Izzy Chong: A Renaissance High Schooler

By Alexandra Brocato

A computer science TA, future leader of the robot revolution, programmer, inventor of a navigational aid of the blind, avid poster of jokes on facebook, comedian, accomplished pianist and trombone player. Izzy does it all.

Senior Izzy Chong would describe herself as a “Modest comedic genius? A touch crazy? Dying from stress?” Each phrase encapsulates Izzy’s unique personality: she’s funny, different, and brutally honest. It’s no secret that most people view Izzy Chong as an intellectual, articulate, and intelligent student. And while this is all true, there is much more to Izzy than her smarts. I had the opportunity to talk with this down-to-earth student and here is what I discovered.

At 12, Izzy went through an emo phase where “she was super proud” of living in Sleepy Hollow “because [she] thought the headless horseman was cool” as it made her more goth. Now, she says “It did not.” Izzy’s sarcasm and ability to make fun of herself make her more personable and easy to talk to. Izzy adds that she is “the best bad dancer I know. I have been known to dance like a dad at a barbecue in public at super inopportune moments.” She is most definitely not afraid to be herself. As an only child, Izzy likes to think she got her sense of humor from her mom. She comes from a close-knit family and “took the annual trip to Disneyland” with her parents this summer and had a wonderful time, mainly because of the “seriously good food.”

When asked about her favorite subject, Izzy replied “BC Calculus! Math is fun. (Hi Ms. Roby!).” Her love for math is evident, especially considering her science research study. Izzy is “building an Electronic Navigational Aid (ENA) for the blind, replacing the traditional cane with a laser range finder and using an inertial navigation system to track user position in 3D space.” She has already “tested the device from both an engineering standpoint (i.e., calculating range) and a human subjects standpoint (i.e., obtaining feedback from users on how well they think the device works).” Even more fascinating is the fact that her invention is currently patent pending. She concluded the description of her science research study by saying, “Also the mints in the classroom are really good.” Izzy’s intelligence is obvious to most, but her hilarious remarks make her even more unique.

Her love for the maths and sciences extends beyond her science research study; she is also an AP computer science TA. She explains that “it’s always nice to be able to help students grasp the material.” As a student in AP computer science, I can attest to the fact that Izzy loves to help other students and is constantly making herself available. Junior Alex Cvern, another student in AP computer science agrees: “No matter what, Izzy is always willing to hep. She is easy to talk to, funny and impressively smart. When she is teaching the class, she makes sure to keep things fun and interesting!”

In college, Izzy would like to continue down the math and science route by pursuing “either electrical engineering or computer science” or even both! Thus, it’s not surprising that when she is older, Izzy would like to potentially work “at Google or build robots and Artificial Intelligences (AIs)” after getting a PhD, of course. Izzy adds that “Programming a robot to pass the Turing Test has always been a dream of mine.” For a robot to pass the Turing Test means that the robot has fooled 70% of people into thinking that it is another person instead of a computer. Her dream to create this robot further displays her inquisitive nature and creative thinking.

Besides her love for math and science, Izzy also has a passion for piano and the trombone. She admits that she’s “definitely better at the piano, but I do play the trombone in the school jazz band.” And by “definitely better at the piano,” Izzy means that she is ranked level 6 in New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), the highest level possible and level 4 in trombone. It is her modesty that makes her most admirable. She’s also competed at the American Fine Arts Festival for six years in a row. Her commitment and passion for music have allowed her to achieve considerable success .

Some students may also know Izzy as the brains behind the most hilarious facebook posts. I asked Izzy about her motives in posting these jokes. She explained that “Most Facebook posts I make are memes, weird word associations, and stress venting. I think I’m using Facebook wrong actually… Like I never post any photos, just distress. I think I’m using Facebook the way most people use Twitter? How are you supposed to use Twitter?”

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Some of Izzy’s creative, relatable, and undoubtedly funny Facebook posts. (Image from Facebook)

I would highly recommend meeting Izzy and getting to know her on a personal level. She’s approachable, extremely funny, and always willing to help. If you have the chance to meet her, however, “don’t use the word “moist” or talk about kneecaps in [her] presence.” They freak her out.