By SIMONE YU
With a zealous and kind soul, Justina has proven herself in her high school career to be the definition of hard work and enthusiasm.
With a passion towards computer science, Chen pursued her interest in the start of sophomore year.
“Sophomore year was the first year of the release of the new AP Computer Science Principles course, so it was a bit of a struggle figuring things out in that class since there was no precedent like the course before,” Chen said. “However, it was really interesting to delve into the field of programming and I came to realize how much can be created through just lines of logic and numbers. I was just really amazed at how much you can do with [coding] and how it has the potential to make any kind of application and project you want.”
In addition to her computer science pathway courses, Chen further pursued her passions by trying out for the CODE team.
“Being a part of the CODE team has taught me what it means to work collaboratively. As Front-End Captain, I learned what it means to be an effective leader,” Chen said. “I also love to code in my free time, but I usually spend my time coding with my team, because it is much nicer to work as a group.”
As a result of the team’s hard work in their projects, Chen and CODE are finishing up a development of a web-based application that is intended to replace the school’s announcement system, making the broadcasting of announcements much easier and more efficient.
With the encouragement of her team, Chen has also won the award for the National Center for Women and Information Technology Aspirations in Computing award in both 2018 and 2019.
In addition to her impressively piling achievements, Chen also programmed her very own app called Moodday and published it on the App Store. The app tracks a person’s mood at any time of any day, giving users an easy and fun way of documenting their emotions and productivity.
Besides her dedication towards CODE and her interests in programming languages, Chen also involved herself in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and engaged her passions in helping others by leading clubs and outside activities to help out the community.
“I have always loved participating in community service activities and helping the underserved. As I grew to be Vice President of Red Cross, I helped out with homeless shelters and blood drives, both of which I really enjoyed,” Chen said. “[As the] Vice President of Rotary Interact, I truly grasped the importance of their motto, “service above self,” so I always involved myself with as many events possible, from charity rodeos to the preparation of Thanksgiving food baskets.”
Besides school clubs, Chen also spent her freshman and sophomore year volunteering at the Salvation Army and moved on to being a patient transport volunteer at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where the kind high-schooler helped out many, always with a smile on her face.
Although she works hard at being active, Chen also loves to spend time with her friends, relieve stress with fun activities and develop her other interests in her free time.
“I love drawing both by hand and digitally, and I also occasionally do Snapchat art, which is much cooler than it sounds! I am definitely interested in furthering my knowledge of graphic design,” Chen said. “I also play the piano, violin and flute and love listening to music. Besides that, I love to hang out with my friends, watch Netflix and play Brawl Stars.”
Taking attention to her persistence and many achievements throughout high school, Chen states that she could not have done it without the love and motivation of her parents.
“My parents motivate me to strive for success because they had grown up in poorer conditions, and instead of giving up, worked really hard to get where they are now, and that really inspires me to do the same, especially when I am more fortunate to have a more comfortable living style,” Chen said. “I really take a deep appreciation for my mom, because she really showed me that through education, you can achieve big things.”
Despite Chen’s involvement in the many activities she holds close to her heart, she has always learned to put academics first, a mindset which led her to be at the very top of her class, landing her the title of valedictorian.
Chen will be majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). She hopes to work hard and prepare for her future career in computer science at college, graduate and work at her dream job, Google.
No one can disagree that this brilliant and star student is truly just-in-a world of success, enri-chen-d with passion and dedication and will certainly achieve big things in the future.