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Olympiads medal holder receives full scholarship to MIT

Update: March, 18/2018 - 09:00
Đinh Quang Hiếu at the airport upon his return from the 2017 International Chemistry Olympiads. VNS Photos Lưu Trinh
Viet Nam News

by Minh Thu – Lưu Trinh

Đinh Quang Hiếu expressed his concern for the environment, in his essay applying for a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and emerged victorious.

The student, who won two gold medals at the 2016 and 2017 International Chemistry Olympiads (ICO), has won a US$279,600 scholarship from the world’s most prestigious technology institute, MIT, for the 2018-2022 period.

“Reports say 98 per cent of rivers in Hà Nội are polluted, which has a direct impact on people’s daily lives. My essay is about the willingness to solve problems with regard to water pollution,” he said.

Hiếu believes that his passion for scientific research and application of knowledge to a real life situation helped him convince MIT’s jury board.

He is among the 10 “exemplary faces of Vietnamese youth” recognised by the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union. The awards ceremony took place in Hà Nội on March 12.

Born in 1999, Hiếu, a chemistry major from Hà Nội Natural Sciences University’s High School for the Gifted, was named “Golden Boy of Việt Nam’s Chemistry” after he won two gold medals at two consecutive ICOs.

Nguyễn Hoàng Hà, head of the Vietnamese delegation at the 2017 ICO, said he felt proud of Hiếu’s achievements. He gained the highest score, in the history of Việt Nam, at the ICOs and helped upgrade the country’s position to the second rank.

His brilliant achievements persuaded Nguyễn Đức Hinh, rector of Hà Nội Medical University, to sign a decision on enrolling Hiếu directly, so he wouldn’t have to join the entrance exam. However, because of his dream of studying abroad, after returning from the international competition, Hiếu applied for MIT scholarship.

Thanks to his academic achievements, he is one of the 10 “exemplary faces of Vietnamese youth” recognised by the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union.

The secret to his success

"MIT is the dream university of many students who are passionate about science and technology," said Hiếu.

“Many famous scientists and professors graduated from MIT. I want to be a part of MIT to have the chance to approach them, study further and improve my own creativity and knowledge.”

Since Hiếu was busy preparing for the ICO, he started work on his application only four months before the deadline.“There were many things that needed to be done. Only after the 2016 ICO, could I prepare for SAT, TOEFL and SAT2, and I had to continue preparing for the 2017 ICO,” Hiếu said.

And he gained full satisfactory results at the exams: a score of 1,500 at SAT 1,104 at TOEFL, and the maximum 800/800 score for math, physics and chemistry at SAT 2.

Hiếu said it took him a lot of time to think of ideas to write his essays on. Unlike other universities in the US, which require long essays, MIT requires several short essays. Hiếu wrote about his passion for football and his concern for the environment.

Writing in English frequently is very important while applying for a scholarship. Hiếu reads several English newspapers everyday, notes new words and writes them down repeatedly until he remembers them. He also learns English through flash cards, YouTube and English songs.

Hiếu not only emphasised on his great learning achievements, prizes and gold medals, but also proved that he would use his knowledge to serve the community. "I will use my knowledge in chemistry to solve environmental problems," he said.

Winning the precious “admission ticket” to MIT, Hiếu wants to follow material science, which has close relations with physics and chemistry, two of his favourite subjects.

“I want to use my knowledge to make the world a better place. MIT is the leading technological university. I believe that it doesn’t look for only talented students, but for those who can also work in groups and are willing to devote themselves to the betterment of the society.”

His mother, Phạm Thị Khuyên, said she is very proud of her son.

"Hiếu is not only curious about science, but he also enjoys cooking. He watches cooking shows on TV and often learns to cook from them," she said.

"Apart from football, Hiếu also plays the guitar to ease the pressure and stress of study." -- VNS

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