Jason Wang just might be the person to discover a cure for cancer.
The Dover Bay Secondary School graduate can sit down and lose himself in solving challenging math problems for hours and he likes to finish what he’s working on, even if it means giving up plans with friends.
Wang has won the mid-Island portion of the B.C. Secondary School Math Contest, held at Vancouver Island University, for the past four years in the individual category.
He also placed in the top five per cent in the University of Waterloo’s Euclid Math Contest this year, out of 16,748 competitors.
For science competitions, Wang had similar results.
And Wang is eager to pass on his knowledge to others – he spent more than 400 hours tutoring other students.
“It’s really neat opening someone’s mind to new possibilities,” said Wang. “When my students do well, I feel like I’ve done my job.”
He wants to put his math and science skills to work in a medical research lab.
Part of this decision resulted from participating in the B.C. Cancer Agency’s eight-week internship program last summer, where he helped with a research project that tested different cell lines for cancer-fighting attributes.
Wang wants to help find cures for diseases like cancer one day.
“There’s an endless amount of opportunities, so many amazing things you can discover,” he said.
Wang’s intense concentration and dedication extends to other aspects of his life.
In his piano studies, he is one level below becoming qualified to teach under the Royal Conservatory of Music program.
“I really like the Romantic pieces like Chopin because they’re really expressive,” said Wang. “Once you’re into a piece, it’s kind of hard to get out, you’re just working on the details for hours.”
Wang and his older brother Mike share their talents on the piano with residents at Nanaimo Seniors Village and bring two of the family’s four dogs along with them.
He also competed on his school’s track and field team for the past three years – in Grade 10 he won the Island championships in 100 metre and 200 metre sprints.
Wang heads to Simon Fraser University in the fall to study biophysics.
Chris Tamm, Dover’s math department head, who taught Wang enriched Math 12 when he was in Grade 10, was grateful to have Wang back in two senior math classes this year as a peer tutor.
Tamm describes Wang as a modest, patient person who truly wants other students to do well – he gave up lunch hours to help them study for tests – and he is good at thinking of different ways to explain something to help students make connections.