Alumni Spotlight: Gloria Wu, Gold Award Holder

In our Alumni Spotlight series, we highlight outstanding Award Holders and share their experience. We hope to celebrate their accomplishments and inspire others in the Award family.

For our Winter 2024 Spotlight, we will hear from Gloria Wu, a Gold Award Holder living in Austin, Texas. She participated in the Award through our partner, the Austin Chinese-American Network.


Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a senior at Westwood High School, and am part of the International Baccalaureate and orchestra programs. Outside of school, I spend the majority of my time planning and hosting service projects with my program, Rise Together. In my free time, I enjoy crocheting and watching musicals. In college, I plan to study psychology and statistics, and I hope to be a psychiatrist and/or researcher in the future.

What were your activities and goals for your Award Level?

Voluntary Service: Weekly “Fun Nights” as a part of Rise Together: every Friday night I lead volunteers in serving children from low-income and single-parent households. Our tasks mainly consist of cooking, cleaning, caring for their safety, and most importantly, cultivating friendships with them.

Skills: Practicing violin, both for solo and ensemble pieces. My main goal was to make the Texas All-State orchestra (which I achieved three times!).

Physical Recreation: Training in preparation for the 3M Half Marathon.

Adventurous Journey: Backpacking trip at the Georgetown Water Loop.

Gold Project: Five-day service trip to Reynosa, Mexico, as part of Rise Together. We hosted STEM activities for local schools and passed out bags of necessities to three migrant camps.

What did you learn about yourself through the Award?

Through completing my Award, I was able to develop my independence and dedication towards my activities. I found that with dedication and patience, I was able to accomplish things that I didn’t think I was capable of (such as my skills goal: making All-State orchestra). I am now more confident and motivated to push myself out of my comfort zone in my future endeavors.

Additionally, through my voluntary work with Rise Together, I was able to cultivate my interest in psychology, particularly with trauma, resilience, and development. This has been a great motivator in my future career choice.

Would you recommend the Award to others? If so, why?

Yes! Regardless of level, the Award is a great way to build strong habits. I believe that it’s extremely important for teenagers to consistently engage in activities that will help fuel their passion and interests outside of school and/or their parents/peers’ influences. In a society that is hyper fixated on short-term gratification, the long-term path of the Award gives something that social media cannot: motivation, resilience, and an understanding of the value in and effort needed to achieve something as incredible as the Award.

Do you have any tips or advice to share with Award Participants and Alumni?

Be consistent in recording hours—I often forgot to record my activities until days or even weeks later, resulting in less detailed reflections. I also wish I had taken more pictures during my activities, so I could have a visual representation of my progress over the months.

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