Age:

18.

Parents’ names:

Panprai and Janpen Palipatana.

 

Post-graduation plans:

I plan to attend Cornell University and major in information science with a concentration in data science.

Dream job:

I’d love to be a data scientist or business analyst for a tech giant until I either hold a management role or gain enough technical know-how to start something of my own. I hope to someday oversee a tech-centered organization that would bring effective impact to one (or many!) of society’s issues.

Favorite class in high school:

AP Computer Science, which, from my perspective, is pretty funny. After all, diving into the class without any prior programming experience probably made it the most challenging class I’ve ever taken. I’m still free to admit that my programming skills currently lag far behind those of some of my experienced friends. However, I’ve nevertheless held a great enjoyment in the subject despite still being relatively bad at it, and when that’s the case, you know it’s true love. Enjoying AP Computer Science has definitely played a large role in helping me decide to pursue data science.

Favorite club or extracurricular in high school:

The summer before my senior year, I had the opportunity to participate in Missouri Boys State, a summer program where over a thousand high school juniors come from around the state of Missouri to essentially create a simulation of a state government. Not only did I enjoy learning a lot about the fundamentals of government, but I also got the experience of meeting so many people that came from such unique and diverse backgrounds.

Proudest accomplishment in high school:

During my junior year, I was the president of the RBHS chapter of Mu Alpha Theta, which is basically a math honor society. One of the biggest things our club did that year was hold March Mathness, an event for fourth and fifth graders from around Columbia that featured a math competition, math-oriented booths and activities, and lots of food and prizes. It was really fulfilling and encouraging to see the kids enjoy the event and the mathematics behind it.

Best advice you’ve ever received:

You have the power to control your own destiny. Stick to your goals and your being, with every might, persistence, and resilience. External factors can hold you down, but the only one that can actually keep you down, or get you back up, is you.

Biggest lesson learned in high school:

Be grateful for what you have. We often forget the feelings of all our past successes whenever we get consumed by some inevitable failures. We often forget how fortunate we already are during times when we crave more. Consistent happiness can only be achieved by a perpetual gratitude for everything you do have, which will ultimately help disregard everything you don’t.

Future goals:

Outside of career goals, I also hope to raise a nice little happy family, have a room covered almost entirely in pillows, and own a replica Batman costume to display in my man cave.

Favorite teacher:

That’s a tough one since I’ve been fortunate enough to have so many great teachers across the entire academic spectrum. Mr. Malcolm Smith, my AP Physics 2 teacher, always made learning especially enjoyable. By having experience in the field of nuclear engineering, along with holding an insatiable thirst for knowledge, Mr. Smith was frequently equipped to share real-world application of what we learned in class along with interesting stories. He also graduated high school with a 0.7 GPA — and who doesn’t like an underdog story?

Person I admire and why:

My parents, who I admire every day for having to endure the turmoil of raising me. In all seriousness, having immigrant parents who came to the United States to make better lives for themselves, who ultimately worked tirelessly to give our family the life we have now, has been truly inspirational. They also both have great character, and they’ve worked to instill the same moral qualities in me.

What you do for fun:

When I’m in active mode, I enjoy playing soccer and attempting to play basketball. I also don’t mind a nice hike and hammock, or a very brief jog. In couch potato mode, I’m usually found reading comic books or binge-watching a superhero show, SpongeBob, or gameplay videos on YouTube (because I’m too cheap and impatient to buy and play video games myself).

 

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