NYU Shanghai Seniors Earn Schwarzman Scholarships

Dec 2 2016

NYU Shanghai seniors Roxanne Roman and Jacko Walz have been selected as 2018 Schwarzman Scholars, an honor that will support master’s degree study at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The 2018 Schwarzman Scholars, founded by Blackstone Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman, include students from 30 countries and 75 universities with 45 percent from the United States, 20 percent from China, and 35 percent from the rest of the world.

“I am overjoyed with the caliber of students who will make up the second class of Schwarzman Scholars,” said Schwarzman. “It has been truly inspiring for me to meet these people, who at such a young age have already started to make an impact on the world.”

Roxanne Roman is a social science major at NYU Shanghai. She will graduate this year having served as Shanghai’s first full-term student body president and founder of the school’s 2013 Fund. A first-generation American and advocate of women’s political advocacy, she has worked in the Office of the First Lady at the White House, the Hillary for America Presidential Campaign, and the Senate of the Philippines.

Jacko Walz is majoring in business and finance at NYU Shanghai. Interested in political risk, he will pursue a concentration in international studies as a Schwarzman Scholar. He has interned at London’s BBC Worldwide and worked as an analyst at IoTOne. At NYU Shanghai, he founded the NYU Shanghai American football team and has served in the Undergraduate Business Association and TEDxNYU Shanghai.

 In addition, Mohammed Omar, a 2014 graduate of NYU Abu Dhabi, and Anushka Prasad, a 2013 graduate of NYU’s College of Arts and Science, were also among the 129 chosen.

Mohammed Omar graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in 2014 with a double major in mechanical engineering and mathematics. He was a member of the inaugural class at NYUAD and was instrumental in establishing the university’s student government, having been elected student body president twice. He then went on to complete his M.S. in mechanical engineering at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, where he worked on analyzing composite materials. His group is the first to successfully create a metal matrix syntactic foam core sandwich composite; the results were published in Material Science & Engineering. In 2015, Omar joined the professional services firm AlphaSights as an associate in its Dubai office.

Anushka Prasad graduated with a degree in economics (with Highest Honors) from NYU in 2013. After graduation, she moved to New Delhi to be a part of building India’s first liberal arts university, Ashoka University. At Ashoka, Anushka leads various strategic initiatives to build the university’s governance structure, policies, women’s leadership and India’s first archive focusing on contemporary India. As a Schwarzman Scholar, she hopes to learn from China’s education policies to lead education reform and institution-building in India and other developing countries.

The 2018 scholars follow last year’s inaugural Schwarzman Scholars, who included Kes Rittenberg, a 2016 graduate of NYU’s College of Arts and Science.

“The second class of Schwarzman Scholars is a remarkable group of people who are committed to broadening their worldview and encouraging peace and friendship between the east and the west,” added Nigel Thrift, executive director of the program. “I continue to be amazed by these students and how Schwarzman Scholars is creating global citizens who will be well equipped to succeed and lead in whatever field they choose.”

An Interview with Roxanne Roman and Jacko Walz

The Gazette spoke to Roxanne and Jacko shortly after the announcement of 2018 Schwarzman Scholarship, see how they responded to the wonderful news:

What does the winning of this scholarship mean to you?

Jacko: For me, this scholarship represents an unmatchable opportunity to further my global education while surrounded by some of the most accomplished young individuals in the world. The Schwarzman Scholarship has been on my radar since Spring 2014, when Stephen Schwarzman held a Skype conference at NYU Shanghai. I immediately recognized the potential of the program and realized that it aligned very neatly with my goals. Since then, I have considered Schwarzman Scholars the optimal path for me following graduation.

Roxanne: Being named a Schwarzman Scholar tells me the future is invested in an inclusive, aware, and dynamic global community. I’ve been honored with an incredible opportunity to participate in innovatively changing the world for the better while learning and working alongside future leaders. It’s really meaningful to me to have my story involved in this endeavor.

How do you foresee this opportunity contributing to your personal development, future goals and broadening your perspectives on China?

Jacko: Living in China has provided me with countless opportunities for growth and learning. Most importantly, my time here has helped shape my perspective on China and the world, which has, in turn, helped me formulate my goals for the future. I hope to delve deeper into Chinese and international studies through the Schwarzman Scholarship in order to be able to explore some of the major challenges facing the international community in the coming years.

Roxanne: At 18, I had no idea how impactful the decision to move to China would be. At 22, I’m excited to engage with China from new perspectives in Beijing. One day, I hope to use my experiences to contribute to conversations of mutual benefit between the United States, the Philippines, and China.

Has your experience at NYU Shanghai equipped you with the qualities exemplified by the Schwarzman Scholarship, and how?

Jacko: As a member of the inaugural class at NYU Shanghai, I've been fortunate enough to have a blank canvas to work with, molding the school in any way we saw necessary. From the start, NYU Shanghai has strongly encouraged us to take influential positions and leadership roles at the university which have enabled us to truly impact the development of the school. Furthermore, NYU Shanghai has deeply emphasized developing an international and culturally cognizant perspective on the world. I believe these leadership and cultural experiences have given me the tools become a member of the "next generation of leaders," as the Schwarzman Scholarship insists.

Roxanne: NYU Shanghai taught me the power of initiative, courage, and perseverance in growing as a person, as a leader, and as a community member. NYU Shanghai propelled my personal growth and cultivated my potential by challenging me to build bridges over walls.

About Schwarzman Scholars:

Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $450 million endowment will support up to 200 Scholars annually from the U.S., China, and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in September 2016.