Just another summerStudent Scapes — November 15, 2011
By Joe Gutierrez
For Ting Ting Law, the long days of June, July and August didn’t mean watching an endless supply of reruns, lounging by the pool or hanging out in the mall for hours on end.
Instead, the Cal State San Bernardino 17-year-old’s summer days were filled with taking four classes – international finance, Latino culture, advertising and geology – along with studying, and oh, yes, being with friends and her mother, and doing some traveling. Law’s not complaining. Far from it. A marketing major with a minor in finance, she is determined to make the most of being at CSUSB. She plans to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in 2012 at the ripe old age of 18.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Law, who has a 3.9 GPA. “I could get a quality education anywhere, but the student interaction with faculty that you find here at Cal State San Bernardino is so good. Every professor I have worked with has been so helpful. I have so enjoyed my classes.”
Law’s enthusiasm complements her academic accomplishment. A resident of Victorville, she attended Victor Valley Community College simultaneously as a freshman and as a senior at Victor Valley High School. And at the age of 16, she not only became one of the youngest incoming freshmen at Cal State San Bernardino, but she also became one of the youngest members of an elite group of students. Law is a President’s Academic Excellence Scholar, part of a group of students who are among the brightest scholars at their respective San Bernardino County high schools. To attain this prestigious scholarship, Law ranked in the top 1 percent of her high school graduating class.
The PAES program covers student fees, and it’s renewable up to a total of four years – with overall funding up to as much as $25,000 – if the student continues full-time and maintains a minimum 3.5 grade point average.
Not bad for a youngster whose English was extremely limited when, at the age of 10, she and her mother arrived in the United States in 2004 from China.
“I could only speak 50 words of English at the time and maybe count up to 15 or 17,” she laughed. “I could say, ‘How are you?’”
Gary Patterson, one of Law’s professors, was impressed with her when she was a student in one of his management classes last fall.
“I’ve been teaching for about 30 years and I am amazed at her age and what she was doing,” Patterson said. “In the law portion of the class, her comprehension level was well beyond reproach and her understanding of the law was at the same level of any of my former students.”
Barbara Sirotnik, a professor in the information and decision sciences department, said Law made her mark during one of her classes in the spring quarter, despite the class size of about 140 students. “She’s one of the students who sat in the front row, came in during my office hours to ask questions or talk about the class. She did all the extra credit, did all the work,” Sirotnik said. “Basically, she is so motivated, but she has an infectious smile and she’s a sweet kid.”
Law’s mother, Linda Wong, brought her daughter to the United States for the educational opportunities. Wong, who teaches high school mathematics, urged her daughter to do her best.
“She’s been the biggest influence in my life,” Law said of her mother, who also urged her daughter to not just look at the name of an institution, but also what it has to offer in helping a student advance their studies. Wong spoke from experience. She is also a CSUSB alumna, class of 2009.
“My mother was right 100 percent,” said Law. “I spent the summer at Harvard before coming here. Most of the time I couldn’t find the teaching assistants or find tutors who took the same courses.” She also found CSUSB to be more diverse, something she said is important for her major. “As a business student, it’s important and necessary to interact with a variety of other students.”
While Law’s plans for the moment are to graduate in June 2012, she is also mapping out plans for a post baccalaureate degree. “I not only want to enter the business field but also the educational field and pursue a Ph.D. and not just because my mother is a teacher,” Law said. “I have professors that have influenced me toward that.”
Patterson said he would often encourage Law to consider changing her plans to take a joint M.B.A. and law degree program to become a lawyer. “I could easily see her as a judge. Who knows, she could even become a Supreme Court justice.”