Will Song at his mom’s Chinese restaurant in Taos where he busses tables and spent countless hours doing homework and engaging with customers. Photo courtesy of the LANL Foundation, Andrea Multari
Will (Jinpeng) Song, 2018 Taos High School graduate and valedictorian, is heading to Stanford University to study artificial intelligence with the help of a $20,000 Gold Scholarship.
“Walking off the plane and immigrating to the United States, I found myself with only two things left in my life: my mom and a Transformer. That toy became my life for the next 10 years. I saw Optimus Prime’s legs on wounded veterans, his arm on a classmate born without one, his eyes on the blind, his ears on the deaf, and his heart in a transplant box. Since Kindergarten, I have clung to one of the last threads to my past life, neuro-prosthetics. My goal is to make next-generation prosthetics that enable dexterous movements through neurological control systems. Specifically, I will develop an artificial intelligence unit capable of analyzing neurons.
“I received a mystery invitation to attend Stanford for a summer semester and took linear algebra there after my Sophomore year in high school. I was mad that I only got a B, so my junior year I took Calculus 3 at UNM-Taos for validation that I was still good in math and received an A+. I returned to Stanford the following summer, took the hardest class offered, an upper division complex variable course, and got an A–. There was no question where I would attend college.
“A college degree and my career will allow me to help my mother who owns a Chinese restaurant that is extremely labor intensive. She hasn’t taken a day off in years. I have strived to work as hard as her. She nicknamed me Will for ‘when there’s a will there’s a way,’ willpower, and my endless ambition. Receiving this scholarship will act as fuel for my drive to the future.”