SDSU Honors student and Provost Scholarship recipient Mary Zhong.
SDSU Honors student and Provost Scholarship recipient Mary Zhong.
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What television shows like "Law and Order" fail to portray is their characters' lives before their courtroom appearance. A show about the hard work and determination necessary to get into law school might not sound glamorous enough for TV, but it is the first episode in SDSU student Mary Zhong’s success story.

The University Honors Program

Mary is a freshman in the University Honors Program, designed to promote excellence through high academic standards and active engagement in a specially designed curriculum. Popular and highly competitive, the program will grow with Mary and other honors students over the course of their academic careers.

"As SDSU moves forward, our aim is for the Honors Program to become an Honors College," said Dean Geoff Chase of the College of Undergraduate Studies. "We want to support high achieving students by allowing them to draw on the breadth of expertise available at a large, research university, while also enjoying the advantages of a small, dynamic college."

Surmounting obstacles, pursuing dreams

The ambitions of the Honors Program mirror Mary's own goals. Working diligently to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer, she is determined her future clients won't be defeated by the struggles she faced in her youth.

Growing up in New York City, the child of Chinese immigrants, Mary was frequently caught in the language barrier her parents faced. Simple activities, such as paying for groceries or attending parent-teacher conferences, were challenging.

Mary became a translator for her parents, and through that experience, she saw an opening into the legal arena.

"I realized that many people who face difficult legal problems need an advocate," Mary said. "I want to provide them with proper representation and, in a way, lend them my voice."

Her eye on the prize

Mary has received the SDSU Provost Scholarship, a distinction reserved for the highest achieving students in the Honors Program. With a wisdom that belies her age, she describes how the scholarship has enabled her to keep her sights fixed on the future. Not only has it lifted the financial burden of education for her family, it has also set the bar for Mary's personal academic expectations.

"Keeping my priorities straight is easy -- I know that if I want to be satisfied and happy in the future, I have to work hard in the present. And that's what I intend to do," Mary said.

Helping future Aztecs

What's more, Mary wants to support SDSU once she has established a successful career. "Since I was given the opportunity attend a great college, it’s my dream to provide support for future Aztecs."

With her sincere motivation and kind heart, there is no doubt of great things to come from Mary as a future voice of justice.

For more on how you can make a critical difference to our students, please visit sdsu.edu/fuelpotential.


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