With the benefit of hindsight, Janet Cheung can say she became interested in the environment in first grade, when she became obsessed with penguins. Her class would watch documentaries about Antarctica, and how climate change was affecting the continent and the animals that lived there.
Eleven years later, that interest has driven her to study political science and environmental studies at Northeastern, where she will start classes in the fall. But even before she matriculated, Cheung was involved with the university through Northeastern’s Youth Development Initiative Project, a program that works to prepare youth to get into college and succeed there.
Cheung recalls that she was pretty shy as a kid, and that it got worse when her family moved from the tight-knit community in Boston’s Chinatown to the city’s Allston neighborhood when she was 11. She was suddenly at a much larger school, and felt overwhelmed.