This magazine was founded with the belief that there is incredible room for exchange of ideas and knowledge between the future leaders of America and China. In this inaugural 25 Under 25 feature, we aim to highlight students and young working professionals who have worked to further mutual understanding between these two countries. As they continue building bridges between the two countries – whether in government, business or the social sector – we hope their stories will inspire others from our generation to do the same.
These 25 young leaders hail from different corners of the world, from Beijing to Boston, from Voghera to Tokyo. They represent 16 institutions of higher learning – one is a sophomore at Stanford. They are researchers and social entrepreneurs, they are Rhodes Scholars. One is a beauty queen from Singapore. In the male-dominated world of foreign policy, 17 on the list are female. We believe they are rising stars to watch in US-China relations.
In summer 2013, China Hands began soliciting nominations for its inaugural list of 25 rising stars at the intersection of US-Chinese relations, regardless of field of endeavor. We received more than 70 nominations which were initially screened by the magazine’s editors. Forty were then forwarded to four judges: Yale professor Deborah Davis, Forbes Beijing bureau chief Simon Montlake, Jonathan Akeley, Asia-Pacific program officer at the Institute of International Education, and Chris Clarke, retired chief of China intelligence for the State Department. The finalists were then evaluated on the basis of their academic achievement, extracurricular or professional involvement, and leadership potential.Clarke writes that this year’s honorees are a “very impressive lot. Thinking back on the qualifications of most people of my generation who were entering the China field, I am envious of the opportunities available today and highly impressed by the deep and varied experiences, talents, drive, and leaderships of today’s young budding China specialists. With such an outstanding crop of young people interested in US-China affairs – and with many more who did not come to the attention of the selection committee – it seems to me the future of US-China relations will be in good hands.”Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga
London School of Economics and Peking ‘13
George Washington University ‘11 | Woodinville, Washington
Beauchamp-Mustafaga has conducted significant research on China-North Korea relations for two major European think-tanks in London and Beijing. He has studied China and Chinese for 12 years, lived in five Chinese cities for a total of three years, and attended seven Chinese universities on three US Department of State scholarships. He writes for China Hands on the defining moment in his journey as a rising China specialist.
Cambridge ‘16 as Gates Scholar
University of Pennsylvania ‘10 | Tulsa, Oklahoma
As a recipient of the Harvard Presidential Public Service Fellowship during her master’s degree, Boettcher has worked in the China Focus Group at the US Pacific Command in Hawaii, conducting research into strategic security challenges in the Asia-Pacific. At the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US Department of State, she has completed research involving political-military affairs issues in Southeast and Northeast Asia, interning as a Cox Distinguished Scholar. Additionally, Boettcher was awarded a David L. Boren National Security Fellowship in 2012 to support one year of advanced Mandarin studies.
Duke ‘14 | Beijing, China
As the founder of the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit, Cai directed the premier US-China Relations conference in the American South and led the development of the conference since its foundation. Through Cai’s leadership, the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit has become a magnet for US-China policy makers, academics, and foreign relations professionals. Additionally, she is also the President of the Duke East Asia Nexus, an undergraduate organization and publication dedicated to developments in East Asia, where she published on both Chinese criminal law and the “Great Chinese firewall.” Cai has previously worked in Beijing at K&L Gates LLP as a summer intern.
Yale ‘10 | Boston, Massachusetts
While at Tsinghua University’s Inter-University Program, Carroll co-founded NorCap China Internships, a company that provides professional internship experiences for university students and graduates in Beijing. She was also elected vice-president of the Yale Club of Beijing where she promotes Yale’s mission in China, connects alumni in Beijing, and helps Yale students and graduates engage with the local community. Carroll is a recipient of the Richard U. Light Fellowship and studied at the Harvard-Beijing Academy.
Director of US Operations, Education in Sight
Yale ‘11 | Chengdu, China
A Fulbright Scholar, Chen conducted research on the post-quake community rebuilding efforts in China after graduating from Yale in 2011. In China, Chen became the founding director of Education in Sight, a non-profit that provides vision screenings and eyeglasses to low-income students in rural China. This year, Education in Sight provided 1,200 students with free eyeglasses and more than 8,000 students with free vision screenings. Over the next few years, Chen will be working with a Chinese NGO to expand sustainable ecological-farming models and to empower local farmers in villages throughout Southwest China, especially in the post-quake areas.
Research Intern at Freeman Chair in China Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies
University of Georgia ‘11 | Lilburn, Georgia
A research intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Drun focuses her research on US-Taiwan relations and security developments in the Pacific. Drun’s publication “Charting Course for 2014 Elections, Taiwanese Opposition Debates China Policy” was featured by The Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief. Prior to the CSIS, Drun worked with policymakers in Taiwan and the US on cross-strait relations. Additionally, Drun has worked for the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the Project 2049 Institute.
Harvard ‘15 | Dallas, Texas
As a Weissman International Intern last summer, Foote translated documents for a forum on Tibet co-hosted by China’s State Council and the Harvard Center in Shanghai. At Harvard’s Weatherhead Center, she has analyzed Chinese source materials to understand China’s recent military development, the results of which were featured in a report for the US Navy. She has led a number of community service initiatives in the US and China and is currently the co-director of the Chinatown After School Program.
Yale ‘15 | Tokyo, Japan
Funakoshi’s prolific writings on China have captured the attention of her fellow students and readers worldwide. In addition to writing for Yale’s international affairs magazine, The Globalist, she has contributed to Tea Leaf Nation, The Atlantic, and The New York Times China. Last summer, she served as an opinion intern with The Wall Street Journal Asia, reporting from Dongguan on the changing business environment for foreign firms.
Oxford ‘15 as Rhodes Scholar
Harvard ‘13 | Hamden, Connecticut
At Harvard, Gewirtz wrote his senior thesis on the role that Western economists played during the time of China’s market reforms and, at Oxford, he will be working to turn his thesis into a book manuscript. Gewirtz has worked at two of the hottest start-ups on either side of the Pacific. In 2011, he interned for Facebook, where he focused on global expansion. A year later, he reported directly to Alibaba’s General Counsel in Hong Kong, where he focused on privacy and data use policies. An accomplished writer, he has interned with Beijing’s Caijing magazine and written for The Huffington Post and The Atlantic’s online outlets. Read our full profile here.
University of Virginia ‘13 | Dallas, Texas
A Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia, Hawkins wrote her senior thesis on the senior housing industry in China, a version of which was featured in this issue. Currently at Tsinghua to top off her Mandarin, Hawkins has spent several summers in China, first as a teacher and then as an intern for the Conference Board and Deloitte. The former intern with McKinsey & Company hopes to bring her senior thesis to life by introducing high-quality, American-style nursing homes to China’s rapidly aging population.
Oxford ‘15 as Rhodes Scholar
Harvard ‘13 | Louisville, Kentucky
The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Hsiao focuses his research on development and human migration, with special emphasis on China’s urban-rural transformation. While at Harvard, he was the youngest editor-in-chief and only undergraduate on the editorial board of the Harvard Asia Quarterly. A polyglot with six languages to his credit, Hsiao plans to pursue an academic career, but has not ruled out the possibility of public service after finishing his research at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He has also participated in Strait Talk, a non-partisan program that seeks to improve the Taiwan Strait issue through dialogue at the individual level.
Yale ‘15 | Dallas, Texas
A winner of Yale’s Sunrise Foundation Travel Grant, Kline has toured China extensively, having visited over six provinces. With a passion in filmmaking, Kline interned at Village Roadshow Entertainment Group Asia last summer, where he assisted with the production of Chinese-language films in Beijing. This fall, he participated in the JP Morgan Fellows Program at Yale, where he worked on a four-person team to complete a research project on the US real estate market under the direction of Xu Niansha, chairman of China Poly Group.
Taiwan Program In-country Resident Director, International Education and Resource Network
University of Georgia ‘12 | Smyrna, Georgia
A recipient of the University of Georgia Foundation Fellowship, Krusac has furthered her Chinese studies at universities in Harbin, Kunming, and Nanjing. While in China, Logan also surveyed individual environmental awareness, studied household water conservation practices, and presented her research at the International Symposium on Water Resources and Environmental Protection in Xi’an. As a Carl Vinson fellow, Logan researched on solutions to China’s water shortage with Chinese government officials and hopes to explore ways for the US and China to resolve global environmental issues together.
Duke ‘13 | Singapore, Singapore
A Singaporean native, Leng has dedicated her undergraduate years to studying socioeconomic inequities in contemporary China and presented her research on Chinese tongzhi (gay) literature at conferences across the US. While teaching at the Dandelion Middle School for Migrant Children in Beijing, she researched on the city’s migrant policies and community, which she later co-taught at a seminar at Duke. As the co-president of the Harvard East Asian Society, Leng is organizing its annual conference for graduate students to share their research.
Yale ‘14 | Voghera, Italy
Malfitano has spent several summers studying and interning in China as a Richard U. Light Fellow and a Fung Scholar. The former summer analyst with Goldman Sachs has also researched on China’s Internet market with the executive vice-president of China Mobile and on pre‐1949 China’s macroeconomic developments with Prof. Aleh Tsyvinski at Yale. Currently the worldwide president of Global China Connections, Malfitano hopes to contribute to the future of US-EU-China relations.
Cornell ‘13 | Arlington, Virginia
Montague is interested in China’s law and social policy, and wrote his senior thesis on the country’s system of property rights and land administration. For his research, Montague worked at the Northwest Socioeconomic Development Research Center in Xi’an and at the Peking University Center for Urban Studies and Land Policy. He wrote a thesis studying how budgetary needs are causing city-level politicians to develop land in ways that are often at odds with national party goals. Having also researched environmental policies at the Brookings Institution and US Environmental Protection Agency, Montague hopes to bring the US and China together on climate and energy legislation.
Executive Assistant to Chairman, Calvert Fund
Stanford ‘12 | London, UK
As a co-founder of Phoenix Global Impact at Stanford, Nicholas brought US philanthropists and impact investors to China and helped organize the China Philanthropy Forum. Passionate about promoting philanthropy and social investing in China, she has consulted for Hero Group (China) and Business for Social Responsibility (Beijing) on community partnerships in the country. Nicholas wrote her senior thesis on civil society in China and will be co-teaching a class at Tsinghua on value creation through socially responsible investing.
Rachel Esplin Odell
Research Analyst, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Harvard ‘09 | Blackfoot, Idaho
Odell has spent much of her career since graduating from Harvard as a research analyst in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she helps coordinate several projects on US-China military relations. Her decision to devote her career to East Asia was inspired by a course on Chinese ethical and political theory taught by Prof. Michael Puett in her first semester of college; her thesis at Harvard on China’s participation in the WTO dispute settlement mechanism was advised by Alastair Iain Johnston. In the 2012 Republican presidential primary, Odell was a member of former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman’s campaign. Odell has published and contributed to several works on US-China issues and for China Hands, she writes on what she calls the “imbalanced US rebalance to Asia.”
Reporter/Producer at Forbes Asia
Harvard ‘13 | Beijing, China
As a research assistant at Harvard, Shao conducted research on Chinese specialized courts and environmental law, and also contributed to studies on the origins of the ancient Chinese state. In summer 2011, Shao interned at the New York Times China in Beijing, where she conducted news background research and interviews. Now at Forbes Asia, Shao is responsible for covering Chinese business news, US-Chinese investment, and the entrepreneurship of Chinese immigrants. Through her work in journalism, she hopes to expose decision-makers in China to innovative ideas in governance and leadership.
Cornell ‘11 | Toronto, Canada
Shao is motivated by the desire to close China’s educational inequity gap through technology. As the founder and CEO of Bridging Education and Mobility (BEAM), Shao is helping those with innovative educational projects for rural and migrant communities attract the resources they need to get off the ground. Shao has previously worked as a research assistant at Oxford’s Chinese NGO Behaviour Project and the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Beijing. Additionally, Shao has been a speaker at the WEMUN Expo (the largest model UN conference in Asia), Global China Connection, and the American Chamber of Commerce.
Stanford ‘16 | Shanghai, China
An art history and management science and engineering major at Stanford, Wang is the founder and editor-in-chief of Profiles in Converse, a bilingual publication that explores the arts and humanities through the lens of a series of interviews from both the US and China. At Stanford, Wang is also the vice-president of FACES (Forum for American-Chinese Exchange at Stanford), which has founded chapters at Peking and Fudan, among others. Currently, Wang is planning and launching a summer humanities academy for summer 2014, which would provide an intensive four-week mentorship and training program for future Chinese leaders.
University of Pennsylvania ‘14 | New York, New York
As a research assistant at Penn, Xie has analyzed the rise of security organizations in China through the collection and translation of data on the provincial heads of Chinese court and police, among others. At Penn, Xie is also the founder of the Penn Symposium on Contemporary China, the university’s premier regional academic conference on modern China, and of Seneca International. Xie hopes to pursue a master of philosophy in the UK before entering public service, working for the US government in East Asian economic diplomacy.
University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll ‘15 | Guangdong, China
A research fellow at the UNC Project-China, Yang participated in the operation of the Guangdong Provincial STI Control Center to study approaches to increase HIV testing uptake in South China, where he also helped organize the second UNC-South China STI’s Research Training Conference. In summer 2012, Min designed health and science classes in Kunming, China, as part of his work for the NGO Machik. At Duke, Min is the current deputy director of the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit, a three-day conference that aims to increase US-China collaboration and understanding.
Yale ’15 | San Francisco, California
Zhang is a double-major in environmental studies and East Asian studies who is currently spearheading the launch of “A Time To Grow,” an exchange program designed to connect American and Chinese college students on agricultural and environmental issues. She is also the president of Yale’s Leadership Institute. After graduation, Aily plans to realize her ambition of launching an open-source start-up that focuses on sharing agricultural best practices and pursuing a career in academia. Read our full profile here.
UC San Diego ‘17
Duke ‘11 | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
A PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego, Zhang has worked as a researcher at Eurasia group, where he analyzed the intersection between Chinese politics and markets for a range of institutional investors and multinational corporations. During his undergraduate year at Duke, Zhang served as editor-in-chief of the Duke East Asia Nexus journal and established the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit in its inaugural year. Additionally, Zhang is the co-author of a chapter on the interplay of war and trade for the Oxford Handbook of the Politics of International Trade.