2015 Yenching Scholars
Cody Abbey

Cody Abbey

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Cody Abbey studied public and international affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, graduating with a thesis that analyzed China's college entrance examination. Cody’s interests include Chinese education, language, and theatre, and he actively engages in a variety of cultural projects in both China and the United States. While at the Yenching Academy, he further pursued his interest in China's higher education system.

Jason Arterburn

Jason Arterburn

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Jason Arterburn completed his BA in economics and identity & security at the University of Alabama, graduating as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and as the top male student in his class. As an undergraduate, Jason studied Mandarin intensively in China for a calendar year on a Critical Language Scholarship and David L. Boren Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State and National Security Education Program, respectively. He has worked on U.S.-China policy in various capacities at the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, in the Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and (..) at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, where he assisted Dr. Tong Zhao with research on nonproliferation and global security issues. Jason also sits on the Board of Directors for Birmingham to Beijing, a 501(c)(3) organization that raises more than $50,000 annually to provide high-achieving students at low-income high schools in Alabama with Mandarin language classes and a fully-funded study tour in China. He is also a 2014 Harry S. Truman Scholar.

James Ashcroft

James Ashcroft

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James Ashcroft graduated with First Class Honours from University College London where he studied early modern political thought and intellectual history. A dual UK/US citizen, James has lived in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Previously, he contributed to educational and homebuilding projects in Ecuador and Kenya. A (…) Business Analyst at Deloitte, he has also worked for firms in both London and Washington DC, including KPMG’s Digital, Analytics & Innovation division. At the Yenching Academy, James completed an economics & management thesis on the contemporary Chinese tea industry.

Joseph Brennan

Joseph Brennan

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Joseph Brennan graduated from Harvard College with a thesis on political instability in contemporary Thailand. Previously, Joseph worked as a research assistant to Nicholas Christakis and David Gergen, and more recently, he has been involved in NGO work on political enfranchisement. His studies at the Yenching Academy focused on the economic aspects of political development.

Maya Cypris

Maya Cypris

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Maya Cypris studied East Asian studies and business administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is particularly interested in the integration of business culture between China and the West. Fluent in both English and Hebrew, and with a strong knowledge of Chinese and Spanish, Maya is also interested in the problem of language-barriers and cultural miscommunication in negotiation and mediation. 


Fang Xinyue (Alice)

Fang Xinyue (Alice)

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Fang Xinyue (Alice) is an interdisciplinary technologist interested in human-centered design and culturally-informed innovation. She graduated from Stanford University where she worked on the use of technology in education and developed an app for long-distance learning. At the Yenching Academy, Alice conducted research on entrepreneurship and learning in Taobao Villages.

Alicia French

Alicia French

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Alicia French graduated from the University of Chicago. She is an aspiring architect interested in Latin America and regional architectural history. Her undergraduate thesis, based on fieldwork in Latin America, focused on surrealism in the experimental architectural site of Ritoque, Chile. While at the University of Chicago, she was also involved in establishing a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Julia Hammer

Julia Hammer

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Julia Hammer studied East Asian studies and theater at Princeton University. Before joining the Yenching Academy, Julia worked at the Public Theater in New York and with an off-Broadway production. Julia spent her time at the Yenching Academy studying international relations, focusing especially on the rise of international co-productions in the Chinese film industry and their role as a vehicle for Chinese soft power.

Michelle Huang

Michelle Huang

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Michelle Huang graduated from Cornell University where she pursued her interest in international textile trade, labor relations, and law. After graduating, Michelle was a Luce Scholar with a Cambodia-based legal NGO where she created a training course for factory workers aimed at developing knowledge of the labor law and cultivating negotiation and communication skills. 


Daniel Khalessi

Daniel Khalessi

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Daniel Khalessi studied global affairs and international security at Stanford and Yale. His previous projects analyzed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, recreated Alexander the Great’s historical route to India, and allowed him to engage with the UN and the Former U.S. Secretary of Defense. At the Yenching Academy, he researched Chinese business negotiation practices and the role of the technology entrepreneurship sector in U.S.-China relations.