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Alice Lee, E15

Recipient: Financial aid supported by the Tufts Fund

Alice Lee, E15, is heir to her parents’ American dream. Her mother and father, immigrants to Boston from China by way of Burma, didn’t have the opportunity of a higher education. “They always told me, ‘Work hard in school so you can get into a good college and get a good job so you can buy your own house,’” says Lee, who has wanted to attend Tufts since visiting campus on a sixth-grade field trip.

Four years from now, she says, she imagines herself writing complicated computer code for the hot video games she loves to play. But before she lands her dream job, she must first get past some pretty serious math, physics, and electrical engineering courses.

Thanks to Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST), the computer-science major is well on her way. Lee was among 11“BESTies” in the Class of 2015 who enrolled prior to their first semester in the six-week summer bridge program for aspiring engineering students from diverse backgrounds who would benefit from extra academic preparation.

The aim is to attract and retain members of populations underrepresented at the School of Engineering, with a focus on first-generation college-goers with high financial need. “BEST gave me the confidence that I can do well even when courses are challenging,” says Lee, who made the Dean’s List her first semester with a 3.2 grade-point average.

Lee stands out for her great sense of humor and willingness to try the unfamiliar, says Travis Brown, who directs BEST as program manager of Tufts’ Center for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Diversity. “Alice is an enthusiastic learner who takes challenges in stride,” he said. “She’s just the kind of student we look for.”