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Duke Senior Named a Schwarzman Scholar for Graduate Study in China

Durham resident Sejal Mayer-Patel will study global affairs in China

Duke University senior Sejal Mayer-Patel has been named a Schwarzman Scholar, a program that funds one year of graduate study in Beijing. From an initial pool of more than 4,200 applicants, the second highest in the program’s history, Mayer-Patel is among 150 scholars chosen from around the world.

Schwarzman scholars develop leadership skills through a fully funded one-year master’s degree program in global affairs, designed to enable future leaders of the 21st century to engage with China. Scholars are selected based on leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, and a curiosity and interest in understanding other cultures.

Scholars study at Tsinghua University in Beijing and live in Schwarzman College. Over the course of their one-year scholarship, students will engage in developing a better understanding of China and its place in international affairs by attending lectures, traveling, immersing in the culture and exploring their academic topic.

Mayer-Patel, from Durham, is completing a public policy major and an Asian and Middle Eastern Studies minor. Her interests lie in the intersection of political theory and international refugee policy. Mayer-Patel is committed to finding permanent avenues to mitigate the global refugee crisis and has done in-depth fieldwork at advocacy organizations in Jordan, Malaysia and the United States.

As a Schwarzman Scholar, she hopes to deepen her understanding of China’s perspective and role in the refugee crisis.

“I am so grateful to receive the Schwarzman Scholarship, and I am excited to explore a new realm of global understanding with my cohort,” Mayer-Patel said. “I look forward to delving into a new angle of international affairs while broadening my perspective and expanding my ability to navigate the complex landscape of refugee policy.”

Mayer-Patel said she credits her success to her involvement with the Duke Identity and Diversity lab, the Association of Mixed People at Duke, and the guidance of her mentors, professors Sarah Gaither and Maha Houssami. “None of this would have been possible without the constant support from my communities, including my family, friends, professors, mentors and the Duke Identity and Diversity Lab,” she said.

Duke students and alumni can receive support for opportunities like the Schwarzman Scholarship from the Nationally Competitive Scholarships team at the Office of University Scholars and Fellows.