Yifeng Li ’13 is well on his way to proving that he is among the most talented at Pacific. In May, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society Chi Chapter which recognizes individuals in the top five percent of their class, earning degrees in the liberal arts with very high grade point average, fluency in a second language, and a breadth of study.
Li, a candidate in the four-three pre-pharmacy program , qualified by successfully completing a bachelor of science in biological sciences with outstanding academic distinction. The four-three pre-pharmacy program is part of the Pre-Pharmacy Advantage Program at Pacific that offers first-time undergraduate freshmen three options that can lead to guaranteed admission into Pacific’s Doctor of Pharmacy program.
With English as his second language, Li struggled through grade school but with his innate determination he slowly built his vocabulary. “I had to use an electronic dictionary to look up the definitions for words I didn’t know, then put them together to understand the meaning of each sentence, and then repeat the same process to understand the paragraph, and so forth,” said Li. “This is something I could not dare to imagine back then. It’s a memorable milestone and gives me confidence for the future and motivates me to strive for more,” he added.
At the age of 15, Li and his family immigrated to the United States from Guangdong, China and made San Francisco their new home. During a career fair at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School Li met a pharmacist, an alumnus of the School who inspired him to study pharmacy. Later he volunteered at a local pharmacy as a clerk for a semester where he “got to observe how the pharmacist consulted patients on how to properly use medication. I enjoyed the personal interaction and application of science.”
Before coming to Pacific, Li mentioned he never thought about attending a private university since many of his relatives earned their degrees at a University of California. What also attracted him to Pacific was its student-to-faculty ratio. He was not proficient in English and he knew that if he chose Pacific he would “have closer personal interaction not only with classmates and friends but also professors.”
“The most rewarding part about my education here is that learning opportunities at Pacific are multidimensional. It has allowed me to observe, make and learn from mistakes, and more importantly learn to be a better person,” said Li.
At Pacific, Li was active outside of the classroom and held many leadership roles. He was a physics lab teaching assistant, organic chemistry workshop leader, Educational Resource Center tutor for calculus, physics, and organic chemistry, residency assistant and a member of the Rho Pi Phi pharmacy fraternity.
Li says what keeps him going is his aspiration to become a well-rounded and equipped individual who can serve the community and take care of friends and family. More importantly, he wants to take care of his parents because “they have sacrificed a lot to come to America for my education.” In August, Li will return to Pacific as a member of the doctor of pharmacy class of 2016.
To learn more about the Phi Beta Kappa Chi Chapter, click here (http://www.pacific.edu/Academics/Schools-and-Colleges/College-of-the-Pacific/Academics/Honor-Societies/Phi-Beta-Kappa-.html).
By Dua Her '09