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Jul 03 2020


Fei Gao

We are proud to showcase our BCIS alumni, through our Journey Continues series, as they share updates on their diverse and exciting lives. Our Alumni Network is delighted to spread the spirit of #BCISconnectedness.

Juris Doctor Candidate at Harvard University

"April is so successful to the extent that younger students might be intimidated to talk to her," a teacher once commented. Few people's life journeys are full of consecutive successes, but April does leave this kind of impression to many.

Although acknowledging her own achievements, April is determined to move further and not let her choices be driven by extrinsic motivation. She finds satisfaction in filling up her calendar with a wide array of commitments and cultivates herself to become a well-rounded person.

This ambitious goal has motivated April to learn from every experience from a young age. Together with her parents, April traveled over 20 countries as a child, "we would visit different places, both as planned and improvised, and arrive at our lodging late at night." She would then write up her travel journal every night in the hope of publishing the collection of her writings, including her first novella (a Harry Potter-inspired adventure story), as a book by the end of elementary school.

She failed. Indeed, a story in which the protagonist achieves greatness with ease all the time lacks a sense of realism; so is the life of a writer. Within the process of writing per se, to craft a satisfactory piece of work involves almost infinite times of writing and re-writing (or to reflect the actuality of this work in the era we live in, typing and deleting). Likewise, April's growth is about exploring and experimenting with all kinds of interests, each time challenging her spirit to be more polished and self-demanding.

April finds potential to elevate social integrity in law, which she describes as "the most fundamental ways in which society organizes itself" based on a talk-show-format interview she did of U.S. federal circuit judge Richard G. Taranto, a Pomona College alumnus. It was also at Pomona that April first met U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and grew increasingly passionate about the law through leading the Claremont Journal of Law and Public Policy, as Editor-in-Chief. April graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Pomona in 2018 as a politics major and Spanish minor. She was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.

Now as a Juris Doctor candidate at Harvard Law School, April vows to preserve her love for creative writing and tries to see "the painstakingly precise legal writing and the free-flowing, passionate prose that is creative writing" as two sides of the same coin, rather than the two poles of a magnet. Maybe that's just another "mission impossible," as once April had the chance to meet Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything and many more popular titles. The celebrated non-fiction writer simply told her that there is no way to reconcile the two polarized writing styles.

But if the certainties of feasibility are determined by the insights of others, any attempt to challenge the known boundary of possibilities would be laughable and we could still be living in a primitive, barely imaginable world. Since April founded the Roots & Shoots club at BCIS about ten years ago and met Dr. Jane Goodall, she has been holding the belief that everyone can make a positive difference in the world through positive initiatives. Right now, she is working on research with some leading scholars and experts in subjects including universal health coverage, the role of international law and artificial intelligence in wars and armed conflicts, criminal and constitutional law, among others.

"'Pursuing my dreams doesn't equal chasing whatever's considered traditionally prestigious: I'm careful not to let an addiction to prestige drive me and think about recognition and honors as the by-products of hard work and perseverance." Her path is certainly challenging; April, the 'workaholic' girl, understands what it takes to get closer to her dreams. While continuing to sharpen her legal skills and preparing to be a litigator, April has been working on a legal-thriller romance novel exploring raw ambition and irrational fear.

"This time round, I promise not to let my 13-year-old-self down."