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My name is Jacob Zhang. I am a second-generation American born in Boston, July 29, 1995.

I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for seven years in various MIT housing while my father pursued his graduate degree. During this time I attended Peabody Elementary School, which closed shortly after I left. After my father accepted a job at NASA in California, we moved to Arcadia, CA for a year where I attended Camino Grove Elementary. We then moved to La Canada, CA near Los Angeles where I attended Palm Crest Elementary for three years. Living in La Canada was interesting because we were located very close to Hollywood, so it was hard to avoid the culture. In eighth grade I was cast in a NYU short thesis film. Two of my friends were the twin actors from the sitcom ‘Everyone Loves Raymond’.

I moved back to Massachusetts to attend Charles E. Brown Middle School in Newton, MA for three years. During this time I enjoyed cross country and track. I lived in Fenway for two years while attending the Warren Prescott K-8 School in Charlestown before applying to Boston Latin School. In high school, I competed in the Junior Olympics for both fencing and windsurfing, and was active in debating and Model United Nations. I now live in the Back Bay area and will be going to Ithaca, New York to attend Cornell University in the fall. Thus far, I have never lived under the same roof for more than four years.

During the summers of 2011 and 2012 I worked as an intern and research student, respectively, at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. During this time, I published three medical papers to a plastic surgery journal. I also had the opportunity to practice basic surgery techniques such as suturing, amputating, and cauterizing on animals under anesthesia, as well as setting up IVs and other life-support equipment.

This summer, I am working for State Senator William Brownsberger at the Massachusetts Statehouse. Currently, I’m working on a number of research projects including wiretapping and long distance education. I was motivated to apply to the Ward Fellowship to help make Boston a better place, especially since I experienced firsthand the shortcomings of the city when a classmate was shot and killed when I went to school in Charlestown. I am also interested in running for public office in the far future, and this fellowship would allow me to gain insight into the political process.

This fall, I am studying pre-medicine at Cornell University with a tentative major in political science. I was compelled to choose this course of study because of my experiences at Beth Israel. My motivation was also reinforced by the medical response I witnessed in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, which occurred a block away from my residence. My future plans include applying to medical school to earn my Doctor of Medicine so I can become a licensed physician, either with the military or in private practice. Either way, I also hope to practice abroad as part of Doctors without Borders. My dream, however, is to be elected President of the United States. Whichever way the wind blows, I hope to make a positive contribution to society much as I am doing as a Ward Fellow.