2016 Yenching Scholars
Laura Grunberg

Laura Grunberg

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Laura Grunberg holds a German passport but has a very mixed background and has lived in the UK and Switzerland. She attended school in both Germany and Switzerland before gaining a scholarship for boarding school in the UK, and sutdied Human, Social and Political Sciences with Management at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. Laura’s interests range from public policy to business innovation and social anthropology. At Cambridge, she was actively involved in organizing seminars and conferences as President of the UK’s leading student think tank, but she has also worked for large corporations such as CHANEL. Having always had a passion for China, she has been studying Mandarin and going to China since the age of 16, in addition to following courses on the anthropology of Inner Asia during her studies. At Yenching she is following the Economics and Management concentration, and would like to further explore the topics of Innovation and Creativity within the Chinese business environment.

Gabrielle de Haan

Gabrielle de Haan

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Gabrielle de Haan is an East Asian Languages and Cultures major and John Jay Scholar at Columbia University in New York (Columbia College ’16). Born in France to a French mother and an American father, she grew up in France, England, and Italy, where she attended a traditional Liceo Classico and studied Latin and Classical Greek. The addition of Mandarin to her linguistic studies soon led her to the belief that understanding China and its history, culture and place in the world was a challenge that she had to pursue. Gabrielle also has a keen interest in contemporary art and has worked at various galleries and arts institutions such as Christie's, Gagosian Gallery, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. As a Yenching Scholar, she is studying Chinese Literature and Culture, and she plans to further her knowledge of contemporary Chinese art, and specifically, how these fields will ultimately enhance mutual understanding between China and the West.

Sam Hall

Sam Hall

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Sam Hall is an Australian who graduated from the University of Sydney with majors in Economics, Chinese and Quantitative Analytics. During and following the completion of his undergraduate degree, Sam lived, worked, travelled and studied in various locations across China. Above all, however, it is language and (chiefly post-1911) literature that continue to interest him most strongly. At the Yenching Academy, Sam intends to more deeply study Comparative Literature and Philology in the Chinese context to inform his research into Chinese culture, national narratives, and their impact on China’s approach to international discourse and norm setting. In 2016, Sam lived in Germany as part of a sabbatical year, during which he pursued German language learning, wider reading, and travel.

Johannes Hallermeier

Johannes Hallermeier

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Johannes Hallermeier graduated with a philosophy major from Princeton University. Though he is originally from Germany, he has spent several years living in Latin America and the United States. He taught English and set up a scholarship program in Arequipa, Peru, pursued undergraduate studies at Princeton University in New Jersey, and got to know Cuba during a semester at the University of Havana. Johannes wrote his senior thesis on refugees and economic migrants, and the two groups’ comparable claims to be admitted to foreign countries. At the Yenching Academy, Johannes is focusing on the study of Chinese philosophy and its role in today’s politics and culture. He became fascinated with China’s current transition after observing similar processes in Cuba, where capitalist activity and its social effects have been allowed to grow within a socialist system. Like in Cuba, Johannes will explore China both in the classroom and in contact with diverse parts of Beijing’s population. He is hoping to synthesize his impressions in writing, photography and videography.

David Hongler

David Hongler

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David Hongler studied in Zurich, where he completed his Master's degree in the field of law in 2016. He returned to Switzerland after spending a year at the Renmin University of China. During his time in Beijing, he studied China's legal system while also making an effort to better understand Chinese contemporary society through the means of cultural immersion and intensive language studies. David holds both Swiss and German citizenship and grew up in an intellectually stimulating environment in Zurich. Early on, he developed a broad variety of interests ranging from competitive rowing to the art of Japanese woodblock prints. During his studies in Switzerland, he accumulated both professional and volunteer experience. Notably, he was employed as a research assistant to a Chair for International Law. Among other things, he extensively researched the sovereignty disputes over the maritime features in the South China Sea. David's academic interests are not just limited to the sphere of law, but extend to history, philosophy, society and economics. As a Yenching Scholar, he is further developing his interests in Law and Society in China, and also gaining a deeper understanding of China's economy.

Ty Hopp

Ty Hopp

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Ty Hopp is an interdisciplinary Asian Humanities scholar and graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). An avid backpacker and fluent Korean speaker, Ty spent a year at Yonsei University in South Korea and taught English to North Korean refugees as a volunteer for Seoul-based NGO PSCORE. Working remotely with the US Embassy in Jakarta, he founded the Teach for Borneo initiative, an English education program for rural Indonesian students on the island of Borneo. Ty is pursuing the politics and international relations concentration at the Yenching Academy. Building on his experience combining education, technology and diplomacy, he is focusing his research on the role of digital people-to-people diplomacy in the China-U.S. bilateral relationship. A budding designer and front-end developer, he intends to merge his diverse interests to pursue culturally-informed global entrepreneurship. He is 23 years old and from the United States of America.

Hou Jia

Hou Jia

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Hou Jia grew up in Tianjin, China. She attended the University of International Business and Economics, where she majored in English Translation and Interpretation (Economy and Trade). She was awarded a full scholarship to be a visiting scholar in Sydney, Australia, and has been awarded the National Scholarship, Guanghua Scholarship, First-Class Scholarship, and many prizes for speech contests, English negotiation, and more. Hou Jia also ranked among the top in international-style ballroom dance competitions, hosting competitions, and singing competitions. She was the only female student host of the 2013 International Youth Organization Forum & Beijing Sister City Youth Camp Welcome Dinner. She has served as Director of the UIBE TV Station, Vice President of Willis Towers Watson Campus Club, and as a part-time model and dance instructor. At the Yenching Academy, Hou Jia is focusing on Chinese economy and management.

Veronica Houk

Veronica Houk

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Veronica Houk graduated summa cum laude from New York University Abu Dhabi's third matriculating class in May 2016 with a major in Literature & Creative Writing and a concentration in Visual Arts: History, Theory, & Criticism. Her honors thesis "Feeding Appetites, Feeding Identities: Flesh and Consumption in Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior" explored how Kingston's seminal memoir uses the consumption of flesh to map and navigate Asian-ethnic American identities. As an undergraduate, Veronica studied abroad in Ghana, China, Italy, and Germany, working with auction houses and art galleries and also engaging in international animal rights activism efforts. At Yenching Academy, Veronica plans to study the history of late 19th and 20th century Chinese photography and volunteer with animal welfare organizations.

Hu Xiaoyi

Hu Xiaoyi

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Hu Xiaoyi majored in history at Nanjing University. She was awarded the National Scholarship and Outstanding Student award, as well as other academic honors from the university. Xiaoyi endeavors to share Chinese culture in real-world settings. She has attended many intercultural exchanges, including a London global study tour, summer school at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Asia-Pacific Rim Leadership Program in Malaysia. She has also volunteered to teach Chinese culture at a primary school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and was interviewed by Xinhua Daily, which published an article about the experience. Throughout her trips, Xiaoyi encountered both love and misunderstanding of Chinese culture, which has strengthened her resolve to promote intercultural exchange.