on my current projects related to biology with fervor. Assigned through the farming club, I even managed to create a hydroponics farm using recycled bottles in the school hallway, with friends from the biology department. Also, with the same friends, I joined the Bio-Mania experiment group, planning and executing biology-related experiments. I have not studied biology in depth; yet, I know that my dreams and fantasies are the greatest motivations for me to work and study hard.

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