Strong, inspired and dedicated Year 12 Yingzhu has become BSB first ever Gold Duke of Edinburgh student!
She has just achieved her Silver Award in record time, and participated in a live webinar broadcast worldwide with two other Award students (Matteo and Keira) about their experiences of participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award during the global pandemic and giving advice to others in a similar situation.
We have spoken to Yingzhu to find out more about her Award journey:
When did you start your Duke of Edinburgh International Award?
I started my Duke of Edinburgh International Award Bronze when I was in Year 10.
What was your experience like at that time?
On my first Bronze expedition (see featured imaged above – adventurous expedition 2019), the weather was unexpected, though the forecast did suggest there were chances of rain, but it was much heavier than we realised. Under the harsh weather, I was very underprepared, my clothing did not provide enough warmth over the journey. Everyone was exhausted on the second day of the journey, and we managed to arrive at the destination. Then, on my assessed journey in summer, the weather was much nicer. I also learnt from my experience, so I brough sufficient supplies for my expedition.
Moving on to the Silver award was a personal choice, since this level is not part of the tutorial curriculum at BSB. Why did you decide to pursue this level of the Award?
I moved onto Silver award because I enjoy the sense of accomplishment DoE Bronze gave me. I continued to practice violin, do physical activity and service when I finished Bronze, so might not as well participate Silver. Another reason why I chose to continue is that DoE helps me become an all-rounder. I benefit from participate DoE as it gives me motivation to do sports and enhances my self-discipline.
You achieved the Silver Award at an extraordinary speed. How long did it take you and how did you manage?
I started Silver Award in Year 11 and I finished it in October 2020. I could’ve finished it in June, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, our assessed journey was postponed. I managed to complete all the activities in a short of amount of time, because I practiced violin and did fitness workout and service at least one hour per week and logged them onto the Online Record Book. When you actually remind yourself to put effort into them every week, 26 hours is not that hard to accomplish.
What activities did you carry out? How did you achieve this during lockdown?
As I mentioned above, I play violin as my skill. For physical activity, I learnt how to play rugby at BSB afterschool club before lockdown. Then, I switched to fitness training at home using a fitness app during the lockdown. I was helping Secondary to recycle paper as my service; however, I had to do online service on a website called Zooniverse due to Covid-19. And my job was to help scientists to circle mitochondria that are present in the microscopic photographs of cells.
The next step in your journey is the Gold Award. As the first BSB student ever to pursue this level, what are your expectations and what do you intend to do?
For the Gold Award, I’m still learning the same skill, and doing the same physical activity and service as I did before. However, the standard for the SMART goals must be higher than the ones in the Bronze and Silver Awards. Along with the goals, my expectation for my violin skill is to pass the ABRSM grade 7 violin exam this summer and pass grade 8 when I finish the Gold Award. For physical activity, I’m currently doing fitness with a fitness app, and I expect myself to reach K3/K4 level in fitness—this is evaluated by the app itself. Moreover, my goal for service is to help Nexus become a more sustainable community.
What makes the Duke of Edinburgh Award so special to you?
DoE opened up new opportunities for me to explore my potential and I’m mostly intrigued with the adventurous journey. By doing DoE, I always have to step out of my comfort zone. For example, walking 28 km in one day. Ever since I accomplished my assessed Silver journey with my amazing group, I felt as if everything is possible as long as I put effort into it and I also continue to hike when I’m free with my family.
How have your teachers supported you during the award?
Mr Bower has always been extremely supportive during the award. He provided me information on what service to do during lockdown. He organised the expedition well in order to make our Silver expedition take place during the pandemic. Thank you, Mr Bower! I also want to say thank you to Ms Asbury, who is my group’s supervisor. She was also extremely supportive during our expedition and she patiently waited for us at the destination, even though we arrived there about 2 to 3 hours late.
What would you say to other students around the world who are currently taking the Bronze or Silver Award?
Keep going and, most importantly, enjoy the process! You would thank yourself for taking DoE 😉
BIYSC and Crazy for Biomedicine (Bojos per la Ciència — Biomedicina)
I got accepted into Barcelona International Youth Science Competition and Bojos per la Biomedicina (both programmes are held by La Pedrera Fundació). I’m passionate about sciences and Mr Bower suggested me this opportunity to do science research in depth, so I applied. Now I have theory lessons on Saturdays for Bojos per la Ciència and our practical sessions will take place in the Institute of Research Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona. We are currently having different workshops on biomedicine, biochemistry, computational biomedicine, learning about Drosophila (fruit fly) and how to use them in vitro trials on novel cancer treatment. We connect to PhDs from IRB for our sessions and I will do my individual research on cancer science with my assigned tutor from IRB for Treball de Recerca.
For BIYSC, I got into an organ transplant course with Hospital de Bellvitge. This course will take place in the summer and we will learn about organ transplants, robotic surgery and treatment before and after the operation.
An amazing story all in all. Thank you, Yingzhu. We wish you the very best in your future endeavours.