Ken Zheng, a junior in Washington University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science, is a vibrant leader and innovator who actively turns his varied passions into meaningful action. As a long-time violinist, his Music minor offers only a glimpse into the love that Ken holds for music education. Ken believes that the arts are a fundamental aspect of a comprehensive education, not just complementing academic subjects, but completing them. Early in his first year at WU, Ken acted on his drive and dedication to found Making Music Matters, a volunteer-driven organization that brings music enrichment lessons to underprivileged students in St. Louis. Every week, Ken coordinates a team of local volunteers to provide free after-school lessons in three local schools. At the end of every semester, he hosts a concert at each school to celebrate the success and hard work of students and volunteers.
Ken actively applies his academic studies to philanthropic efforts at every opportunity. As a Computer Science major, he is currently developing a website that will collect unused musical instruments from homes across St. Louis. Ken also shares his diverse talents with the youth-led nonprofit St. Louis Volunteen, where he has worked as their Graphic Designer and Treasurer since 2009. Ken’s robust academics are rounded out by a pre-medical track and biology minor, interests that he again intertwines with service by participating in an annual service trip with Global Brigades to provide medicine and basic health care in developing countries.
In addition to his steadfast commitments to serving the St. Louis community, Ken contributes to the WU community as a Residential Advisor, a peer tutor in Computer Science, and a member of X Honorary that recognizes exemplary campus programs. His nominator, WU Alumni and former physician Brad Bernstein, wrote that “Ken’s activism permeates all facets of his life; his passion and compassion for helping others is inspirational and truly remarkable.”