University of Hong Kong graduate receives prestigious American fellowship

Li Yunzi, from Guangzhou, China, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. Li earned a degree from the University of Hong Kong, which is one of 27 premier universities from around the world partnered with Washington University in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

The McDonnell Academy provides an opportunity for talented international graduate and professional students to join the Washington University community.

Li Yunzi Download hi-res image

“We are delighted to have Li Yunzi join us in the McDonnell Academy,” says McDonnell International Scholars Academy Director James V. Wertsch, PhD, associate vice chancellor for international affairs and the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

“She brings academic excellence to her studies as a PhD student and also shows every indication of becoming a global leader of the future, which is the aim of the Academy,” Wertsch says.

Li, who earned a master of philosophy in 2011 from the University of Hong Kong, is pursuing a doctorate in comparative literature in Arts & Sciences, at Washington University.

Li’s focus is translation studies, along with cultural and literary theories, in the investigation of Asian diaspora literature. She believes that understanding diaspora literature and writers’ struggle for their own identities contributes to a deeper understanding of diasporas in mainstream society.

At the University of Hong Kong, she was awarded the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Scholarship, the People’s Choice Award in the Three-Minute Thesis Competition, and the Hong Kong Youth Literary Award in the Translation Championship.

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy is a program for future global leaders to obtain PhD or master’s degrees. Employing an unusual approach, it 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.

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

Academy Ambassador

Once selected for this highly competitive program, each Academy Scholar is matched with a distinguished member of the Washington University 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.

Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work in WUSTL’s Brown School, is Li’s faculty mentor-ambassador.

Morrow-Howell has been on the faculty at the Brown School since 1987. She is a national leader in gerontology, widely known for her work on productive and civic engagement of older adults.

She is a member of the Gerontological Society of America’s Expert Workgroup on Civic Engagement in an Older America. With support from the Metlife Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Longer Life Foundation, and the National Institute on Aging, she explores strategies to maximize the engagement of older adults in productive roles.

Her research has contributed to understanding about the outcomes for individual, families and society associated with expanding work, volunteering, civic service and care giving by older adults.

She also studies mental health services to older adults, with support of the National Institute of Mental Health.

She received both the Washington University Distinguished Faculty Award and the Brown School’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

The McDonnell Academy

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