Denise Zhu '20

School & Program
UBC, Science One Program

Meadowridge Student Since

Born in
New Westminster, Canada

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I cook a lot – I love cooking! I like cooking ethnic dishes because it connects me to my culture. In Asia, there are so many different cultures and cuisines, but my favourite thing to cook, funnily, is shepherd’s pie – not Asian at all! I also like to embroider and knit. I’m also an expert napper. I take a lot of naps at school. Those DP couches? I slept on them every day. I also like organizing events. I like doing behind-the-scenes work. That’s what I find most interesting. I’ve organized quite a few during my time at Meadowridge, but my favourites have been planning a TEDx Talk, an Operation Med School at UBC, and – finally – all the lunchtime House events. Planning events is fun because you can’t just set tasks; you play every role.

How did you first find yourself at Meadowridge?

I think my parents liked the countryside. For a while, they were deciding between Vancouver and the countryside, but they picked Meadowridge – at first – because of the surroundings. I joined when I was in Kindergarten, when I was about four or five.


Tell us about your year ahead.

I’m going to UBC to study in their Science One Program. It’s an interdisciplinary program will all the sciences. I think I’m aiming for med school, but I want to do sexual health work in developing countries, so I’ll probably minor or do a double major with sociology as well.

Meadowridge gave me a sense of comfort, which let me develop my confidence. People say Meadowridge is like a second home to them, but – for me – it’s my first home. You get such a sense of belonging here.


What was it about Medicine? About the Science One Program?

I used to think science was the blandest thing in the world – it was so straightforward! This will always be this, this formula will always equal this… but then, I saw this amazing Netflix documentary. It was about the fight against HIV and AIDs, and the way we handle these diseases in the western world and how they’re handled in developing countries. Suddenly, Science became more malleable. There are factors that can change these otherwise stone-cold facts. That is what made it so much more interesting. I want to work in sexual health in developing countries. I want to help women in developing countries in overlooked issues. There’s sexism in medicine.

As for UBC, it’s the program. It’s so much broader and there’s a lot more freedom. There’s also a lot of opportunities for undergraduates, like I can work on large research projects. There’s liberty is what you study, which is want I want.

How did you find out you were accepted?

Oh, I was driving. I saw the notification but – of course – did not check it. I got it, heard it, and had to wait. I was on the highway and had to drive for a long time. When I parked, I looked, saw that I got in, and called my parents. I was glad; the program was very competitive.

What will you miss most as you move onto the next chapter?

My friends, the teachers, the people – it’s always the people! Nobody is going to remember the tests and exams, they’ll remember everyone who was a part of them. As for memories, I have a really weird and specific one. Actually a lot of my memories are from my PYP years. They’re really intense and ingrained in my mind. There was this one day in Grade 3, where everyone got sick with the flu and only nine of us showed up to school. So, we did this totem pole representing the nine provinces. I got a nosebleed halfway through, then we had hot chocolate.

Meadowridge gave me a sense of comfort, which let me develop my confidence. People say Meadowridge is like a second home to them, but – for me – it’s my first home. You get such a sense of belonging here.


Left: Denise in Grade 10 talking about her Personal Project  |  Right: Representing Whonnock House at a Spirit Day in Grade 11


Any parting words of wisdom?

Don’t take things too seriously. You will always go back and laugh at yourself. Also, if you don’t have an opportunity, make one! It’s okay to be scared, honestly, it’s probably a smart thing: being scared is what stops you from taking too large of a risk. Take small steps, break it down, do a lot of research and read.

Congratulations to our 2023 Graduates

The Class of 2023 is graduating from one of the most rigorous academic programs in the world. Throughout the past year, and throughout their journey with us at Meadowridge, they have exhibited grace, courage, intelligence, and kindness.

They are all going on to prestigious schools nationally and internationally, to join rigorous programs in a variety of disciplines, and, most importantly, to make a positive impact in our world. We are proud of what they have achieved, and despite knowing change is the only certainty, we are confident that these young people are prepared to not only meet the future, but also to create it.

Read More Grad Profiles