Meriden students accepted into Ivy League Universities

18 December 2019

Meriden students have been accepted into Harvard University and Columbia University, New York City. Yet another will take up a sporting scholarship at Grand Valley State University, Michigan.

Rising water polo star, Daniela Zapata Rincon, earned a place at Harvard University where she will join the highly competitive world of collegiate sport, the next step in her athletic career. Daniela leaves Meriden as Captain of the victorious S01 IGSSA Water Polo Team. In 2019, Daniela was a member of the New South Wales Institute of Sport Talent Squad and a gold medallist at the 2019 Interstate Championships with the NSW Blues Under 18s Team. Her UNSW Killer Whales National League Team finished third in the Australian Water Polo League.

Born in Colombia, Daniela’s life experience has shaped her career aspirations.

“At Harvard, I will undertake general classes in my first year and then I hope to tailor my studies to focus on a degree in molecular and cellular biology,” Daniela said.

“I would like to work in research in genetics, cancer biology or immunology in order to benefit the health of people in Colombia and other developing countries.”

Daniela enters Harvard’s water polo team under Coach Ted Minnis, the most successful water polo coach in the history of the university.

“I’m excited to play under Coach Minnis. His knowledge of the game will take my water polo to the next level and I’m looking forward to combining my Australian water polo knowledge with what I learn about the American game to create my own style.”

“Meriden really helped me balance my academic life and sporting endeavours and I’m looking forward to doing the same at Harvard as a student-athlete,” Daniela said.

Xinyu Rain Wei has been admitted to Columbia University, New York City, where she will major in Applied Mathematics at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. This Ivy League University’s acceptance rate is seven per cent and Rain’s admission recognises her exceptional talent and commitment to her studies; in 2018, while in Year 11, Rain completed HSC Mathematics and Mathematics Extension 1, achieving full marks in the former and 98% in the latter.

This year, Rain came fourth in New South Wales in English EAL/D and achieved the highest possible ATAR of 99.95.

Rain’s ambition is to work in research and hopes to use her mathematical skills for the benefit of society.

“Applied Mathematics is a skill that’s needed in all areas of research but I’m particularly interested in psychology and the statistical analysis required in that area of research. If I have the skills to process this data, I can go out and serve society,” she said.

Rain was also offered a place at the Imperial College London which she has declined but she is planning to undertake a masters degree as well as a doctorate, so she has plenty of time to choose her next tertiary institution.

“I’m looking forward to living and studying in New York City! It’s the most vibrant city in the world and I know I will have the perfect combination of options to visit museums and Broadway shows and then go back to the quiet of Columbia’s campus to study. It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Rain said.

Tennis ace Olivia Huang has been awarded a scholarship at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Olivia joins the university’s renowned tennis team as she works towards her undergraduate degree.

Olivia’s current tennis ranking is one hundred and seventy third in Australia, twenty-first in her born-2001 age group and seventh in New South Wales in her age group. While the American university year begins in mid-August, Olivia has been invited to start her studies in January in order to lend her impressive skills to Grand Valley’s tennis team as soon as possible.

Olivia plans to major in exercise science and possibly nutrition and is considering transitioning to professional tennis via the American college system.

“I would like to combine my tennis with a career that allows me to help people and nutrition is something I really care about,” Olivia said.

“I’m really excited about joining my school’s tennis team and I’m looking forward to meeting people and challenging myself in every area of my new life.”