Two graduates of the Washington University in St. Louis Class of 2017 — Carl Stanley Hooks and Kenneth Sng — have been named Yenching Scholars at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing. The two will complete a fully funded one-year residency at the Yenching Academy, where they will pursue master’s degrees in China studies.
Established to promote the interdisciplinary study of contemporary China, the Yenching Scholars program aims to provide a new generation of global citizens with a nuanced understanding of China and its role in the world. Working closely with academic mentors, Yenching Scholars choose from six academic concentrations and a variety of extracurricular activities. Hooks and Sng are part of the program’s third cohort, composed of 131 students from 41 countries.
Hooks, who studied international development, political science and Chinese, all in Arts & Sciences, will pursue his master’s in China studies with a concentration in law and society. Hooks was an Annika Rodriguez Scholar and a member of Sigma Iota Rho International Studies honorary society, among other things, as an undergraduate.
Hooks also received a U.S. State Department scholarship for a summer in Dalian, China, and completed an honors thesis on legal aid services for Chinese migrant workers. He hopes to “embrace the interdisciplinary nature of the scholarship by taking classes in a range of subjects,” gain internship experience in Beijing, and participate in the Yenching Global Symposium or Impact Funding Lab with fellow scholars.
Sng graduated in May with a double-major in economics and in mathematics, both in Arts & Sciences. Sng was student body president and a resident advisor, among other things. Sng also received Singapore’s prestigious Public Service Commission scholarship, so he will return to Singapore and work for the Civil Service after completing his studies. As a Yenching Scholar, Sng will have a concentration in economics and management. He believes the Yenching Scholars program will “refine my understanding of the Chinese perspective, hone my cross-cultural competency, and provide a good balance to my liberal arts education at WashU.”
Peking University is a partner in Washington University’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy, which brings together top scholars from around the world to build stronger global ties. So far, 13 Peking University alumni have come to Washington University through the McDonnell Academy.
“Having Kenneth Sng and Carl Hooks go to Peking University as Yenching Academy Scholars is a major step in making this a two-way flow of students between our institutions,” said James V. Wertsch, vice chancellor for international affairs and director of the McDonnell Academy. “The Yenching Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards on the international scene today for graduating seniors. The competition to become a Yenching Academy Scholar is very stiff, and we are delighted to have two Washington University graduates named this year.”