Ellen Zhang ’21

Yardley, PennsylvaniaMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Ellen’s perspective in Pennsylvania was changed by ten days spent half a world away.

What did you get from a service experience?

Being on a service trip that participated in the Japan Peace Program was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in terms of learning, experiencing, and engaging with people from George School, American University, and Meiji Gakuin University. I met hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) like Koko Kendo and a young leader of an anti-nuclear petition movement.

We learned a lot about the atomic bombs, including the decision to drop them and the aftermath. We visited museums commemorating those who died in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima and learned about Japanese war crimes against POWs and discrimination against Koreans. We also participated in activities like the Hiroshima lantern festival. Every day, we attended history lectures and wrote journal reflections, we also wrote an essay about our experiences. Some of us decided to continue what we learned in Japan by forming an Antiwar Club at George school.

What have you learned from an experience outside the classroom?

I became a peer tutor, to help other students with their Chinese and chemistry homework. It was a valuable experience for me, because to help others I needed to understand their struggles.

More about Ellen:

A competitive dancer for many years, Ellen is choreographing for the first time in her IB dance class. The IB Diploma candidate is co-leader of Reading Olympics and the Business, Environmental, and Antiwar clubs and captained the George School math team’s third-place effort at the annual Lehigh University High School Math Contest. Outside of school, she is involved in the Lehigh Valley ARML Team, which trains for an annual national math competition.