Logo: University of Southern California

Nothing But A's for Salutatorian and New BSBME Graduate Aaron Wong

May 12, 2006 —
If your name is Jack or Fran Wong of Honolulu, you can stop reading right now.
For the rest of you, the news is that their son Aaron Wong has been named a salutatorian for USC's 2006 Commencement, and he hasn’t told them yet.
Salutatorian Aaron Wong, BSBME '06.

Wong, a biomedical/electrical engineering major with a minor in medical anthropology, decided it would be fun to surprise his parents with the news.

“I’m going to wait until the baccalaureate dinner tonight and tell them on the way over,” he said, laughing.

Wong earned straight A’s all the way through his undergraduate studies in biomedical engineering. During that time, he became interested in neural engineering and psychophysics.

“My lab work was one of the high points of my undergraduate work,” he said. A year ago, he became particularly interested in vision and began work in the Visual Processing Lab under Norberto Grzywacz and Monica Padilla. His most recent project, an interdisciplinary look at how culture affects perception, involved history professor Lisa Bitel, who is studying religious visions through history.

Wong will be entering the Ph.D. program in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University in the fall, but hopes to spend the summer doing a lab rotation at the Baltimore institution.

In past summers, he has been a laboratory assistant at the National Institutes of Health and an engineering intern at Siimpel Corp. in Arcadia, where he programmed control software. Eventually, he would like to teach in academia and conduct research.

Wong chose USC because he was allowed to declare himself a double major in biomedical and electrical engineering when he first entered, plus he was offered a merit research scholarship to conduct research right off the bat. While here, he’s held down two jobs. In addition to the research work, he’s been a tutor in Student Affairs in Tutor Hall.

That rigorous load hasn’t prevented the 22-year-old from earning straight A’s. Nor did it impact his performance at Maryknoll High School in Hawaii before college.  
Checking out seating arrangements a day before commencement.

Only once did he admit he ever had any trouble with a class. That was during his freshman year, with a pesky GE class in geography, in which he earned an A-minus.

“It wasn’t really my area of interest,” Wong said, diplomatically.