Shuofei's memories of growing up in China include the violent mistreatment of his parents for their attempt to violate Beijing's one-child policy. His father fled China first—Shuofei and his mother joined him in New York two and a half years ago. They all settled near Sunset Park in Brooklyn, and set about having a new life—and another child. Shuofei's little brother is now one year old!
At first, school here was rough. "I was blind, deaf, speechless and expressionless," he says. That changed quickly—enough so that last year he was chosen for a summer science program at Rockefeller University.
What did not change is a family heritage of independence and grit. Shuofei is graduating second in his class at Emma Lazarus High School in Manhattan, which has a student body from 18 countries, all immigrants. He will head to Binghamton University after another summer at a Rockefeller University lab. With the deaths of all four grandparents from cancer in mind, he hopes for a career in cancer research. "Science," he says, "is powerful."
Shuofei honored his senior advocate counselor, Anna Umanskaya. Anna runs the NYC Mission Society's Learning To Work Program at Emma Lazarus High School. Anna was also a New York Times Scholar under Soma Golden Behr.