Megan Cansfieldread bio
Megan Cansfield is a British-American dual citizen and 2017 graduate of the University of Michigan with majors in Political Science, International Studies, and Asian Studies. At Michigan, Megan served as the Asia Regional Editor of the Michigan Journal of International Affairs and wrote her honors thesis analyzing the intersections between US-China strategic trust-building and security cooperation on North Korea. She also studied in five Chinese cities and interned with the US Embassy Beijing, US Consulate-General Guangzhou, and US-China grassroots exchange organization Project Pengyou. Megan was a Fulbright research fellow in China at Yanbian University where she conducted an independent project investigating the influence of the Korean Peninsula security crisis on US-China relations. Following her studies in Politics and International Relations at the Yenching Academy, Megan aspires to continue fostering Sino-American cooperation and engagement in East Asia at the intergovernmental level through a career in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy.
Kelsi Caywoodread bio
Kelsi Caywood, originally from Sturgis, Michigan, is a graduate of Yale University. Her studies in political science focused on international security and humanitarian affairs. She served as the President of the Yale International Relations Association, Yale’s largest undergraduate organization. Kelsi also directed the Yale Divinity School’s Life Worth Living Fellowship, researched organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, and organized service initiatives in New Haven. Prior to Yale, Kelsi spent a year with the U.S. State Department in South Korea. Kelsi plans to build off of her experiences in international education and cross-cultural dialogue to pursue a career in peace-building and diplomacy. At the Yenching Academy, Kelsi concentrates on the Politics and International Relations research area with the aim of applying those studies to US-China relations.
Michael Chenread bio
Michael grew up in Richmond, Virginia where he could not help but fall in love with history, especially the controversial aspects. That interest brought him to Wheaton College, where he studied History, Sociology, and Chinese. There, he became inspired by the possibility of enacting social change with rigorous research and conducted research on African-American families and labor markets in the post-Reconstruction period and the social function of Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs. He was a Princeton in Asia Fellow at the Linden Centre, an award-winning boutique hotel in rural Yunnan, where he explored sustainable tourism and the impact of development on local culture. Passionate about migrant workers and rural villagers in China’s evolving economy, Michael researches on social stratification and development at the Yenching Academy. He is also interested in religion’s growth and function in China as well as China’s deep culinary traditions and budding hip hop scene.
Eric Chienread bio
Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Eric Chien graduated from the University of Chicago in 2016 with a B.A. in Economics. While in college, Eric studied abroad for a semester at the Catholic University of Chile and participated in an intensive summer language program at Beijing Normal University. Since graduation, Eric has worked at DHL Consulting in Miami, FL, working on various corporate strategy and supply chain projects throughout the Americas region. At the Yenching Academy, Eric pursues a concentration in the Economics and Management track in order to explore the impact of Chinese investment in Latin America.
Michael Collinsread bio
Michael Collins was born and raised in the United States of America. He attended Washington University in St. Louis as an Elizabeth Grey Danforth Scholar and earned a degree in Chinese Language and Culture. His coursework centered on 20th century Chinese history with a special interest in revolutionary movements during this period. Outside of the classroom, he was engaged in sexual assault prevention education and activism. As a Dick Gephardt Civic Scholar, Michael worked as a legal researcher for the Zhicheng Public Interest Law Firm where he comparatively analyzed child protection laws across the globe. Michael is excited to continue his study of Chinese history at the Yenching Academy, hoping to one day enters academia. He also enjoys immersing himself in Beijing's vibrant art and music community.
Kelly (Leena) Dairead bio
Born and raised in Philadelphia (where she went to the same high school as Kobe Bryant!), Leena graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Economics and Chinese Literature. She spent the majority of college working in venture capital and growth equity, before an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore inspired her to explore a deepening interest in international trade in East and Southeast Asia. At Yenching, she uses her background in startups to research the interaction between ancient/contemporary Chinese culture and technological innovation, and its implications for China’s role in an increasingly integrated APAC. She also explores personal interests in pre-modern fiction, philosophical Daoism, and traditional forms of poetry. Leena studies under the Law and Society track, with plans to eventually pursue a JD/PhD. Outside of academics, Leena enjoys hiking, boxing, traveling, and jazz guitar.
Tobi Wang Duread bio
Tobi Du is from Seattle, Washington in the United States. She attended the University of Washington in Seattle and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with departmental honors in 2018, majoring in political science with a focus on international security and minoring in English. While at the University of Washington, she studied abroad in Japan and wrote an honors thesis on the North Korean nuclear agenda. She continues her study of international relations and East Asian security politics at the Yenching Academy, especially the topics of cross-strait relations with Taiwan and China’s role in the North Korean nuclear crisis. In the future, she hopes to apply her knowledge and international experience as a diplomat for the U.S. Department of State.
Noah Gittaread bio
Noah Gitta, a Ugandan American, graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut where he majored in Public Policy and Law and minored in Chinese Language Studies. His first trip to China was for his study abroad at Fudan University in Shanghai. While there, he interned at Dacheng Law Offices and later worked briefly at their Wall Street office in New York City. After graduation, he taught English to high school students in Shanxi Province as an Ameson Educational Ambassador. He spent the following year in Beijing, as a Mandarin language student at Beijing Foreign Studies University. He concurrently interned at Winchannel —a Chinese data management company and worked on a collaborative project that involved Chinese software developers and Indian distributors of Huawei cellphones. Most recently, Noah has worked on the sales development team for Square, an innovative firm in the mobile payments industry in the U.S. As a Yenching Scholar, Noah explores the legal and regulatory environment encountered by foreign companies entering China and Chinese companies venturing overseas to gain the expertise needed to become a bridge builder between China and its global commercial partners.
Jacob Grant Hamelread bio
A native of Severna Park, Maryland, Jake Hamel has been interested in China since he began studying martial arts at an early age. Recently, he graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Public Policy and minors in Urban Studies and Chinese Language and Culture. As an undergraduate, Jake focused his research on the intersection of immigration, urban development and real estate, and he has published research on Chinese-American investment immigration policy through UC Berkeley’s Sociology department. During his summers, Jake has studied Mandarin at Beijing Normal University, interned for an environmental consulting NGO in Shanghai, served as an undergrad policy research fellow at the University of Tokyo, and worked for a Washington DC-based real estate developer. At the Yenching Academy, Jake researches the development of China’s housing markets and Chinese overseas real estate investment through the Law and Society concentration.
Olivia Holderread bio
Olivia Holder is 22 years old and lives in Greenville, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Honors, majoring in History with double minors in Chinese and Comparative Literature. She has studied and interned in China twice and was particularly impacted by her work with The Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center which assesses and protects the historic integrity of Beijing’s vernacular architecture, the hutong. Olivia has spent her senior year writing an honors thesis, researching the role that architecture and artistic possessions that were created to represent the 'cultural other' played in the self-identification of the Chinese and British empires from the eighteenth century down to the present day. She enjoys cooking, developing her elementary skills on the guqin, engaging others in art education, and drinking tea. While studying History and Archaeology at Yenching Academy, she tries to understand how people both implant meaning in and exact meaning from their built environments. She is particularly interested in realizing the positive impacts that cultural art education and an understanding of our transcultural histories can have on our political landscapes.