Carolina Student, Alumna Named Schwarzman Scholars
Jialing Jiang, a fourth-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Chang Zhao, a 2015 graduate of the University, have been selected for the Schwarzman Scholars program, an elite China-based scholarship modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship and founded by Blackstone Co-Founder and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman.
This innovative master’s degree program supports the study of public policy, economics and business, or international studies at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University and bridges the academic and professional worlds to educate students about leadership and China’s expanding role in the world.
Jiang and Zhao were two of only 129 global recipients selected for the one-year award, which provides unparalleled learning opportunities with leaders from China and the world through high-level interactions at lectures, an internship program, a mentorship network and intensive travel seminars. They are Carolina’s third and fourth Schwarzman Scholars, following last year’s inaugural scholars Larry Han and Max Seunik.
“Being named a Schwarzman Scholar is an exceptional achievement and we are incredibly proud that Jialing and Chang will have an opportunity to pursue their international studies in China,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “They are both talented and accomplished young scholars who care deeply about the world and want to help make a difference. We look forward to learning about their future successes in intercultural relations and international development.”
Jiang, 21, is from the Chinese mainland. She plans to graduate this May with a degree in economics and philosophy and a minor in philosophy, politics and economics from the College of Arts and Sciences.
While at UNC, Jiang founded the UNC International Ambassadors program and the first Chinese Cultural Month on campus. Along with promoting multicultural awareness, she is also passionate about social entrepreneurship and has provided improvement coaching for 16 nonprofits in eight cities around the country. Jiang has researched Africa-China relations at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and hopes to be an agent for intercultural relations and international development by starting a social enterprise that focuses on alleviating rural poverty.
“I am very honored for the opportunity to spend next year with some of the brightest young people across the globe at Tsinghua University,” said Jiang. “I cannot wait to learn about China from a new perspective and meet top China scholars and business leaders through the Schwarzman program.”
Zhao, 25, is also from the Chinese mainland. She graduated from UNC with honors and distinction after majoring in anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently a Global Academic Fellow at New York University Shanghai, where she conducts research and teaches undergraduate students.
At Carolina, Zhao was a member of the Order of the Grail-Valkyrie, and was also the first Chinese student to hold the joint senate critic position, in which she planned and judged debates, of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies, UNC-Chapel Hill’s literary and debate society. An aspiring anthropologist, Zhao has already carried out fieldwork on urban renewal projects and cultural heritage preservation and hopes to combine ethnographic research and policymaking to solve real-world problems.
“Being selected for the Schwarzman means that I am one step closer to my goal of serving as the conjunction between the academia and the practical world,” said Zhao. “After researching both educational inequality and urban renewal projects in China from an anthropological perspective, I’m interested to see how I can develop a better understanding of these issues through the study of public policy.”
The newly named Schwarzman Scholars share a connection in the the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies. Jiang, a current member of the organization, was mentored and sponsored for membership by Zhao.
“We are so proud of our two new scholars, and pleased that UNC-Chapel Hill is so well-represented in both the inaugural and second group of Schwarzman Scholars,” said Inger Brodey, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships.
The Schwarzman Scholars program is the first scholarship created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century by giving students the opportunity to develop leadership skills and professional networks through a one-year master’s degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Immersed in the culture of Beijing, the scholars are surrounded by an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. In this environment of intellectual engagement, professional development and cultural exchange, they pursue their academic disciplines, travel, build their leadership capacities and develop a better understanding of China. Up to 200 individuals are chosen annually from around the world for this highly selective, fully-funded program.