Jack Zhang

Jack Zhang(2006)


Duke University BS Political Science

Employer/Job Title



Several Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science First Place awards


(College Essay) “Only at Gov. School” I muttered signing the armistice that ended the Prank War of Hamerslag Hall after I found everything on my side of the dorm room had disappeared. In fact “Only at Gov. School” became our byword for everything in those extraordinary five weeks. Without doubt, my participation in the Pennsylvania Governor?s School for the Sciences was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Like many, I began Gov. School a skeptic, lamenting the sacrifice of summer vacation for nerd camp, and ended it a convert, despondent that the experience went by so quickly. One key element that made Gov. School magical was the people. We came from across Pennsylvania; we were farm boys and city kids and suburbanites united by our passion for learning and for our achievements in science. However, we did not realize that we were much more. We were artists, musicians, comedians, dancers, athletes, and much more. Five weeks of living, learning, and laughing together knit us into a dynamic whole. We were each wowed by the achievement of the others, and in this way Gov. School was a humbling experience. In belonging to this beautiful whole we came to better understand ourselves. We often found that our accomplishments were eclipsed by our peers and thus we learned to define ourselves in ways beyond our academic personas. Another unforgettable aspect was that it was organized like college without the competition. We were given much more freedom than we were used to, and we did not have to worry about grades or exams. For the first time in our lives we learned for learning’s sake. The material was by no means easy and we were expected to finish all the homework. We found the solution in collaboration; I was not embarrassed to get help with the discreet math because I was able to give help with chemistry and biology. Gov. School provided me withmy first opportunity to engage in a college level team project and my first chance to publish a research paper. It was also a new experience socially, giving me environment and opportunity to be who I truly am. Above all, what made the program so memorable were the innumerable connections between the people. Having expected geeky introverts, I was astounded by the majority of my fellow Govies who were often even more outgoing than I was. We congregated in the lounges and game halls of CMU in the day and in each other?s rooms at night. The friendships I built while at Governor School are likely to stay with. Govies stay in touch online, on the phone, and in person whenever possible. Though my memory grows hazy when it comes to the material covered in lectures, I retain vivid mental pictures of many unforgettable moments. Of course many of the great things in life happen “Only at Gov. School” but if college is anything like it then I might be happy for the next four years of my life.