Thursday, May 19, 2011

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: gates millennium scholar

Congratulations to Michael Liao, Fairmont Prep’s first Gates Millennium Scholar

Michael knew something was up when his mom arrived to pick him up from school. It was an ordinary April afternoon, but his mom couldn’t stop smiling – and, for good reason. After completing an extensive application process which included multiple essays and letters of recommendation from Prep College Counselor Mr. Jonathan Dunn, Michael discovered he was a winner of the Gates Millennium Scholarship! 

The nation’s largest scholarship program, the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, awarded 1,000 high school seniors nationwide with good-through-graduation college scholarships this year. Scholarships can be used to pursue degrees in any undergraduate major at the accredited college or university of the recipients’ choice. Established in 1999 with the goal of developing the next generation of America’s leaders, UNCF’s Gates Millennium Scholars Program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Michael plans to put his scholarship to good use at UC Berkeley this fall where he will study engineering – he is interested in both civil engineering and aerospace engineering. He also hopes to continue the Scholars of Ghandu Club he first started at Fairmont Prep. In fact, it’s his commitment to community service and his leadership skills that helped him land the prestigious Gates scholarship. 

As part of the club, he and five club members flew to Africa from June 18-26th last summer and taught at the Ghandu Primary School in Kenya. They lived with families there and taught math, science and other subjects to students in grades 1-8. The Prep students even introduced their pupils to Cal competitions! In addition, Michael returns to his former elementary school in the city of Hohhot in Inner Mongolia each summer to teach English.

Congratulations, Michael on winning the well-deserved Gates Millennium Scholarship. We are very proud of your achievements and your focus on helping others. We wish you all the best at UC Berkeley.

- Contributed by Mrs. Danyelle Knight, Fairmont Private Schools Director of Communications

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