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Michigan State University alumna named first Schwarzman Scholar

East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State University alumna Angela Yuan is the institution’s first Schwarzman Scholar.  

The Schwarzman Scholars program selects students from around the world for a fully funded one-year master’s degree and leadership program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. This year over 4,200 candidates applied globally. Approximately 400 candidates were interviewed, producing a class of 150 Schwarzman Scholars. 

MSU alumna Angela Yuan smiles while sitting on a wooden bench

Yuan graduated from MSU in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She is currently the project manager and DEI lead at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators where she educates lawmakers on water and environmental justice policy solutions. Her experience includes work with the United States Forest Service and on the Flint Water Crisis lawsuits. Yuan has received a watershed planning award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and she volunteers her time with nonprofit and government boards/committees. 

Yuan seeks to expand her global network through the Schwarzman Scholars program, fostering cross-cultural collaboration to advance her mission of protecting environmental and public health for underserved international communities. 

 “I am honored to have been selected as a Schwarzman Scholar and deeply grateful for the opportunity to pursue a Master’s in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University,” Yuan said. “This program will fortify my leadership and global affairs expertise, empowering me to drive large-scale change in a dynamic geopolitical landscape and continue championing environmental protection for underserved communities.”

“I extend my heartfelt appreciation to my mentors, advisors at MSU, and colleagues for their guidance and support in this journey,” Yuan said. “I am eager to leverage this opportunity to learn from the diverse cohort of leaders and contribute meaningfully to our global community!” 

“I am thrilled to congratulate Angela Yuan on this honor,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “Angela is a highly engaged scholar who has compiled an impressive record of academic and service-oriented accomplishments, and I know she will bring the same focus to her master’s degree studies as a Schwarzman Scholar.” 

One of her mentors, Professor Mark Rey, said: “Angela was the top student in the 2021 Demmer Scholars Program in Washington, D.C., during the summer of 2021. She interned for the U.S. Forest Service Office of Legislative Affairs and was highly valued for her service.”

“I am pleased, but not surprised, that she is going to be a Schwarzman Scholar,” Rey said. “She is a natural leader, actively practices servant leadership, and was greatly admired by her peers in the Demmer Scholars Program. I predict great things from her in the future.”  

Another mentor, Professor Scott Winterstein, said: “Angela was heavily involved in the development and implementation of an extremely successful project to provide potable water for Mfangano Island, Kenya. The island’s inhabitants are dependent upon the heavily contaminated Lake Victoria for freshwater. Angela’s project has the potential to change the lives of the inhabitants of Mfangano Island. It was an ambitious project, but her skills and determination made it successful.”

“Over the years I have encountered many students who have thrilling ideas on how to make the world a better place,” Winterstein said. “Invariably, most of those ideas become just dreams. Angela turns her dreams into realities.” 

“Congratulations to Angela on becoming the university’s first Schwarzman Scholar,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the MSU Honors College and of the College of Arts & Letters. “This opportunity will further Angela’s commitment to underserved communities and environmental justice. Her record of scholarship and community engagement demonstrates the transformative power of an MSU education.”

Yuan said she originally learned about the Schwarzman Scholars program through the MSU Honors College website, and again through her work at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. Yuan is an alumna of the MSU Honors College, a community of high-achieving scholars dedicated to academic excellence, personal growth, and community engagement.

The Distinguished Student Awards Office (formerly National/International Fellowships and Scholarships), administered by the MSU Honors College, helps interested undergraduate and graduate students pursue major national and international awards by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application process.

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