Alumni Profiles

Michael Zhang

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Invercargill, New Zealand
High School: James Hargest College

I grew up in Invercargill, New Zealand. It is a modest city, but home to the world’s Southern-most Starbucks! After moving here from China at 10 years old, I’ve immersed myself in the kiwi culture and grew vastly as an individual. My involvement in science activities within school led me to attend the 2015 London International Youth Science Forum. This trip developed my interest in renewable energy and informed me the possibility of fossil fuel alternatives. In the future, I wish to tackle the energy problem and improve New Zealand’s energy security.

I have been playing table tennis competitively from an early age and represented New Zealand several times. I also like to play piano, especially jazz. I was introduced to the piano through the great classical composers; they taught me discipline and technique. But having been exposed to jazz for the last five years, I learnt to improvise in a way that lets my musical ideas emanate through the instrument.

What drew you to the Robertson Program? The Robertson Program stood out to me as a fantastic award. It is way beyond just a monetary prize, but it is a springboard into an entire new world. To live in a new country, study at a world-class institution, interact with fellow scholars and alumni, and attend exciting summer programs, it just all sounds too good to be true!

Zhang, Michael (Duke 2020)