TCHS Rampage

Temple City High School


December 14, 2016

Alumni Watch: Keung-gratulations on being the agent of change

Young Laureate Christine Keung
by a polluted river near Xiangjisi
village, Xi’an, China.

Decked out in a glistening evening gown, 2010 Alumna Christine Keung walks onto the stage of Dolby Theatre amidst applause. Famous actor Chris Pine presented the Rolex Award for Enterprise to Keung, making her the youngest laureate in the history of the award.
The Rolex Awards honored Keung for initiating a project to tackle the water pollution in rural Northwestern China, in which she leads a team to work with villagers, doctors and local authorities on water contamination.
“I’m still soaking it all in,” Keung said. “This project was four years in the making, it felt especially gratifying, just like a testament to the work my team has put into the project.”
Because the Rolex Awards is biennial, Keung started her application process in 2015. Successfully moving to the final round in April, Keung flew to the Rolex Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where a distinguished jury panel, consisting of Nobel laureates, Olympic athletes and astronauts, interviewed her.
After graduating from high school, Keung chose a unique educational experience, electing to attend a women’s college and taking a liberal arts approach to her interest in environmental science. She majored in economics at Wellesley College, and through cross-registration programs with institutions like MIT and Olin College, Keung enrolled in engineering classes and further developed her main interest.
Growing up in an immigrant family who left China during the Cultural Revolution, Keung strived to honor her parents’ hard work and sacrifice. When she was 19, Keung won a National Science Foundation research grant to research soil erosion and ground water resources on the Loess Plateau. That same year, Keung took a long-anticipated trip to Shaanxi, China, where her father had labored as a sent-down youth. Though the unique cave dwellings of rural China fascinated her, Keung was concerned with the watershed pollution upon seeing the haphazard dumping of agricultural and chemical waste.
Furthermore, she discovered the trend that, as men migrate to cities for jobs, women and children mostly remain in villages, enduring the substantial impact of severe water contamination and other environmental problems. Having the ambition to find long-term solutions for hazardous waste, Keung returned to Shaanxi on a Fulbright Scholarship in 2014.
“When I became the first in my family to earn a college degree,” Keung said. “I knew I could use my education to insulate myself from the problems of the world, or to become a force to address them.”
During her years at Temple City, Keung challenged herself with all the AP classes available on campus, assuming leadership positions in organizations like JSA and FBLA. Today, she remains thankful for teachers of Temple City.
“Teachers here really care about you as a person,” Keung said, “I think what was impactful for me was having teachers who invested in my success, recommending me to try different things, whether it was Girls State, physics workshops at Caltech or camping on Santa Cruz Island.”

About the Author

Bobbins Moose
Bobbins Moose is the mascot of Rampage. He represents all alumni that have come and gone through Rampage program here at Temple City High School.



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