Ryan Mikkelsen graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2016 with a degree in Economics and International & Area Studies. Passionate about finding new and innovative ways of funding international development, Ryan has previously worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He was a research assistant for the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy and works remotely for the Development Credit Authority within the United States Agency for International Development. Ryan recently defended his honors thesis, which explored the patterns and determinants of global remittances. The paper expanded upon earlier research that Ryan conducted while living and studying in Nepal. In the past, Ryan has investigated the challenges confronting international climate change financing as an attendee to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar. Ryan has a deep interest in China and has been studying Mandarin since he started college. He spent a summer at Fudan University in Shanghai and has published a historical analysis of the pro-population policies in China under Mao Zedong. As a Yenching Scholar with a concentration in Economics and Management, Ryan hopes to further his understanding of development finance from a Chinese perspective. Ryan is 22 years old.×
Sasha is a Columbia University graduate who hails from Vero Beach, Florida. During his final year of high school, he participated in a year-long immersion and homestay experience program in Beijing, China, where he attended Beijing No. 2 High School through the School Year Abroad (SYA) program. Upon returning, Sasha chose to pursue a double major in East Asian Studies and Russian Language and Culture. At Columbia University Sasha was active with the Undergraduate Law Review, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, and Men’s Rugby team. In fall of his senior year of college he was selected to work in Moscow, Russia, for the U.S. Department of State. Sasha has also interned at law firms in South America and Florida and is concentrating in Law and Society while at Yenching Academy. He speaks English, Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese.×
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.×
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.×
Zachary Reshovsky completed his Bachelors at the University of Washington in Seattle, graduating cum laude with a degree in International Studies from the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. Previously, Zachary worked on a number of state-level political campaigns, most recently serving as Director of Communications for a Seattle City Council race. He has also interned in the U.S. Senate, where he worked on research regarding the implementation of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms and passage of the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.
Zachary has lived in China on several prior occasions, participating in the 2015 Critical Language Scholarship Program in Suzhou and interning at the US State Department’s Consul Guangzhou in 2014, where he conducted pattern analysis for consular counter-visa fraud and anti-human trafficking efforts. Zachary possesses a deep interest in Chinese language, culture, and politics, having studied Mandarin for six years and focused on the Asia-Pacific region during his undergraduate studies at the Jackson School. Outside of the classroom, Zachary enjoys competitive policy debate, playing classical piano, writing fiction, and soccer. His career interests most prominently include U.S. congressional staffing, international law, and diplomacy.×
Zhi-Xiang Teo was born in the United States, and grew up in Northern California. She completed her undergraduate degree in History at Stanford University, with a focus on U.S. history and modern Chinese history. She also graduated with minors in Economics and Creative Writing. She wrote an honors thesis on Hu Shi (1891-1962), a prominent Chinese philosopher, and received a major grant from Stanford's Undergraduate Advising and Research to conduct research on him during the summer of 2015. She also served as a research assistant for the Chinese Railroad Worker’s Project, which seeks to give a voice to the Chinese migrant laborers who helped to shape the physical and social landscape of the American West. As a production intern for Forum, a radio talk show that airs on National Public Radio’s local station in San Francisco (KQED), she produced and directed a show about the Railroad Worker’s Project. Because of her interest in journalism, cross-cultural communication, and public policy, she is pursuing the Politics and International Relations track at Yenching Academy. In her spare time, she enjoys playing piano, and performed Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto as the featured soloist with the Stanford Philharmonic Orchestra in their winter concert in 2016.×
Zoe Zhang graduated from Princeton University in 2016, where she majored in East Asian Studies and completed a thesis on the history of caterpillar fungus and the concept of “wonder drugs” in Chinese medicine from the 18th-century to the present day. A lifelong resident of the United States, she began studying Chinese history at Princeton, where she focused on topics at the intersection of Qing history, Chinese frontier history, and material culture. Zoe previously spent a semester studying advanced Chinese at the Inter-University Program at Tsinghua, and has also interned as a Public Relations Assistant at the Sichuan Provincial Museum. At the Yenching Academy, Zoe hopes to continue studying Qing history while completing a Master’s Thesis on the political economy of the Yunnan tea industry amidst rural land reform in the late 20th century.×