Salutatorian Junle (Richard) Chen
Junle (Richard) Chen is spending the last few weeks of his senior year collaborating on an electricity optimization app. The app, his Senior Capstone, is designed around an animated character, who either suffers or thrives based on your electricity usage. “We’re evoking empathy to get people to be more eco-sensitive,” Richard explains.
It is not the first time that Richard has studied cause and effect concerning the brain. The scholar has spent his summers interning at a neuroscience lab, where he studied the connection between Alzheimer’s and microbiomes in the gut, and co-authoring research at Williams College, showing the correlation between music and higher academic performance.
His insatiable curiosity will serve him well next fall at the University of Pennsylvania where he plans to study biochemistry and neurobiology.
Richard is a STEM superstar, but more importantly, he is a thinker, naming Latin as his one of his favorite classes. “Dr. Holm has been a mentor to me,” he shares. He also reinvigorated the philosophy club, recruiting faculty members to debate themes ranging from the culture of hegemony to technology. During his Hun career, he served as the literary editor of The Mall and The Hun Review, played saxophone in the advanced jazz band, and was on the épée fencing team.
Adding to his roster of achievements, Richard also co-founded a climate advocacy NGO through the FXB Center at Harvard. He and his fellow members recently presented their ideas for environmental action to Harvard University professors. Richard also presented his Senior Capstone app to Dr. Eileen McNeely, Founder and Executive Director of the Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The good-humored student, who jokes that he was lured to Hun by the ice cream machine in the Dining Hall, credits the supportive community for his academic and personal growth. “The more you ask for something at Hun, the more you will get out of your experience here.”