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Joyce (Xinyi) Wang

CMU Alumna Selected for Schwarzman Scholarship

Media Inquiries
Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing

Joyce (Xinyi) Wang, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University's BXA Intercollege Degree Programs(opens in new window), was selected in December 2023 as a recipient of the Schwarzman Scholarship(opens in new window). The prestigious award allows for a fully-funded year of study at Tsinghua University in Beijing for the pursuit of a master's degree. 

Originally from Beijing, Wang first came to the U.S. for high school, where she took an interest in both the humanities and computer science. She applied for undergraduate study at CMU and was accepted to pursue the latter, initially on track to receive a degree in electrical and computer engineering.

A year into her program, Wang still felt drawn to the humanities.

“It was very clear that something was missing,” Wang said. “I always wanted to understand, ‘Why are we writing this code? How are these softwares changing people's lives?’ I think I was looking for those answers in my interdisciplinary studies.”

She chose to pursue a Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA) degree as offered by the university's BXA Intercollege Degree Programs. Her academic work combined a variety of fields including computer science, experimental theater, media studies and art.

Studying both computer science and drama inspired her to help others with interdisciplinary interests thrive at CMU. She was named a Fifth Year Scholar(opens in new window) by the university, covering her tuition and providing her with a $7,000 stipend. As a result, Wang was able to begin the Interdisciplinary Initiative(opens in new window) (also known as Int-Init) student group, which created a supportive environment for CMU peers to discuss and develop ideas across boundaries. She also served as a research assistant at the Center for Human Rights Science(opens in new window).

Wang’s passion for crossing boundaries and supporting others extended into her professional work after CMU. While working on philanthropic projects in New York focused on the application of technology for public benefit, she decided to apply for the Schwarzman Scholarship.

“As a Chinese person, working on social problems in America was very exciting intellectually, but my mind would go back to my hometown a lot. I realized I would be a lot more interested if I could work on problems at home, right next to my family and the people I grew up with. The Schwarzman Scholarship presented a very good opportunity as a transition from the U.S. back to China.”

Wang credited her achievements in large part to the interdisciplinary work she did at CMU, and said she is indebted to many of the faculty members who facilitated it. “BXA directors like Carrie Hagan and M. Stephanie Murray were extremely important to me throughout my time at CMU,” Wang said. “They were my advisers, my personal advocates throughout my entire time there, from the moment I decided I was interested.” Wang also said professors Nica Ross(opens in new window)Lawrence Shea(opens in new window) and Golan Levin(opens in new window) inspired her professionally.

Her continued success is celebrated by the Carnegie Mellon community. She is only the third CMU alumna to have earned this distinction. The two previous Schwarzman Scholarship awardees from Carnegie Mellon were Chrystal Thomas(opens in new window) in 2016, and Hima Tammineedi(opens in new window) in 2020.

"Joyce thrived in endeavors that brought different modes of disciplinary thinking and practice together to achieve innovative ends," said Richelle Bernazzoli, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development(opens in new window). "Her impact has only grown in her post-grad life as she has spearheaded efforts to support pressing causes such as journalism and climate initiatives, with an eye toward strengthening U.S.-China ties. The Schwarzman Scholarship positions her to leverage her experiences as an emerging thought leader who can nurture collaboration between societies and sectors as we continue to confront global challenges."

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