Student Spotlight: Veronica Liu

Veronia Liu, a Niskayuna Senior, poses in the art wing of the high school. Tuesday, June 7, 2016.INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER Veronia Liu, a Niskayuna Senior, poses in the art wing of the high school. Tuesday, June 7, 2016.

Gazette Reporter
NISKAYUNA — Some students enter high school with one goal: graduation. Others enter freshman year hoping their four years will have an impact on the school that lasts.
Veronica Liu, a senior at Niskayuna High School, falls into the second category.
Liu is known for a plethora of accomplishments and activities, including running on the Niskayuna cross country and track teams, volunteering at Proctors and Schenectady’s Museum of Innovation and Science, teaching at Kumon, interning at Screen Designs, playing in the Empire State Youth Orchestra, and winning finalist recognition by Doodle for Google.
When looking back on her time at Niskayuna High School, however, Liu said she most proud of the impact she had by being the student body representative on the school district’s Board of Education.
“There was a disconnect between the board and the students,” Liu said. She worked with two other students to patch this gap in communication. Last year, she helped to organize student forum meetings with the superintendent.
During the meetings, students bring up concerns or complaints which they might not otherwise have had a platform to properly convey to the faculty.
“We talk about anything. We talked about after-prom and compared it to the other schools around us,” Liu said, mentioning other topics ranging from textbooks to discriminatory language.
“There has been an increase in anti-Muslim remarks in the school lately,” said Liu. She and other students brought up the issue, and the group proposed the reinstatement of a multicultural club.
After being the mouthpiece of the student body, Liu said she wants to get other students involved.
“I sometimes get nervous when I sit in on the board meetings and have to speak in front of them. But that’s a good experience,” she said. During the past few weeks, she has been encouraging students to continue on the tradition and to be as open as they can with the board.
Many of Liu’s accomplishments are starting to seem secondary to her as she sets her sights on college, which for her starts only a few weeks after high school graduation.
After going through a rigorous application and interview process, Liu was recently selected as a McDermott Scholar at The University of Texas at Dallas. Students in the program are given specialized internships, are able to take courses outside their specified area of study, and are awarded $240,000 in scholarships. This helps to cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, study abroad, cohort trips and travel expenses to and from home.
In order to become a McDermott Scholar, Liu had to complete a lengthy application and go to the university for a series of interviews and tests.
“There were group interviews where we would have groups of four people and we would have to solve a logic puzzle together, without writing anything down, and while we were doing that, there were people walking around us with clipboards,” Liu said of one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the process.
Liu will be in the university’s Arts in Technology program and Computer Science program, and plans to go into game design.
“With visual storytelling, you can add another layer of interest. You can start a discourse,” she said. “I think games can be a lot more than just shooting.”
Game design isn’t new to her. She worked with a group of friends to design an app last summer called WaterFall. Liu now has a vision for the future of game design as being a tool for education, rather than only for entertainment.
And she is ready to start working on that vision as soon as she can.
On one of the last days of high school, Liu held up some homework that she had to complete even before her courses began in July.
“I’m really looking forward to the community that this will provide,” Liu said about the McDermott Scholars. Only 25 were accepted into the program and they will be living and studying together during their freshmen year.
Over the summer months, the group will intern with Dallas Social Venture Partners to help with a new marketing and web design campaign.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Liu as her last few days of high school come to a close.