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Miranda Li CC’17 receives Schwarzman Scholarship

Monday, December 7, 2020

Miranda Li CC’17, of New York City, has been named a member of the Class of 2022 Schwarzman Scholars. The prestigious scholarship, inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, is given to scholars who have demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities and their potential to bridge and understand cultural and political differences. This year’s 154 scholars were chosen from more than 3,600 applicants, and include students from 39 countries and 99 universities.

Miranda Li CC’17

Schwarzman Scholars pursue a one-year master’s degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing while also attending lectures, traveling and developing a better understanding of China through cultural immersion. In addition to a core curriculum, scholars focus on one of three academic disciplines: public policy, economics and business, or international studies.

“At Tsinghua, I’m planning to focus my studies on the intersection of economic development and environmental sustainability in China,” said Li. “I look forward to learning more about China, a country that I think will have a huge role to play both as a large emitter, and also as a potential leader and innovator in the space. I hope to work on projects that conserve the environment and improve lives and livelihoods, and bring what I learn to other parts of the world.”

“Miranda's interests in economic development and environmental sustainability were solidified through coursework and extracurricular activities that she pursued here at Columbia,” said Ariella Lang, associate dean of Academic Affairs and director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. “I'm thrilled to see her work supported further by a Schwarzman Scholarship.”

For Li, some of her excitement lies in the cultural aspects of living in China.

“One of the things I’m looking forward to most is the food,” said Li. “I have really fond memories of going to bustling morning markets in Harbin with my grandpa, and buying 烧饼 (shaobing) and 豆腐脑 (doufunao) for breakfast. We would eat it right away when we got home, before the food became cold, or sometimes — if we couldn’t wait— eat at the little table the merchant set up right next to his stall. I’m excited to make new memories around delicious food next year."

While at the College, Li was on the board of the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE), which grew exponentially during her tenure.

She also studied abroad for a year at Oxford, where she explored caves through the Oxford University Caving Club.

Li’s favorite courses at Columbia included her senior economics-philosophy seminar with Philip Kitcher, John Dewey Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, and Brendan O'Flaherty, professor of economics, in which she studied theories of inequality and justice. She hopes to apply what she learned on environmental justice topics in the future.

She was also a research assistant to Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor, with whom she studied the transition from an agricultural to a manufacturing economy in the American South during the 1920s, Great Depression, and WWII. This research in an economic transition is an area in which Li hopes to learn about during the Schwarzman and work on in the future.

Since graduation, Li has worked as a consultant for Boston Consulting Group, working in social impact and sustainability in the public and private sectors.

Students and alumni interested in learning more about the Schwarzman Scholarship application process can visit Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.