Aurelia Dochnal ’19 (Poland) will pursue a joint Bachelor's and Master's Degree in East Asian Studies at Yale University after a remarkable five years at TASIS that also led to offers from University of Oxford, Stanford University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, and Williams College.
Aurelia speaks six languages (English, Polish, French, Italian, Russian, and Mandarin), scored 41 points on her IB Diploma Programme® assessment, was inducted to the TASIS Cum Laude Society chapter, earned the Excellence in History Award at the 2019 Commencement Ceremony, was selected by her peers to deliver a speech at her class’s Senior Banquet, was voted Student Council President her senior year, was chosen for two prestigious summer internships in China, and made two service trips to Mongolia—earning formal recognition from the Mongolian Ministry of Education for her fundraising efforts on behalf of disabled Kazakh minority children and the Ulgii government.
After completing “the rigorous IB Diploma Programme® and its various requirements,” which she credits for sharpening her mind and improving various important skills, such as essay-writing and oral reasoning, Aurelia is ready for another big challenge: earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just four years. Her plans become even more ambitious from there. “I would like to use the knowledge I acquire at Yale to change the world for the better by building a multicultural understanding between China and the West,” she said. “I am not yet sure which career path I will choose; I am still deciding between a career in the academic world or an active involvement in the business sector. I hope a world-class university like Yale will help me make my decision.”
Mrs. Fleming's legacy of idealistic morality and virtue has always inspired my great respect for the School.
With offers from so many world-renowned universities, how did Aurelia eventually settle on Yale? “When I first came to TASIS, I was sure that I wanted to study Chinese at the University of Oxford, thinking it the most rigorous, selective, and immersive Chinese culture program,” she said. “However, after the famous Oxford interview and intensive research aided greatly by my wonderful mother, I realized that the course did not have enough contact hours weekly, and I would not be receiving the attention I needed to achieve mastery of Mandarin and seriously pursue my studies. Then, after getting into Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Williams, I found that none of them were focused enough in my subject of interest for my standards. I was stuck, but I then discovered a program at Yale that will allow me to achieve my B.A. and M.A. in only four years. This means four years of wonderfully intensive work in my passion, ancient China, as well as Master's-level work as early as my sophomore year of university. I am very excited!”
As she labored over this important decision, Aurelia was grateful to receive support from several key figures at TASIS:
- On IB Coordinator and UK University Counselor Howard Stickley: “Mr. Stickley truly helped me prepare my application for Oxford, meeting with me periodically throughout all my four years of high school. He helped me choose my IB courses, worked closely with me while I participated in the program, and even initiated me with the IB Board, a meeting society devised to improve the experience of IB students at TASIS. He held a mock interview with me in November before the real Oxford interview, preparing me thoroughly. Throughout my journey, he was wholly invested in my success and encouraged me constantly. Without him, my experience would not have been complete. I am so grateful.”
- On Director of University and College Counseling Greg Birk: “Mr. Birk was also very helpful. He wrote the reports to go to the US universities that I applied to and helped me understand the complicated process of applying to America.”
- On TASIS Chairman of the Board Lynn Aeschliman and her husband Dr. Michael Aeschliman, who serves on the TASIS Foundation Board: “Their constant care and personal attention, given to me even with their busy schedules, will always remain in my heart. I will also miss the hectic time before May 1, university decision day, when Mrs. and Dr. Aeschliman (as well as other teachers and friends) were eagerly helping me make my college choice!”
A student of history who cited High School History Teacher Dr. David Gress-Wright as her predominant academic influence—noting that his serious approach to scholarly work inspired her to do her best on every assignment—Aurelia has a great appreciation for TASIS’s own unique history and the lasting work of its incomparable founder, M. Crist Fleming. “Mrs. Fleming's legacy of idealistic morality and virtue has always inspired my great respect for the School,” she said. “And I believe that her daughter, Mrs. Aeschliman, does a wonderful job of upholding the notions of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty that are inscribed on the facade of our library.”