2024 Scholarship Winner

In June of 2024, the Houston Illini Club proudly awarded its annual scholarship to Qimiao (Gianna) Gong, a graduate of William P. Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas. Beginning this fall Giana will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, majoring in electrical engineering. Gianna is the recipient of the largest Houston Illini Club Scholarship to date, $4,000!

Gianna’s introduction to electrical engineering began in middle school when she first learned Python, which set the foundation for understanding, gathering, processing, and making sense of large datasets. As she built robots that can play soccer autonomously and bionic arms to help those with ALS, Gianna delved into the practical application of programming and electronics. She gained an appreciation for how software interacts with physical systems. Her subsequent ventures into data analysis, particularly analyzing online trends and their spread, further refined her ability to extract meaningful insights from data. The combination of Gianna's experiences with data crawling, robotics, and data analysis naturally paved the way for her interest in the application of machine learning and AI in electrical engineering.

Academically distinguished as a National Merit Finalist, Gianna is also an accomplished artistic swimmer. Having been an artistic swimmer since she was eight, Gianna began competing nationally at twelve. She has won many awards at all levels of competition, with her highlight being two-time gold medalist of the USAAS Junior Olympic Championships.

Additionally, she has made similarly impactful changes in her community as the vice president of Eco Fun, a conservation club spanning multiple high schools in the Houston area. Between the club's efforts and its collaboration with many other organizations like Girl Scouts and Texas Master Naturalist, the results of her efforts were recognized by the Parks Development Manager at the City of Sugar Land and the general public. In Gianna’s own words, “watching our children (the plants) grow up and everyone’s smiles is always worth sweating like a horse.


Click to see prior Houston-area scholarship winners, and an overview of the Houston Illini Club's scholarship.