McDonnell Academy welcomes 12 new scholars from around the world

Cohort of future leaders pursues graduate studies, builds global networks

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis welcomed 12 new talented graduate and professional students for the 2011-12 academic year.

The new scholars are graduates of one of 27 premier universities from around the world partnered with Washington University in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

The new scholars are: Naoko Akimoto, Chen Li, Richa Joshi, Li Yunzi, Li Weijie, Lin Chih-Chung, Leandro Medina de Oliveira, Bharatkumar Suthar, Wu Mengfei, Antonio Zanutto, Zhang Liu and Zhu Chuanmei.

Headquartered at Washington University, the McDonnell Academy enrolls exceptional graduate and professional students across all graduate disciplines at the university.

The McDonnell Academy Scholars are expected to be future global leaders. As such, they are provided not only with a rigorous graduate education at Washington University, but also with cultural, political and social activities designed to prepare them as leaders knowledgeable about the United States, other countries and critical international issues.

Employing an unusual approach, the McDonnell Academy brings together top scholars from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America 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.

“In creating an international network of research universities, Washington University intends to develop a cohort of future leaders in a global university system and promote global awareness and social responsibility,” says McDonnell Academy Director James V. Wertsch, PhD, associate vice chancellor for international affairs and the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

“Since getting to know our newest class of scholars over this past semester, I know that they are making great contributions to the research effort at Washington University as well as enhancing the educational experiences of our domestic students through sharing their culture, history and the politics of their countries,” Wertsch says.

Academy ambassadors

Once selected for this highly competitive program, each academy scholar is matched with a distinguished member of the WUSTL faculty who serves as a mentor and also as an academy “ambassador” to the university partner from which the scholar has graduated.

The academy 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.

“The scholars, working with their ambassadors, help foster collaborative research and educational efforts across the academy institutions on issues such as energy and sustainability, international understanding and public health,” Wertsch says. “The academy is an incubator of new ideas on global networks in research and education and will continue to pursue new initiatives in the future.”

The McDonnell Academy organizes special events for the scholars, including leadership training, cultural opportunities, seminars and workshops with experts in key areas, conferences on crucial issues, and sessions in Washington, D.C., with U.S. government policymakers and grant administrators.

Scholar support

The McDonnell Academy Scholars receive funding for full tuition and living expenses for the time it takes to get a degree at WUSTL. The academy also provides support for an annual trip back to the scholar’s alma mater.

To help foster a sense of community, many 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 chair of WUSTL’s Board of Trustees and retired chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas Corp.

Additional support comes from 22 multinational corporations, foundations and individual sponsors. Sponsoring corporations also offer internships and on-site educational opportunities for the academy’s corporate fellows.

To view a list of the academy sponsors, visit

Partner universities

Partner universities in the academy are committed to excellence in education and research and to the importance of international collaboration.

The select group of worldwide research universities that are partners with the McDonnell International Scholars Academy follows:

Middle East Technical University
Chulalongkorn University
China Agricultural University
Peking University
Tsinghua University
The University of Queensland
Budapest University of Technology and Economics
State University of Campinas
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya
Hong Kong
Chinese University of Hong Kong
University of Hong Kong
Bogaziçi University
University of Indonesia
The University of Melbourne
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Tata Institute of Social Sciences
New Dehli
Jawaharlal Nehru University
University of Chile
Korea University
Seoul National
Yonsei University
Fudan University
National University of Singapore
National Taiwan University
University of Tokyo
Utrecht University