Success stories at Carnegie Mellon University are found in different forms. For graduating senior Tammy Luk, a diver on the women's swimming and diving team, success is defined by time management.
Luk chose to attend Carnegie Mellon despite her parents' opinion that a state university in New York might be a better fit. A New York City native, Luk is the first of her family to graduate from high school. Now with a college degree in hand, Luk will continue her education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.
"I really value my education so where I attended college really was my decision," said Luk.
While diving for the Tartans, Luk has also worked on campus for four years putting in many hours a day to help fund her education.
"It's been about time management," said Luk. "Each year I've had an increase in unit hours for course work but I've also needed to increase my hours of work study because loans build up."
While taking on additional hours at the Jared L. Cohon Center equipment desk where she greeted and assisted patrons of the facility, Luk also spent time working on her athletic craft of diving.
"I started diving around the age of nine," said Luk. "Diving was something I enjoyed so I wanted to continue it in college."
When Luk started her career at Carnegie Mellon she hadn't performed much on the three-meter board. Two months in, she had a full list of dives.
"It was because of Coach Gorman," Luk said of her increased repertoire on the three-meter. "She challenged me and that motivated me to try new things."
"Tammy's dedication and hard work manifested each year with consistent improvement over the course of her four years on the diving team," said head diving coach Alicia Gorman. "Her positive attitude, smile and laugh impacted our whole team and department."
As a member of the Tartans, Luk learned to combine her work ethic in the pool with a will to help others.
"In club, if I didn't want to compete in something then I didn't have to. But here, I was representing the school and the team. It wasn't just me, I wasn't just an individual anymore, I was also helping other people," said Luk.
Helping people is something that has inspired Luk to attend dental school, and she'll be financing it through the help of the United States Army.
While researching ways to fund dental school, Luk came across the F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program which covers 100% of dental school costs. It is a scholarship given to a handful of incoming dental students out of hundreds of applicants. She immediately started the application process because of her desire to be affiliated with the military without giving up on her interests and career goals.
"My father was employed at the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers were struck on September 11, 2001. His building was shattered and he couldn't work. We received governmental support and members from the Army would visit and play with us and check in on us," said Luk. "The Army helped me out as a child, and now I can give back to my country."
Luk always knew she wanted a career in medicine and chose to study biological sciences with a second major in Chinese Studies at Carnegie Mellon. Through her volunteering with public health brigades she observed that oral health was neglected by most individuals. From this, she decided to specialize in dentistry.
Without having to worry about the burden of funding dental school, thanks to her commission with the Army, Luk can concentrate on her studies and prepare for active duty where she'll be able to help others in the same way that she herself was helped as a child.