Two University undergraduates, Ella Cheng ’16 and Tyler Rudolph ’16, as well as three alumni, Lucas Briger ’12, Anastasya Lloyd-Damnjanovic ’14 and Yung Yung (Rosy) Yang ’13 have received the Schwarzman Scholarship in its inaugural year.
The scholarship, funded by the co-founder and chairman of the investment firm Blackstone Group Stephen A. Schwarzman, will provide participants withthe funds for a one-year master’s degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing from 2016 to 2017. Each of the participants will receive a master's in global affairs,and will also have the choice to specialize in economics and business, international studies or public policy.
The scholarship program accepted 111 students this year, out of more than 3,000 applicants.
Robert Garris, the global director of admissions for Schwarzman Scholars, said thatthe selected students all expressed interest in learning about China and working in global policy. He noted that the group of students includes some who have never been to China and do not speak Mandarin, and others who have years of experience with Chinese culture. He also said that the students display a wide range of interests including finance, entrepreneurship, energy policy, health, education and poverty alleviation.
“What connects them to each other is their capacity as future leaders,” Garris said.
Yang said that she applied to the program because she wanted to gain an even more comprehensive educational experience and maximize her exposure to the world. She noted that she had received her education from many different parts of the world, having grown up in Hong Kong, gone to college in New Jersey and studied abroad in Oxford and in Ishikawa, Japan.
Lloyd-Damnjanovic, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Oxford, noted that although she had studied foreign affairs for quite a while, she developed an interest in Chinese foreign policy while learning about power transition theory at Oxford. Power transition theory thinks of global politics as a hierarchy of nations that cooperate and compete with each other to various extents.
Lloyd-Damnjanovic is a former news editor for The Daily Princetonian.
“I wondered not just whether China’s rise would lead to conflict with the United States, but also whether it could lead to cooperation, new international organizations or even altered international norms,” Lloyd-Damnjanovic said. “I'm hoping my study in China will help me find the answers to these questions.”
She added that she is very excited by the impressive academic resources available to Schwarzman scholars at Tsinghua, and that what she finds most exciting about the program is the prospect of interacting with intelligent, ambitious people from around the world who can offer perspectives on the role China will play in the 21st century.
Briger explained that he initially wanted to be a Schwarzman Scholar because he’s currently the director of the business development team for a natural resources company in the United Kingdom, and he thought that learning and being in China would be incredibly relevant to his business, considering that the country is currently one of the biggest investors in new sustainable energy. He said he is grateful that he will, on a day-to-day basis, be able to directly apply what he is learning in the classroom to his line of work.
“Mr. Schwarzman’s vision is very prescient as we go on in our careers,” Briger said.
Noting that the only time she went back to her country of origin was for the Princeton in Beijing program, Cheng pursue a master’s degree in China because she wanted to reconnect with her family and history there. She said that being able to deepen her understanding of Chinese culture will aid her in fulfilling her ambition to bridge American and Chinese relations.
Cheng is a former staff writer for the ‘Prince.’
She added that the program contains a very unique curriculum that intends to capacitate attendees with leadership skills and a comprehensive understanding of China’s relations with the rest of the world.
Rudolph said that while he is not set on the idea of working in or with China in the future, he is interested in entrepreneurship and innovation, and that exposure to these aspects of society in the developing market of China would help him get to the forefront of sectors.
“I’m especially excited to meet the other people who I’m going to be there with. Reading through everybody’s biographies, they all seem like a very passionate and interesting group of people, and I’m excited to put myself in that environment,” he added. “I’m also looking forward to being in Asia for a year and exploring this really amazing place.”