Five University seniors have been awarded the Schwarzman Scholarship for 2023, which will fund the cost of graduate study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The Schwarzman Scholars will pursue a one-year master’s program in global affairs.
This year’s Princeton winners are Benjamin Bograd ’23, Kate Gross-Whitaker ’23, Kanishkh Kanodia ’23, Michal Kozlowski ’23, and Elisabeth Rülke ’23. These five students are part of a group of 151 Schwarzman Scholars for 2023, representing 36 countries and 121 universities.
The program involves a year of study and cultural immersion through “attending lectures, traveling around the region, and developing a better understanding of China,” according to the scholarship’s website. Tsinghua University’s location in Beijing gives Schwarzman Scholars the opportunity to learn about the country’s business, technology, and political leadership in order to “create a more peaceful and prosperous future for all.”
Bograd is concentrating in politics and is pursuing certificates in history and the practice of diplomacy and American studies.
He is a member of the men’s varsity soccer team, where he served on the leadership council. He is also one of the organizers of the Student-Athlete Wellness Leader (SAWL) program, and the president of the Varsity Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (VSAAC). Outside of Princeton, Bograd has worked to recruit poll workers in 2020 with the Poll Hero Project, worked on community engagement for the San Francisco District Attorney's office, and interned for Congressman Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).
For Bograd, “the Schwarzman is as much an award to hone leadership skills as it is an academic program in global affairs.”
“The Schwarzman program presents an incredible opportunity to meet people from really diverse backgrounds who have a similar desire to make a difference in the world,” he said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian. Bograd plans to pursue a career in public policy, either focusing on U.S.-China relations or on congressional policymaking.
Bograd, who took five semesters of Mandarin at Princeton, told the ‘Prince’ that he hopes a year in Beijing will immerse him in the language and bring him closer to fluency.
“I am really looking forward to being immersed in China and getting to know Beijing as well as to take trips to more rural parts of the country that are less traveled by westerners,“ he said.
Gross-Whitaker is a senior in the politics department pursuing certificates in Chinese Language and Culture and history and the practice of diplomacy. She declined to comment to the ‘Prince.’
Kanodia is concentrating in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) with certificates in history and practice of diplomacy, journalism, and South Asian studies.
Kanodia has worked as a research assistant with the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, as well as with Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Naima Green-Riley. He has also interned with the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations and the Brookings Institution India Center.
Kanodia said he hopes to use his experience as a Schwarzman Scholar to make more effective policy on India-China relations relating to human rights and migration.
“To have credible and effective policy, one has to understand the country, and what better way to do that than actually living in that country?” Kanodia said. “Schwarzman is one of the only programs that allows me to do that.”
The Schwarzman Scholarship’s capacity for immersion in Beijing brings Kanodia closer to this goal, he told the ‘Prince.’
“I have always wanted to live in China simply because I think we talk so much about it without actually understanding the people or the place,” he said.
Kozlowski is concentrating in chemical and biological engineering with a certificate in East Asian studies.
Kozlowski is program director of the Princeton U.S.-China Coalition, an ROTC Army cadet, where he has been ranked No. 8 Cadet in the nation by U.S. Army Cadet Command, and co-captain of the Army Ranger Challenge team. Before matriculating at Princeton, Kozlowski participated in Princeton’s Novogratz Bridge Year Program in China.
Kozlowski, who will be commissioned in May, said sees the Schwarzman Scholarship as an opportunity to apply his engineering background to solve problems before his service.
Referencing the military framework of three levels of knowledge — tactical, operational, and strategic — Kozlowski told the ‘Prince’ that he hopes to blend his tactical knowledge of gene editing techniques with global affairs.
“I want to try to kickstart the next Agricultural Revolution by understanding the social, political, economic, and technological components that need to be integrated in order to kickstart an agricultural revolution across the world,” he said in an interview.
Kozlowski said that his military background, as well as his time in China before Princeton, has influenced his interest in China.
“It’s crazy hearing some people’s perceptions of China, especially in the military,” he said. “People don’t know a lot about China and people fear what they don’t know.”
“I felt a responsibility to understand China, so that I could, later on in my military career, be a bridge between China and the U.S. military,” he said.
Rülke is concentrating in physics with a certificate in applied and computational mathematics.
In 2021, Rülke worked as a research assistant at the NASA’s Ames Research Center, and in 2022, she worked with the Global Technology coverage group at Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank in New York. She was also awarded the Princeton Effective Altruism Fellowship.
Rülke said she hopes to have a hands-on role in the development of technology with positive social impacts.
“It is important to understand the technology sectors around the globe, especially that of China, which is a global superpower responsible for the research, development, and funding of some of the most impactful and profound technologies,” Rülke said in an interview with the ‘Prince.’
Rülke also described how her background as an international student further drew her to the Schwarzman Scholarship. “Moving to a different continent with a different culture and language would push me to grow as a global citizen,” she said.
“Having a German father and a Chinese mother who protested in Tiananmen Square, growing up in London, and then coming to Princeton gave me a multicultural background which has inspired me to explore further,” she said.
All five seniors will begin their studies in Beijing in August 2023.
Bhoomika Chowdhary is a staff writer who often covers University affairs/policy and research.
Isabel Yip is an Assistant News Editor who typically covers University Affairs and student life.
Correction: A previous version of this article lists Kate Gross-Whitaker as earning a certificate in East Asian Studies. In fact, she is earning a certificate in Chinese Language and Culture through the Department of East Asian Studies. The 'Prince' regrets this error.
Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.