Christina Meng Yao Huang’s dreams are coming true and she can barely believe it.
The 18-year-old Fort Richmond Collegiate graduate is heading to Queen’s University this fall for a program only offered to 10 students in Canada each year. Oh, and she’s got a volleyball scholarship to go with it.
Talk about a cherry on top.
"I’ve grown up in a sport-loving family," said Huang, who starting playing volleyball with her parents as a young child. "But then I started to play competitive club volleyball at grade six."
Standing five-foot-11, Huang is an outside-hitter for both the Junior Bison’s volleyball club and the Fort Richmond Collegiate Centurions. She’s also represented Manitoba twice at the provincial level.
Huang knew she wanted to go to school on a scholarship, but she also didn’t want to put her love of sport before school.
"I was always looking at going to Ontario for school because out west here, it’s a big focus on sport, almost sport before school," said Huang. "School is really important to me because they value that more."
Huang checked out a couple of schools before being offered a $60,000 scholarship to the University of Western Ontario. She was going to take it, but then she got the chance of a lifetime.
"I was going to go there, but then this QuARMS thing came up," said Huang.
QuARMS (Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School) is a unique program only offered to 10 exceptional high school students each year. The program shortens the general undergrad to two years, allowing students who know they want to be doctors get there faster.
Just to be considered, students must first apply to the school, meet admission requirements, and then be nominated for the Chancellor’s Scholarship. The scholarships are presented to students who demonstrate academic ability, creative thinking, are involved in the community, and have demonstrated leadership skills.
Then the QuARMS playing field is narrowed down to 300 nominees, and after that 40 are interviewed, and 10 are selected. Huang was one of the 10.
"I’m still in shock," said Huang. "I’m one of 10 people. Everyone that I met at the interviews, everyone was outstanding. I thought ‘OK, whatever, I tried my best, whoever gets in deserves it.’ Little did I think it would ever be me."
While at Queen’s for her interview, Huang met with the volleyball coach who also offered her a $3,000 scholarship.
Huang said she has always wanted to be a doctor but is unsure what she’d like her specialty to be. She is considering sports medicine or pediatrics.
All of her success came as a result of hard work.
She won athlete of the year at Fort Richmond Collegiate and MVP for volleyball, cross-country, and track, and she also maintained at 95% average in her advanced placement courses.
She is excited to bring her talent for time-management to Queen’s this fall, where she will study science.
"I chose science because I love it," said Huang. "I’ve always been interested in Bio (biology) and Chem (chemistry), and for me it just makes sense."
Though she has always wanted to go away for school, the longest time the only child has been away from her parents is 10 days. That was when she went to Singapore for a science forum.
Huang said her parents are excited for her to become independent but she thinks they’ll miss her.
"Every weekend they’re at my games, my dad with the video camera, my mom with the camera," said Huang. "So they’ve been saying ‘what are we going to do Christina?’ cause they’re always at my things. So they might be a little bored."