PETALING JAYA - Former St George's Girls' School student Eleasha Chew (pic) received the best Christmas present this year when she received an offer from Harvard University in her email.
The 19-year-old from Penang ended the "drought" by being the first Malaysian to be accepted into the prestigious institution since 2010.
"I was not really expecting it because the results was supposed to be announced much later. It was a very pleasant surprise," said Chew, who will be admitted under Harvard College's Early Action programme next fall.
"I am interested in a lot of things at the moment so I haven't decided on my major yet, but my interest is leaning towards molecular biology," said the International Baccalaureate student in a private college.
"Harvard has always been my dream university because I really like its emphasis on education as a means of serving others," she added.
Chew has been active in community service since secondary school. Currently, she is tutoring Math, Science and English to underprivileged children.
The second of three girls in the family is also an accomplished pianist who has dabbled in theatre, acting in musicals for fund-raising events.
She revealed that her interview session with the Harvard University selection panel was not daunting at all.
"I enjoyed the interview because the focus was on the thought process," said Chew, whose father works as a manager while her mother is a homemaker.
Dr Goh Cheng Teik who headed the selection panel that interviewed students for undergraduate admission into the university described Chew as "extremely intelligent."
"She speaks very well and she is able to communicate very effectively. I am sure she will not face any difficulty when she is in Harvard," said Dr Goh.
The selection panel said there might be more entries from Malaysia once the when final results are made known by April.
Avinaash Subramaniam, formerly of SMK Damansara Jaya in Selangor, was the last Malaysian to be accepted into Harvard.