2016 Yenching Scholars
Quoc Anh Tran

Quoc Anh Tran

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Quoc Anh Tran comes from Vietnam and graduated with a B.A. in English from Hanoi University of Science and Technology in June 2016. During his time in college, he was an exchange student at KU Leuven for an academic year on the Erasmus Mundus scholarship. Throughout his undergraduate studies in Vietnam and Belgium, he focused on international development and various factors that influence the field. While at the Yenching Academy, Quoc Anh hopes to research China’s development process and use this knowledge to deal with contemporary issues in his native Vietnam. Impressed by China’s culture and language since visiting the country in 2011, Quoc Anh also plans on utilizing his time in China to enhance his Chinese skills.

Benjamin Trnka

Benjamin Trnka

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With a background in behavioral neuroscience and anthropology, Benjamin Trnka (AB'15, University of Chicago) plans to use his time at the Yenching Academy to explore ways in which traditional Chinese medical systems approach growing global issues like substance abuse and psychiatric illness. Trnka received a Fulbright-Nehru research grant to go to North India, where he researched a cohort of drug users to help identify health interventions for juvenile substance use. While at The University of Chicago, Trnka helped lead the NEURO Club and did extensive research with the Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory exploring the acute effects of substances like MDMA (ecstasy). He hopes that his past research, combined with his studies at the Yenching Academy, will position him to contribute to the growing international discourse on drug use. He plans eventually to pursue an MD/PhD program and continue working closely with non-allopathic medical systems. Although this is Trnka’s first time in China, he grew up in Seattle where he enjoyed parallels between his experiences as a Bosnian-American and those of his Chinese-American peers. He is excited to finally see China first-hand, where he can add to the stories he heard while growing up!

Tze Ern Teo

Tze Ern Teo

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Tze Ern Teo, born and raised in Singapore, completed his undergraduate degree in philosophy at the University of Chicago, where he primarily worked on philosophical skepticism and the later Wittgenstein. At the University of Chicago, he led a student organization, GlobeMed, which fundraised and provided capacity-building support for an anti-tuberculosis grassroots NGO in Peru. He also co-founded a restorative justice program for youth on Chicago's West Side. At the Yenching Academy, he hopes to develop a deeper understanding of Chinese foreign policy and to examine the intersection between China’s philosophical heritage and its strategic culture today. After completing his studies, he will return home to serve as a diplomat for Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he hopes to use what he has learnt at the Yenching Academy to build understanding within the Asia-Pacific.

Marta Vitvitska

Marta Vitvitska

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Marta Vitvitska graduated from National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” (NTUU “KPI”) in 2015 with a Master’s degree in International Business Management. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from NTUU “KPI” in Management and was an Erasmus Exchange Student at KU Leuven. She was actively involved in student life through her activities in Student Council. Marta was a licensee of the first TEDxKPI event at her alma mater. Marta has previously worked as a Risk Management Coordinator at KPMG Ukraine. At the Yenching Academy, she is concentrating on China’s economic development, particularly China's Innovation & Research in the ICT industry and potential cooperation between China and Ukraine in these fields.

Wang Haiyan

Wang Haiyan

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Wang Haiyan grew up in Tsingdao, Shandong province. She majored in English Linguistics and Literature in Beihang University. In college, she was awarded the National Scholarship four consecutive years, and also won her university’s Person of the Year award. She was Vice-President of the university’s English debate team, winning many awards. Wang explored linguistics, literature, psychology and Chinese culture during her college years, and has decided to become the researcher on China-related topics and a speaker for Chinese culture.

Wang Ziyu

Wang Ziyu

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Wang Ziyu graduated from Peking University with majors in Sociology and Economics. Previously, he worked with Deloitte Consulting and UNESCO. He has been an exchange student at the University of Hong Kong, and has participated in exchange programs and international academic meetings in Korea, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Brazil. Wang has received academic and program-specific scholarships from the government, UNIQLO, the International Alliance of Research Universities, and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. He has worked to promote international communication as a Fung Scholar, and won First Prize in the National Mathematics Olympics. Wang has been involved in the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study and China Family Panel Studies, and is interested in the application of game theory to sociology. At the Yenching Academy, he will continue his research on contemporary Chinese society and work in NGOs.

Thomas Werkmeister

Thomas Werkmeister

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Thomas Werkmeister studied IT-Systems Engineering at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany. During his undergraduate studies, he co-founded the software consultancy Scalable Minds, and since has helped advance research and startup projects spanning fields such as productivity, education and neuroscience. Complementing his technical background with a concentration in Economics and Management at the Yenching Academy, Thomas wants to familiarize himself with the Chinese innovation and technology sector. Using his specialization in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, he is looking to innovate in news media and education; two fields he sees as vehicles to promoting openness, knowledge, and participation.

Alexandria Williams

Alexandria Williams

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Alexandria Sahai Williams was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and attended college at Wesleyan University, where she obtained a B.A. in East Asian Studies and a B.A. in Economics. As a college student, Alexandria spent a summer traveling and working in China for a growing education startup and spent a semester in Taiwan studying at Chengchi University, where she began work with a small Taiwanese production group. Upon graduation Alexandria returned to Atlanta and began work in the city’s growing film and production sector. There, she saw first-hand the economic and social power of the film industry. Alexandria is extremely interested in the power of film and visual media and its effects on society and culture. She appreciates media and film’s multifaceted ability to promote social consciousness, educate, entertain, and boost local industry. With respect to China, Alexandria is fascinated by the development of China’s domestic film industry and the industry’s potential for promoting development. By studying Law and Society at the Yenching Academy, she aims to develop a deeper understanding of the manner in which China’s domestic law can be leveraged to foster strong connections between domestic filmmakers and foreign production companies. She also hopes to promote Chinese film and production on the world stage. Alexandria is also interested in China’s history of international diplomacy with developing nations in Africa and South East Asia, and how these relationships have affected Chinese society. 


Georgina Korkoi Wilson

Georgina Korkoi Wilson

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Georgina Korkoi Wilson is from Ghana and Nigeria and is a graduate of Dartmouth College in the United States, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Government, with a concentration in International Relations and Comparative Politics. As a Yenching Scholar, she aims to continue her study of International Relations by pursuing the Politics and International Relations concentration. She is particularly interested in Chinese foreign policy towards African countries, and Chinese Public Policy and Governance as a model of development.