Paying It Forward

William Wen
6 min readJul 4, 2022


Hello there. Sorry for taking a week off. I was busy with something else last week, and I hope I can share more about it with you soon.

A month ago you may have read Bucking the US College System, where our son Jack chose to study Computer Science in Taiwan. The cliffhanger in that article was whether Jack will get the full 4 year tuition scholarship with a $500 monthly stipend.

When I researched studying in Taiwan, I really thought the scholarship odds were with him. I thought almost anyone who applied will get it. The Taiwanese people are known for helping others, and Taiwan’s Ministry of Education granting scholarships to as many students as possible would fit the country’s culture to a T.

After initially being on the wait list, we received email that Jack has been accepted for the full scholarship offer! Wow, it actually happened!

Of course, I shared the news with lots of family and friends. A friend joked that it was “unfair” with a 😋 emoji. While that may be true, life isn’t about being fair. The more opportunities you have, the luckier you get.

Wind Beneath My Wings

Back in 1991, I got accepted to The Cooper Union in New York City, a small private college that specializes in art, architecture, and engineering. What made the school attractive was that all students received a full scholarship.

I didn’t think I had a chance because another high school classmate also applied. She had a higher GPA, higher SAT scores, and her brother was an alumni at Cooper. Against all odds, I was accepted. She went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania.

I don’t remember the exact details, but I think my sister made the suggestion that as reward for receiving a full scholarship, my parents could buy an apartment for me in New York City, where I would be studying for the next 4 years.

My parents bought a studio apartment in Zeckendorf Towers. It was pretty swank. It was directly above the Union Square subway station and a grocery store, had a full time doorman/concierge staff, and its own gym with an indoor swimming…



William Wen

25 years in tech | 13 years @ Google | 9+ years Tesla Investor | |