National University of Singapore graduate begins prestigious American fellowship

An-Chun Chien
An-Chun Chien

An-Chun Chien, the daughter of Cynthia Chien-Lan Mo and Mark Mu-Min Chien of Singapore, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the National University of Singapore, which is one of 15 leading Asian universities partnered with Washington University in St. Louis in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

Ms. Chien is pursuing a graduate degree in molecular cell biology in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. She expects to finish her doctoral program in about four years, and plans a career in the research and academic field. She is supported in her research by a fellowship awarded to her by the Lee Foundation of Singapore, a charitable foundation established in 1952 by philanthropist and businessman Lee Kong Chian to fund programs that promote education and other philanthropic work.

“An-Chun Chien has already completed her first year of graduate study at Washington University and has made a very big positive impression here,” said James V. Wertsch, Ph.D., the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences and Director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. “The Lee Foundation Fellowship is a very prestigious award given to only one graduate of the National University of Singapore in the Academy. We are honored to have the Lee Foundation’s support as we build our program for global leaders of tomorrow such as An-Chun Chien. She is precisely the kind of individual who will be able to take maximum advantage of the Academy’s efforts to build a network of future leaders in Asia and beyond.”

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy is both new and unique. Employing an unusual structure and approach, it brings together top scholars from many countries to pursue world-class education and research while forging a strong network with one another. Key to this are partnerships Washington University has established with top universities and corporations around the world with an eye to increasing opportunities for joint research and global education.

The McDonnell Academy Scholars are considered future world leaders in their fields. As such, they are provided not only rigorous graduate instruction, but a thorough cultural, political and social education designed to prepare them as leaders knowledgeable about the United States, other countries, and critical international issues.

Once selected for this highly competitive program, each scholar is matched with a distinguished member of the Washington University faculty who serves as a mentor for the scholar and also as an “ambassador” to the university partner from which the scholar has graduated. The ambassador assists the McDonnell Scholar in academic and professional life and travels annually with the scholar to the partner university to build relationships between the two institutions.

Michael Sherraden
Michael Sherraden

Michael W. Sherraden, Ph.D., the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, is Ms. Chien’s faculty mentor-ambassador. Sherraden is director of the Center for Social Development, where he works on policy and community innovations for the disadvantaged. He has served as adviser on social policy to the White House and to several American government agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The McDonnell Academy Scholars receive funding for full tuition, living expenses and travel to and from St. Louis. Most of the scholars reside in two fully equipped and furnished apartment buildings near campus.

Funding is provided through a sustaining endowment gift from John F. McDonnell, vice chairman of the Washington University Board of Trustees and retired chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, additional endowment pledges, and 11 multinational corporate and foundation sponsors. Sponsoring corporations also offer internships and on-site educational opportunities for the Academy’s Corporate Fellows.