Even before he begins his senior year at Palmetto High School, Bo You already has a full scholarship to Drexel University. He won the scholarship at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair after he became one of just six Miami-Dade students to move on to the national level.
You says the scholarship to Drexel is a good back-up to have as he applies to other colleges. “I do want to go outside the state for my undergraduate degree,” he says. He has not decided on his major, but he is leaning toward chemical engineering.
“Mainly because last summer I worked on a research project in a lab at the University of Florida,” he says. “Their field of study involved Nano technology, which is pretty much a combination of chemistry, engineering and physics.”
You’s Intel Science and Engineering Fair project explored the possibility of gold nano particles to develop more efficient solar panels.
During his high school senior year, You plans to focus on three main clubs — the debate club, Mu Alpha Theta and the Science Honor Society. He is president of the debate club, an important position because of budget changes that made debate a club instead of a class. That change led to a significant drop in membership.
“The ones that stayed with us have been the most committed,” he says. “We are orienting our club into more of a preparation for competitions. We’re turning it into a replacement for the debate class. We are going to focus more on teaching the subject and the debate format.”
You is vice president of the math honor society and he represents Palmetto in math competitions. He has placed in a statistics contest, and the team has placed three times in statistics as well. He also competes in science events and he has been a member of one of Palmetto’s Environthon teams and the Physics Bowl team.
You is originally from China. He and his family moved to the United States in 2001, first living in Salt Lake City before moving to Miami so his mother could take a job at Florida International University. Having an immigrant background makes his commitment to building bridges between diverse communities a natural.
You is an officer in the Multi-Cultural Education Center based at the University of Miami. The bulk of the work with the club comes in July and August because the group operates a summer camp. He has worked at the camp as a counselor. “We have guest speakers come to talk about their backgrounds,” You says. “Most are university professors or social scientists.
We also have performing arts programs to teach different kinds of dance or song.”
You has been working with the group since he was in the eighth grade. He became involved because of Claudine Charles, one of his former teachers at Palmetto Middle School.
“I am part of the outreach program,” he says.
Among the many activities he has participated in for the organization was the closing event for an exhibit about race at the Museum of Science. He was the master of ceremonies. As a member of the group, he participated on a panel at Day of Dialogue on Martin Luther King Day in 2014. The panel included college students and middle and high school students from other clubs.
“The main topic was to start a dialogue and show how being from different cultures has affected people in growing up,” says You, “and why it is important to recognize those cultures for their uniqueness and their contributions to the community.”
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld