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Duke Senior Named a Schwarzman Scholar, Will Study in Beijing

Yuexuan Chen is among 140 scholars chosen from more than 3,600 applicants worldwide

2020 Schwartzman Scholar Yuexuan Chen
2020 Schwartzman Scholar Yuexuan Chen

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University senior Yuexuan Chen has been named a Schwarzman Scholar, a program that funds one year of study in Beijing, the organization announced Monday.

Chen, from Cleveland, is among 140 scholars chosen from more than 3,600 applicants worldwide.

The scholars develop leadership skills through a one-year master’s degree in global affairs, with specialization tracks in public policy, economics or international studies. Scholars are selected on the basis of leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to understand other cultures.

Students will study at Tsinghua University and live on the Schwarzman College campus, a newly built, state-of-the-art facility where classes are taught in English. The scholars will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling and developing a better understanding of China.

Chen will graduate with majors in public policy and biology and a certificate in Policy, Journalism, and Media Studies. 

A journalist, Chen has interned in South Africa, studied in Alaska, Greece and Bhutan, and has been both a reporter and health and science editor for the Duke Chronicle. She has freelanced for outlets ranging from The Third Pole, a nonprofit focused on Himalayan water crises, to Medscape Medical News to her local paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

She also wrote a chapter for “The Coronavirus: Human, Social and Political Implications,” an academic book put together by Duke Kunshan University professor James Miller.

In Dr. Gregory Gray’s Duke One Health lab, she is working on her biology thesis project on possible adenovirus transmission between humans and lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center. Chen is also a licensed pilot, vice president of the Duke figure skating team, and a mountaineer.

After her Schwarzman term, Chen plans to pursue her interests in scientific journalism, infectious disease and public health.

The Schwarzman Scholars initiative is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $400 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $500 million endowment will support up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China and elsewhere.