NYU Shanghai Students Win Boren and Erasmus Mundus Scholarships

Apr 24 2020

NYU Shanghai students continue to have success in scholarship competitions this spring, with two more students winning grants to study in Europe and Taiwan. Song Yunqi (Emma) ’20 learned earlier this semester that she had been granted a full-tuition Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, while Jaime Cantwell ‘21 will be headed to Taipei on a Boren Scholarship to study Mandarin.

Sponsored by the European Union,the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship promotes cooperation among top higher education institutions in the world, and gives students from both EU and non-EU countries the opportunity to study multidisciplinary courses at a different school each semester. Beginning this fall, Song will be able to compose a program in Evolution Biology (MEME) from course offerings at universities in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the United States. 

“I’ve always been passionate about evolutionary biology,” Song said. “This research-oriented fellowship provides you with in-depth learning about this major. It’s also a program deeply embedded in a multicultural interdisciplinary field. And then coming from a community full of students from different backgrounds, I've always enjoyed the learning and living experience with students from all over the world. So the scholarship combines these two and really puts me in an environment that I think suits me the best.” 

Song said she took every opportunity during her college years to prepare for a career in scientific research. At NYU Shanghai, Song volunteered at a cancer research lab led by Assistant Professor of Biology, Jungseog Kang. As a study away student at NYU Abu Dhabi, she conducted her first individual research project on DNA replication.  

The chance to participate twice in Dean’s Service Scholars (DSS) program also helped strengthen Song’s desire to become a scientist. As a freshman, Song worked to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and fight misconceptions and stigmas about the disease in a village in Henan province. In her junior year, she joined a DSS trip to Yunnan province to learn about the conservation of snub-nosed monkeys, where she learned about the importance of strong communication between policymakers and scientists.  

“[Yunqi] has plunged into extensive scientific research while taking advantage that a liberal arts and global education has to offer,” said Director of Global Awards Anna Kendrick. “Yunqi’s success is an exciting reminder of how important global experience is today. Whether in biology or any other field, programs like NYU Shanghai and Erasmus Mundus are built on a belief in the importance of strengthening international collaborations to share knowledge and conduct groundbreaking research.”

A Boren Scholarship to Advance Chinese language skills 

Jaime Cantwell ‘21 , who is majoring in data science with a concentration in social science, will take a leave of absence next year to use her Boren Scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese in the International Chinese Language Program at National Taiwan University in Taipei.

Founded by the U.S. National Security Education Program, the Boren Awards promote cultural immersion and support American students who enroll in long-term intensive language programs outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In exchange, Boren winners must work for the U.S. federal government for a year after graduation.

A Seattle native, Cantwell started learning Chinese in 2015 and  is also minoring in linguistics and Chinese at NYU Shanghai, having completed some of the university’s most advanced Chinese language courses. Cantwell said the university’s Chinese program has not only raised her language skills, it has also enlarged her appreciation of Chinese culture and history. “The support of the Chinese language faculty has been such an important part of my education here thus far,” Cantwell said.

In her spare time, Cantwell has been participating in NYU Shanghai’s Chamber Ensemble as the violin concertmaster. She was recently invited to substitute in the first violin section with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra.

Cantwell said she hopes to pursue a career with the U.S. Department of State, or other government agencies where her language skills will be useful.

Cantwell was also awarded the Critical Language Scholarship, a U.S. Department of State cultural and educational exchange program, to study Indonesian language in Malang, Indonesia this summer. However, the program was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.​

Learn more about scholarship options from the NYU Shanghai’s Global Awards & Fellowships office.