Meet Kenny Chan ’24

Posted by Pine Crest School on June 21, 2024 at 1:22 PM

Kenny Chan ’24 joined Pine Crest Upper School as a freshman. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Kenny said coming to Pine Crest for the first time was like being on a college campus.

Chan Kenneth-5953

Coming from a small middle school of 90 students, Kenny was surprised by how quickly he made friends and felt supported by teachers. An avid math and science student, he gravitated toward coursework and extracurricular activities that let him explore these areas in new and unique ways, like the Florida Math League and the three-year science research program. Outside of the classroom, Kenny was a part of the tennis team, earning a state championship title during his sophomore year.


Next fall, Kenny will be a freshman at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). We had the opportunity to learn more about Kenny and what he is looking forward to.


What are some of the activities you loved in the Upper School? 


Kenny Chan ’24 (KC): Tennis. I was on the team for three years. I have played since I was three years old, and it is still a big part of my life. Playing on a team was unique because it is traditionally an individual sport. 


I was also in the Math Club and was inducted into the Math Honor Society. I liked being able to compete in events and eventually held leadership positions. I helped others prepare for competitions, like the Florida Math League and the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) national exam. 


I really enjoyed the three-year science research program. It was a big chunk of my high school experience. It exposed me to fields of interest that I wouldn’t have been able to explore in more traditional classes. I liked being able to work with professors from different universities and students conducting the same research. I learned a lot about myself throughout the program.

Kenny Chan 24 _State Champ tennis 2022

What was the focus area for your research?


Most of my research was in mathematical biology, which was the overarching topic. I worked on two projects, one with a professor from Claremont McKenna College, and then my junior summer I worked at the University of Chicago in a computational biology lab that involved artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and applications within biology. 


What was one of your favorite classes? What did you love about it?


KC: My favorite class was AP literature and composition, a class that surprised me. I was always more STEM-focused. With Dr. Robida, who was new to Pine Crest last year, it was a completely different environment compared to other English classes I had taken. I learned something new every day and applied those skills. It challenged me as a writer and a learner. It was the most unexpected class I had. 


A favorite teacher of mine is Ms. Hernandez, my math teacher for the last three years. I have worked closely with her in the Math and Theories Club, and have a strong relationship with her. I couldn’t have done a lot of what I did without her support. 


Out of everything you have done at Pine Crest, what are you most proud of?


KC: I would have to go back to my sophomore year, on the tennis team. We had amazing seniors who I looked up to, and I remember coming into that year being really excited. I was playing in a tournament outside of school and broke my left wrist and sprained my right ankle. I thought I was done for the year. We were a few weeks out from the district meet, and I asked my mom to feed me tennis balls with my other hand. I was actually able to play quite well. I was able to continue playing with the team and we went on to win the state championship that year. It is one of my most special moments, thanks to all of the support I had from my teammates and coaches.  


What do you think you will miss most about Pine Crest?


KC:  My friends. Over the past four years, I have made relationships I hope will continue. I will miss seeing my friends in the hallway the most.


What are you most excited about as you head to Caltech in the fall? Do you know what you want to study?


KC: I am excited to connect with new peers and faculty. CalTech is a place where you can get to know quite a few people because it is small. I look forward to meeting people from everywhere and developing as a person. And, I am excited to keep playing tennis there!


My intention right now is to study information and data science with a business minor.


What advice would you give an incoming freshman on making the most of their Pine Crest Upper School experience?


KC:  Take advantage of all of the opportunities that Pine Crest gives you. Participate in different aspects of Pine Crest’s culture, academic clubs, and sports. Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in activities. What I appreciated most about Upper School was how diverse the range of options and activities are that you can participate in, beyond academics. Don’t be afraid to do as much as you can—it helps with your time management!

Topics: Alumni Newsletter, Upper School, Student Life, Athletics, Science, 2024