Spark Li '22

School & Program
University of California, Santa Barbara, Electrical Engineering

Meadowridge Student Since
Grade 9

Born in
Shenyang, China

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have played the violin since I was seven and have passed the level 10 practical RCM Exam which is, basically, the highest level unless you want to become a professional or go into teaching. I can play any piece if I practice enough, but I especially like playing anything from Bach, such as the Violin Partita No.2. I like to solve Rubik’s Cubes for fun. My average solve time is about 18 seconds, but the best people can do it under ten seconds. Globally, I think the average is about six seconds. I also like video games, which is what allowed me to connect with my friends during the pandemic. At the school, I’ve been involved with the Robotics Club since Grade 9. That has been really fun. I do all the technical stuff—building, coding, that sort of stuff. My involvement with the Robotics Club has taught me a lot about teamwork. I wasn’t used to working on a large team, especially with people I don’t know that well. I also like fiddling with my Arduino UNO board and have built a custom keyboard. Basically, I like anything related to mechanical or electrical technology.

How did you first find yourself at Meadowridge?

My parents wanted me to go to a school with a good environment. I actually switched schools two weeks into Grade 9. I liked Meadowridge when we came. The classes were smaller, and I got to know at least a third of my grade early on. David, whom I met in Grade 9, is still one of my closest friends.

Although people say IB is hard, I like how it integrates a lot of things. Physics doesn’t just cover Physics; it teaches you about its societal impacts.

Tell us about your year ahead.

I’ll be living in residence. I just applied for housing a few days ago, so I’m waiting to hear back. I had a chance to visit California before applying, and I like the environment there, both socially and academically. Also, since I’d like to end up in electrical engineering, there are a lot of companies out that way around Silicon Valley for when I finish university.

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

Expanding. I’ll be able to see more of society. Right now, I’m living at my house and going to school and don’t get to see much of how society works. In university, I’ll be able to meet large groups of people and learn all the ups and downs. It’s going to be really fun. Living on my own is both scary and exciting. It’s something I’ve never done before, but a lot of people do it every year and they don’t end up dying so I think I’ll be okay. Cooking is one concern I have, but if I want to eat good I guess I’ll have to learn and adjust!

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

I really like the school environment at Meadowridge. I really like the teachers and the classes. Although people say IB is hard, I like how it integrates a lot of things. Physics doesn’t just cover Physics; it teaches you about its societal impacts. Specifically, I’ll miss Ms. Mohoruk and Dr. Stevenson. They go above and beyond. You can go to Ms. Mohoruk for basically anything.

Favourite Meadowridge Memory.

The Grade 9 and 10 Robotics Tournaments. We only had a few trips—most were cancelled because of the pandemic—but the ones we go to go on were the most fun. We travelled to Victoria and we spent the weekend playing games, walking around, and preparing for the tournament. It was funny because we were supposed to write the engineering notebook before the tournament—it was a requirement—but we crammed it all at the hotel the night before. We wrote it quickly… then started playing games.

Making the most out of Meadowridge – what wisdom can you pass on?

You have to keep up with the work. The more you’re left behind, the harder it will be to catch up. The DP, really, is a two-year course and your teachers will expect you to keep up. Do the work beforehand. For finals, I wasn’t too stressed because I could look back on my mocks and my finals from Grade 11. Keep up and do the work when it comes.

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