Through a Wider Lens

“I would never have seen myself working beyond the restaurant were it not for Project SEED,” explained Jin Gao. Jin’s family emigrated from China and worked long days and nights to establish their new lives in the US. Every day after school, Jin took carry-out orders over the phone. “You would not believe how many times I wrote down broccoli chicken” Jin recounted to laughter at a recent Philadelphia Local Section meeting. “I worked very hard in school and my chemistry teacher recommended me for Project SEED. When I was selected to work in the lab of Dr. Simon Knight at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, I was so nervous and afraid that I would contaminate or break something.” A patient and encouraging mentor, Dr. Knight says, “If you haven’t broken a piece of equipment, you haven’t done enough experiments.” 

Under Dr. Knight’s guidance, Jin gained confidence and laboratory skills and chose to go to college to study biochemistry. Dr. Knight helped Jin examine the costs of higher education and scholarship opportunities which led Jin to attend Temple University. He was awarded a Project SEED college scholarship for his first year and was one of the first undergraduates selected to receive the Ciba Scholars Award, which continued his scholarship support through his senior year. A faint groan was heard among the group of ACS members who learned that Jin is now studying optometry. His clarification was “I want to help the people in Chinatown who have no access to eye care. This is what I can do for my community. I want to give back as the proverb instructs: ‘When you have been given a drop, return the sea.’” We can see more clearly how Jin made the right choice for his life.

To help other students with economic challenges find their niche and reach their full potential, please consider a gift to Project SEED or ACS Scholars. 100% of your donation will provide a stipend or scholarship. Your gift will help students discover the broad range of opportunities made possible by higher education, and widen your worldview, as well.


ACS is designated as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your donation is tax deductible. Our Federal Tax ID Number is 53-0196572.

Jin Gao and his mother
Jin Gao with his mother, Aiyu Zhang, at the family restaurant.