Kevin Ma is an outstanding scholar who has a long list of academic achievements. He’s also an athlete and musician who has been active with many school clubs.
Ma has maintained a near-perfect GPA while taking 13 AP and Honors classes. One example of his academic excellence is the fact he earned a score of 5 on an AP history class. Ma got the highest score on the exam by studying independently, without enrolling in an actual class.
“I very rarely use the word ‘brilliant’ but it applies here,” said his history instructor and Knowledge Bowl coach, Jonathan Bill. “It’s also an understatement to call him a ‘quick study,’ as he assimilates, applies and analyzes information more quickly and effectively than almost any student I have encountered in 22 years.”
Among Ma’s extracurricular activities is the Knowledge Bowl team, where he is captain this year.
Ma said he loves competing. Last year, he was part of a four-person team (plus two alternates) which competed nationally at the Quiz Bowl in Washington, D.C.
Ma helped found the school’s Spanish Club and has served in leadership roles with several clubs.
This school year, at the suggestion of friends, he joined the Speech and Debate team – and placed third, with a partner, at the invitational University of Washington Tacoma competition.
“I wanted to get out there and meet more people,” he said when asked why he wanted to be on the debate team.
A talented musician, Ma has been playing the piano since he was 6 years old and has been competing since middle school.
“It was pretty fun,” he said. “The best part was when I started learning a new piece.”
In middle school, Ma began playing tennis, which became a big part of his life.
“My mom enrolled me to be active and I really liked it so I kept playing,” said Ma, who was on the high school varsity tennis team.
Ma has been pursuing an interest in science, with the goal of becoming a doctor. He participated in the University of California-Davis six-week Young Scholars Program, and published a research paper in the undergraduate journal. He considers that experience the highlight of his high school career.
When it comes to academics, Ma studies a lot.
“I don’t just do the homework. I sometimes do more to make sure I understand completely,” he said.
Ma is considering studying biochemistry, potentially at either Johns Hopkins University or Northwestern.