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Patrick Lee

College: Macaulay Honors College | Hunter College
Awards: Other, 2012; Other, 2012

Coming Full Circle

Not far from the glittering casinos that line a strip in Macau, Patrick Lee found people living in squalor.

"A lot of cities are like that," he says. "The disparity is stark, with poor people right next to the rich who ignore them. Macau is a former Portuguese colony with European architecture, so it's more scenic than other parts of China."

Lee (Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, BA in biochemistry, 2012) will have the chance to probe that contrast during his year as a Fulbright U.S. Student Fellow.

He'll be teaching English at a university in Macau, while devoting himself to perfecting his Cantonese. Born and raised in Brooklyn to parents who are from Guangzhou, China, he grew up speaking the language and improved it during an earlier visit to Macau (a special administrative district similar to and nearby Hong Kong) and China. He paid for that trip through Macaulay's $7,500-per-student Opportunities Fund.

He intends to become a physician and has postponed his acceptance to SUNY Upstate medical school. As an undergraduate, he tutored at two nonprofits, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and Legal Outreach, helping students learn calculus and prepare for the math section of the SATs. On campus, he worked with the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies, besides playing alto saxophone with the Hunter Jazz Ensemble.

"I always considered working with Chinese immigrants, giving back to the community, because it's often an underserved population," he says. "Going abroad will help me acquire the language skills and know-how to do this."