Carnegie Mellon University
June 08, 2021

Jacob Feldgoise Wins 2021 K&L Gates Prize

By Kirsten Heuring

Stacy Kish
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-9309

Recent graduate Jacob Feldgoise has been named the recipient of Carnegie Mellon University’s 2021 K&L Gates Prize.

The $5,000 K&L Gates Prize recognizes graduating seniors who have inspired their classmates through intellect, high scholarly achievement, character and student engagement. The prize is supported through the K&L Gates Endowment for Ethics and Computational Technologies,

“I feel very honored,” Feldgoise said. “I don’t seek recognition; that’s not the goal. But it still is nice to be recognized, and I appreciate the award.”

Feldgoise dual majored in policy and management and science, technology and public policy, minoring in Chinese studies.

Connie Angermeier, Feldgoise’s advisor for three years in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, said that Feldgoise was an excellent candidate for the award.

“He is consistent and thorough in a way that is very rare for an undergraduate,” Angermeier said. “I really feel that he has embodied what the K&L Gates Prize is trying to promote. There wasn’t a single aspect of what he has done that didn’t go above and beyond the eligibility requirements.”

One of Jacob’s most inspiring projects was his work to establish CMU Votes, a nonpartisan coalition of undergraduate groups that works to get undergraduate students interested in political issues. The group was founded during the fall 2020 semester and plans to continue into the future.

“Each of our organizations were working on helping students vote from slightly different perspectives, and CMU Votes essentially provided a space to come together and pool our resources,” Feldgoise said.

Feldgoise has also created original research while at CMU with the help of his mentor, Erica Fuchs, professor of engineering and public policy. Feldgoise’s research focuses on competition and cooperation between China and the United States. He found that Chinese undergraduate enrollment is decreasing in engineering while enrollment is increasing in the social sciences.

“I couldn’t imagine a more intriguing finding, no less one coincidentally more perfect for a double major in those two fields,” said Fuchs.

Jacob plans to continue this research in the future. He has been accepted for the James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he will spend a year researching Asian economic issues. The year-long program will start this fall.

After Feldgoise completes the Gaither Junior Fellowship, he wants to continue to study Asian economic issues, particularly between China and the United States. He wants to adjust conversations about China’s relationship with the United States to recognize areas where the two countries can collaborate instead of focusing on competition.

“It’s really hard to have these kinds of nuanced conversations, especially when you’re trying to make a political argument,” said Feldgoise.

However, Feldgoise hopes to have some government role where he can create research that results in tangible change. “I am passionate about this because I feel like it has such a potential to make an impact.”

Feldgoise’s professors and advisors believe he has a strong potential to make the impact he wants. “It has truly been an honor to have met and worked with Jacob — a young individual destined to lead change in the world when he leaves CMU,” said Fuchs.