Gilman Scholars Head to China

July 1, 2014

“Global engagement and informed contributions to society”—strategic aims of Harvey Mudd College—are being pursued by an increasing number of students who opt for academically rigorous and culturally enriching international experiences.

Rising sophomores Scott Chow ’17 and Jacob Nguyen ’17 are heading to China this summer with help from the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship award, which helps defray study abroad costs. The Gilman Scholarship Program, congressionally funded and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, aims to support students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad, including students with high financial need, students in underrepresented fields such as the sciences and engineering and students with diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Jacob Nguyen ’17

Chow and Nguyen are participating in the Chinese Studies Institute’s “E84 in China” program along with 12 other Harvey Mudd students. The program is centered around Electronic and Magnetic Circuits and Devices (E84), taught by Ruye Wang, Harvey Mudd professor of engineering. Participating students also take Introduction to Chinese Language and China in Transformation, the latter of which explores Chinese political history and the country’s rise to modernization.

In addition to the required engineering and humanities classes, both Nguyen and Chow plan to experience the many cultural offerings of Beijing.

“I want to explore the food, the historic locales, the unique markets,” says Nguyen. In addition, he says he’d like to learn to speak conversational Mandarin so he can speak with his mother and grandmother. He also looks forward to forging linguistic connections with international Chinese students attending The Claremont Colleges. Upon his return, Nguyen plans to serve as an Office of Study Abroad (OSA) Global Ambassador, encouraging participation in the OSA program. A requirement of the scholarship is that students conduct a “follow-on service project” that helps or inspires their peers.

Scott Chow ’17

Chow will write a blog while in China and will also act as a Global Ambassador upon his return, conveying his experiences to Harvey Mudd students through articles, blog posts and talks.

Director of the Study Abroad program Rhonda Chiles believes that international experiences will enrich a Harvey Mudd education. “Part of the College’s mission is to help students understand the impact of their work on society, and that includes the global society,” says Chiles. “Students who earn STEM degrees here can apply those skills and knowledge working anywhere—inside or outside the United States.”