NUS graduate student and alumna receive prestigious Schwarzman Scholarships

NUS graduate student Sim Zhi Min (NUS Engineering, ’20) and NUS alumna Ms Eleni Ayala Ojeda (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS, ’19) have been selected to join the Schwarzman Scholars Program, a prestigious Master’s degree and leadership programme at Tsinghua University’s Schwarzman College in Beijing, China.

They were chosen from over 3,600 applicants worldwide to form the programme’s sixth cohort of 154 students. The Class of 2022, comprising students from 39 countries and 99 universities, will enroll in August 2021. Schwarzman Scholars are selected through a rigorous application process designed to identify leadership potential, strength of character and academic ability.

The Global Affairs programme comprises a core curriculum focused on three pillars: leadership, China and global affairs. It is refined each year to ensure alignment with current and future geopolitical priorities. The programme’s combination of coursework, cultural immersion, and personal and professional development opportunities, equip students with a sound understanding of China’s changing role in the world, critically important to leadership in the 21st Century.

After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from NUS Engineering, Zhi Min was a mechanical design engineer working on unmanned systems for military and commercial applications for local engineering firm HOPE Technik. He went on to co-found Yonah – a technology startup that aims to use unmanned systems to solve critical cargo logistics problems in the most remote areas of the world. Passionate about design thinking and an engineering education, Zhi Min is currently pursuing his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. He also works as a Teaching Assistant at NUS Engineering’s Innovation and Design Programme where he supervises interdisciplinary design projects and teaches undergraduates the fundamentals of integrated engineering systems.

On being awarded the scholarship, Zhi Min shared, “I feel tremendously honoured and privileged to have been selected as a Schwarzman Scholar. I hope to be able to network with the scholars and faculty alike, gaining new perspectives about China, and the rest of the world, in particular in the area of technology applications for serving underserved communities and for social good.”

Ms Eleni Ayala Ojeda joined the Mexican civil service as Deputy Director of Business Sector Engagement at the Ministry of Public Administration after graduating with a Master’s in Public Policy from NUS last year. She is now leading a research project under the NUS Resilience and Growth Innovation Challenge that seeks to assess the potential risks and impact that COVID-19 policies and programmes have on society and the environment.

She said, “I am thrilled to join the next class of Schwarzman Scholars, and to take this opportunity to meet like-minded peers with a passion for changing the world for the better, and for increasing mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world. I believe this is particularly significant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”