Two Stanford students were among the 111 recipients of the inaugural Schwarzman Scholarship, a fully-funded one-year master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Alina Luk ’16 and Jordan Shapiro ’15 M.S. ’15 were selected from a pool of over 3,000 applicants from 135 countries to study in the newly-built Schwarzman College in Tsinghua, after going through a rigorous application process designed to evaluate intellectual talent, leadership potential and a desire to understand other cultures, according to the Schwarzman website.
Founded by Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chairman, CEO and co-founder of the global investment firm Blackstone, the scholarship aims to prepare the next generation of global leaders to respond to the changing geopolitical landscape of the 21st century. It will enable students to pursue a master’s degree in global affairs with a concentration in either public policy, economics and business or international studies. The $450 million endowment will support 200 students annually from around the world and has been modeled on the Rhodes Scholarship of the University of Oxford.
Luk, a senior from Hong Kong majoring in science, technology and society, has worked on three startups so far and is currently working on a wearable device for the elderly. She also co-founded the nonprofit organization QRist, which was awarded funding from the Thai Ministry of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to digitize biometric health records for indigenous people in Thailand.
“Identifying as a bicultural American Chinese citizen, with Mandarin as my mother tongue and native English fluency, I’ve been brought up to identify with Chinese traditions and culture, fitted alongside a west-coast Stanford education,” Luk wrote in a message to The Stanford Daily.
Luk is excited by the doors that the scholarship will open.
“Outside of the program, I want to spend this year exploring the entrepreneurship scene in Beijing, particularly in Dongguancun (often referred to as China’s Silicon Valley), located by Tsinghua,” Luk wrote. “I’m currently working on building a couple of ideas for different technologies for older adults, and I’d love to prototype them during my time in Beijing.”
Shapiro graduated last June with a degree in bioengineering and earned a master’s in management science and engineering this December. Fluent in Mandarin, Spanish and Hebrew, he was president of the Class of 2015, Executive Chief of Staff for the ASSU and a 2014 Mayfield Fellow.
“The Schwarzman Scholars program provides me not only the opportunity to study, work and collaborate in China, but also the resources to develop a deep understanding of global affairs that will allow me to become a leader in global biotechnical business,” Shapiro wrote in an email to The Daily.
Shapiro sees the Schwarzman program as an extension of his personal goals.
“My interests vary across a broad spectrum and I have dedicated my undergraduate and master’s years to satiating my academic curiosity well beyond my core area of study, propelling me to continue learning inside and outside the classroom,” he said.
Both Luk and Shapiro plan to pursue concentrations in economics and business. As Schwarzman Scholars, they will have the opportunity to interact with Chinese and global leaders through a wide array of lectures, internships and seminars in and around the Tsinghua Campus.