Get to know me.
I was born on April 18th, 1997 to my incredibly loving and supportive parents, Dong Zhang and Christine Sun. I spent the first seven years of my life in Knoxville, while my parents worked at the University of Tennessee Textiles and Nonwovens Development Center. Halfway through second grade, when my parents found other work, we moved across the state to Clarksville.
I went to Kenwood High School from 2011 to 2015, where I took part in a pilot “STEM Academy” program that the local school system had concocted. In the end, it wasn’t much different from a regular Tennessee high school, but it did afford me the opportunity to take a few classes at Austin Peay State University in 11th and 12th grade. By the time I graduated, I was spending much more of my day at APSU than KHS. I had become friends with some of the math and physics faculty, and they even let me come along on a few road trips.
I spent the next four years of my life at Vanderbilt University, where I majored in math, physics, and computer science — the nerd trifecta. I was a regular attendant of Vanderbilt’s research talks and colloquia, and I even got to give my own as a senior. I won an Ernest A. Jones Scholarship when I was a freshman, a Goldwater Scholarship when I was a sophomore, and a Founder’s Medal when I graduated.