PETALING JAYA: Junior squash player Yong Sue Ann (pic) is about to take her place among the Ivy League after being accepted into Harvard University.
She is the second Malaysian besides former St George’s Girls’ School student Eleasha Chew to have gained admission into the university since 2010.
Yong, 19, will begin her studies at the Massachusetts-based institution in September.
For the past three years, she has been studying at The Taft School, a boarding school in Connecticut, United States.
“After completing Form Four at SMJK Katholik, I applied and received a scholarship from the school to study there,” she explained.
She said she was excited to start university as her time at boarding school had provided her with a good introduction into American culture.
Yong, who has a Grade Point Average of 3.7 (92%), believed that it was a combination of her grades, school results and extracurricular activities that gained her a place at the prestigious university.
She is a professional junior squash player. Last year, she won the Under-19 title at the Dutch Junior Open in Amsterdam.
“Being a sportswoman has taught me many valuable things. I started travelling for competitions at a young age and that gave me so much exposure.”
Juggling between squash competitions and schoolwork also meant that she had to learn to prioritise her time, she added.
“There’s a certain perseverance that sports teaches you,” she said. citing how a person could train so hard but still had to face defeat.
Yong said she had not decided yet on the course to major in but noted that she had an interest in chemistry and psychology.
“The flexibility is what’s good about the American education model. There is also an emphasis on creative and critical thinking and presentation and public speaking skills,” she said.
Datuk Dr Goh Cheng Teik, who heads the selection panel that interviews students for undergraduate admission into the university, said Yong and Chew ended a three-year “drought” of Malaysian students getting into Harvard University.
“We are extremely happy to see two Malaysians going to Harvard this year and hope this will continue in the next few years,” he said.