Meet Founding Whittle Scholar JiaJia Fu

JiaJia at the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park.

Founding Whittle Scholar JiaJia Fu joins the Whittle community this fall as a 9th Grade boarding student on the Washington, DC campus. A first-generation American (she’s the daughter of two Chinese immigrants), she currently lives in Westwood, New Jersey.

She is passionate about robotics and competes in the First Lego League. “I really like the research aspect of it, and the very interactive nature of the entire program,” she said. She enjoys her school’s drama program, where she won the Young Playwright award, and has won multiple gold and silver medals for her classical piano playing. She has also competed in the New Jersey Science Olympiad, where she advanced through regionals and states to the Harvard International Event and presented on topics ranging from herpetology to natural toxins.

Her digital camera is her most prized possession. “Whenever I have the opportunity, I go take photos,” she said. “I love art, and I really like to paint and to draw—especially nature.” And she also enjoys listening to music and watching Star Trek with her mother.

At her current school, JiaJia is studying biology and computer science at the AP level, two subjects she enjoys and looks forward to pursuing further. “It’s my passion and my life goal to use biotechnology to improve our planet, the ecosystem, and people’s lives,” she said. At Whittle, she’s excited about pursuing multiple languages, including Latin and Mandarin, which she speaks at home with her family but would like to learn how to write and read better.

One of the reasons JiaJia chose to enroll at Whittle was the personalized approach to academics. “I feel that learning should be something that’s not forced, something that’s not supposed to pertain to the same standard set for everyone, because it differs for each person,” she said. “And I feel like that personal, very in tune type of learning is very important for development.”

Another reason was the draw of DC itself. “I feel like that physical setting is really important—being surrounded by diplomats, being surrounded by science is a really good learning environment and a really good growing environment for a person,” she said. “In my current environment, I don’t have access to many different types of people and different types of opportunities. But I think in the city, there are a lot more opportunities to learn and opportunities to give back to the community in one place.”

She’s also excited about taking advantage of the option to study at other campuses around the world. Already an avid traveler, she and her family make a point of going off the beaten tourist track. “We want to see the country for what it really is, the people that live there and how they coexist with their environment. So I think boarding and living in a separate country will give great insight into a different culture and more insight into how to interact with them and to work together,” she said. “I think of globalization as working together as a planet and not as individual countries. I feel that in the future, that’s the way we can tackle our problems—as humanity, not divided.”