Valerie Du '15

Baylor College of Medicine ‘23
Rice University, B.A. Chemistry ’19
10 Years at CSG

Activities: Varsity Tennis and Swimming, Class and Student Council President, Co-Founder of the Spanish newspaper, OroRojo, Yearbook Editor

Finding my Voice

One of my proudest achievements that I attribute to CSG is overcoming my shyness. When I was younger I was so quiet and shy that, if I walked by one of my good friends, my “hello” could barely be heard. In Middle School, I began to change this timidity. I had gone to the same school for three years at that point, and my classmates and teachers pushed me to be more open and assertive. Although I had grown comfortable in speaking up with my friends, I was still hesitant about speaking in front of crowds. Several years later, I was asked to give a speech in front of the entire Upper School. I knew the daunting task of speaking to a large group was another hurdle I needed to overcome, and the encouragement of my peers and teachers helped me to conquer my nervousness. My progress had been gradual at times but, with help and reassurance, I had grown comfortable with my voice. My confidence had grown exponentially; I was no longer afraid of being too quiet, and was, instead, afraid of not being heard. Thanks to CSG, I am more than eager to raise my hand and voice my opinion. Forget the old me, the shy and quiet me, the me who was afraid of talking—I will now always be the new me, the outgoing me, the me that I am proud to be.

Beyond Columbia Ave.

Some of my greatest memories from high school center around my extracurricular activities and, thanks to the experiences I had at CSG, I have been able to excel outside of the classroom. As a member of student council, I learned valuable and incomparable communication and leadership skills that I carried through to my interviews for research positions at The Ohio State University, and to my shadowing opportunities at various hospitals. And thanks to the many outstanding CSG alumnae, I was able to begin an internship with Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that provides highly trained assistance dogs. My achievements and learning opportunities around Columbus would not have been attainable without the help of great faculty, advisors, and friends at CSG, who shaped me into a strong candidate for whatever direction I dreamed of going.

CSG Unicorn to Rice Owl

I am a proud chemistry major, a decision I attribute almost entirely to my science experiences at CSG. I have always been passionate about science, but never imagined that I would be glad to spend hours drawing organic chemistry mechanisms, or to study late into the night for a general chemistry exam. After my first class in CSG’s Upper School, with one of the most amazing and inspiring chemistry teachers, I was never the same! Every teacher at CSG, my chemistry teacher included, loves what they teach and truly values every single student. If I ever needed help in my classes, I knew I could just knock on the classroom door and they would devote all of their attention to my success. I never felt like just a face in the classroom and, thanks to such an amazing faculty and staff, I became an even stronger student. My love for academics carried beyond the halls of CSG to Rice University; and even though I have graduated and formed new memories and friendships in college, I still always find time to visit the teachers who have made such an impact on my life.

The Real Heroes: College Counselors

Going into senior year and the college application process, I knew exactly what I wanted: dual-degree medical programs. I had spent so much of my high school career exploring the science and medical fields that I was sure to which universities and specialized programs I wanted to apply - a whopping 19 universities, 14 of which were dual-degree programs. The programs to which I applied required not only the traditional application elements of test scores and a transcript, but also additional essays and recommendations. So, with the long list of essays I had to write, my college counselor had to work even harder to fill those extra requirements. Throughout the daunting process, I heard only encouragement from my counselor as I tackled the mountain of essays I needed to write. And after hearing back from my universities, she was the first person I would tell – the good news or the bad news. I was able to build a strong relationship with my college counselor, and I still update her about college, even after my graduation. I am thankful for all of the hard work that the college counseling office put in for my crazy list of schools. Thanks to them, I was accepted to my dream program and became a Rice/Baylor Medical Scholar—a program which only accepted six students nationwide.

Future Ambitions

After graduating from Rice, I will be attending Baylor College of Medicine in Houston for medical school. I have plans to become a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon and, because of my time at Rice and the impact my CSG teachers have made, I also want to pursue teaching. I plan to complete my medical degree, and also teach future doctors in some kind of classroom or lab setting.