Archive from Student Spotlight

The Volunteer English Program website ( periodically features a new student in the spotlight.  When we change that page, we will archive the previous one here. Visit our website to read the NEW Student Spotlight.  Here is the previously featured student:

Student name: Shui P. Zhu

Tutor name: Brett Swailes

Recent achievements: As a project leader at a King of Prussia-based research and development firm, Shui P. takes satisfaction in his work. In the thirty projects brought to the commercial market under his aegis, Shui P. takes extra satisfaction in six patents and four more pending. Additionally, with his fifteen peer-reviewed publications, these are not what he sees as the fruition of his life’s goals.

Born the child of peasant farmers in the expanse of inner China, Shui P. feels a kinship with the struggles of the world’s downtrodden. In 2010, he and his son went on a mission trip to Haiti as volunteers to raise funds for digging a well. The emotions he felt on this trip led to his writing an eloquent six-page report, as suggested by his tutor, Brett. The following is the moving conclusion to the piece:

“Private charity organizations and NGO’s can assist Haiti, but they are limited and operate on a smaller scale than do national governments. As for me, I am helping my son raise enough funds for a well in the village Cherival—where 1000 people now share one single well.

Once enough channels and water reservoirs are built to catch and store the fresh water from rains, Haitian citizens will turn theory into practice by living in their seemingly unanimously declared agrarian style. As Chavannes said, Haiti can become a paradise, almost directly from its currently unexplored and pristine state. Unlike many regions of the world, Haiti has not yet been polluted by industrial wastes. It is paradise. “

Despite his position as a University Instructor of Quantum Chemistry in Wuhan, Shui P. moved to the United States in 2003 for, “the taste of democracy.” In 2009, he came to VEP seeking help with pronunciation and listening, and soon he began his tutoring with Brett Swailes. Now they are members of the VEP Speaker Bureau. Today, he willingly speaks to prospective tutors, in compelling expression of the power of volunteering.

In his spare time, Shui P. enjoys chess, bridge, and ping-pong. He and his tutor, Brett Swailes, now see each other as close friends.

Congratulations and Thanks to Shui P. Zhu!


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