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ABC7 Top Scholar: Michael Chang

June 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
ABC7 News has selected seven Bay Area high school seniors who've been recognized for their exceptional achievements in academics and activities. They'll each receive a $1,000 college scholarship.

We got a chance to talk law, music and baseball with one of this year's top scholars.

"Hi, I'm Michael Chang and I'm from Saratoga. I go to Saratoga High School and next fall, I'll be going to Princeton University to study engineering," he told ABC7.

Engineering is the perfect profession for this top scholar. "One of my first memories is playing with Legos and blocks and building things like that, and just getting the pieces to fit together, and breaking things apart and making my own inventions," he says. "That's kind of been where my interests in creating things and solving problems has come from," he says.

Or, Michael could parlay those skills into practicing law. "Mock trial has definitely been one of the highlights of my high school experience. Debating, arguing, that's always been something that comes very naturally to me," he recalls. And, that will help Michael follow his true passion, intellectual property and how it pertains to the technology industry. "It's applicable in many different fields not just engineering or law," he says.

He's already working at Stanford University's Office of Technology Licensing. "He's like, 'I think I'm more interested in law. I'm trying to think about ways to get involved with that,' and was real proactive about getting involved with the patent office and has really knocked their socks off and continues to do great work there," high school guidance counselor Alinna Satake says.

He also created a patented design of his own. "The idea is you plug the device into an outlet and then you can plug an appliance into device. The goal would be to reduce electricity consumption in a household," he explains.

Michael also makes time to practice the piano. Plus, he plays the violin and considers himself baseball's number one spectator. "Aside from baseball, which I'm a diehard fan of the Oakland Athletics, not the Giants, not the Giants... I like to just play basketball, badminton, or just go running with my friends. It's kind of a fun way to kind of unwind after sometimes, very long weeks," he says.

On the weekends, he volunteers at Amberwood Gardens Assisted Living Facility. "My grandmother, before she passed away, was living there," he says. "I guess it's, you could call it a thrill almost, enormously satisfying and rewarding."

"I think it's all about focusing on the process and not the result. You should focus on your passions and interests as opposed to what you might gain from it. For me, that was debate and from debate, came mock trial and mock trial, intellectual property. And those kinds of things just naturally flow together and it works out very well in the end," he says.

Congratulations to Michael Chang for his amazing accomplishments.

Join ABC7 on Sunday, June 17, at 10 a.m. for a half-hour special on all seven of our top scholars this year.


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