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Three Students from Duke, Duke Kunshan Receive Schwarzman Scholarships for Graduate Study in China

Part of the Portraits From the Class of 2022 Series
2021 Schwartzman Scholars: Wanying He, Jessie Xu and Jessica Edelson
2021 Schwarzman Scholars: Wanying He, Jessie Xu and Jessica Edelson

Two Duke University students and one Duke Kunshan University student -- have been named Schwarzman Scholars, a program that funds one year of study in Beijing. 

They are among 151 scholars that will begin the program in August of 2022. 

Seniors Jessica Edelson and Jessie Xu are recipients from the Durham campus. Wanying He, a senior in Duke Kunshan University’s inaugural undergraduate class, has become the first student from DKU to be named a Schwarzman Scholar.

The scholars develop leadership skills through a funded one-year master’s degree in global affairs, designed to enable future leaders of the 21st century to engage with China.   Scholars are selected on the basis of leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to understand other cultures.

Students study at Tsinghua University in Beijing and live in Schwarzman College, a specially built state-of-the-art facility designed to promote community.  Classes are taught in English, though all Schwarzman Scholars take instruction in Mandarin. 

Over the course of their one year scholarship, students will engage in developing a better understanding of China and its place in international affairs by attending lectures, traveling, cultural immersion, and a “deep dive” into a topic of their choice. 

Edelson, a Robertson Scholar from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, will graduate this May with majors in political science and visual and media studies, and a certificate in information science. At Duke, she was president of Duke Cyber, a student group focused on cybersecurity, geopolitics, and governance, and led the cyber policy team at international competitions. 

She also served on a Bass Connections team researching engineering ethics, worked in the Sanford Tech Policy Lab, and directed the Project Edge entrepreneurship program.  

With interests at the intersection of technology and policy, Edelson worked as a civic designer in rural North Carolina, a Nokia fellow, and an intern at the People-Centered Internet. She co-wrote an award-winning technology policy column for the Duke Chronicle, and is an undergraduate representative to the Duke Board of Trustees.  

After her Schwarzman term, Edelson aspires to pursue a career in foreign policy and international security, with a focus on cyber and emerging technologies.  

Xu, originally from West Hartford, Connecticut, will graduate in May with a degree in public policy and a minor in economics.  As a co-founder of a campus partnership with the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, Xu advocates for expanding critical economic education on campus to study systemic social change.

Xu is preparing for a future career in financial regulation and urban economic development. As such, she has pursued research projects from the 2008 financial crisis through Bass Connections, to now conducting her senior thesis on affordable housing finance with Self-Help Credit Union.

She was a Hart Fellow and interned with the Federal Reserve.  Xu now interns on the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

She is a partner in the Duke Impact Investing Group, where she manages one of the largest undergraduate funds nationwide.  Xu has also performed in the Me Too Monologues, and is a resident advisor.

She hopes to eventually attend law school, where she will focus on financial regulation and business law.

Wanying He, from Liuyang city in Hunan province, China, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in data science next summer.

She has championed interdisciplinary collaboration throughout her liberal arts education at Duke Kunshan. Alongside her data science studies, He’s research and extracurricular activities include exploring topics across natural and applied sciences, social sciences and the humanities.

She is founding co-director of the DKU Interdisciplinary Knowledge Network Lab, a project co-sponsored by the Humanities Research Center (HRC) and Data Science Research Center that investigates knowledge architecture, meta-knowledge, epistemology and other areas.

She recruited students and faculty from multiple disciplines to develop research projects around the theme of knowledge as a network. She also has led teams to map, visualize and analyze the patterns of knowledge produced and shared at DKU, and trained the next generation of student researchers who will continue the initiative.

Duke students and alumni can receive support for opportunities like the Schwarzman Scholarship from the Nationally Competitive Scholarships team at the Office of University Scholars and Fellows