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Dartmouth Students Receive Schwarzman Scholarships

Dec 09, 2019   |   by Bill Platt   |   Dartmouth News

A record three Dartmouth students—two alumni and one undergraduate—have been named 2021 Schwarzman Scholars. Delia Friel '20, Danny Li '19, and Colleen O'Connor '19 join 142 other top students from around the world who will receive a fully funded scholarship to study at the new Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

The 2021 cohort, the fifth Schwarzman class since the program welcomed its inaugural scholars in 2016, was selected from more than 4,700 applicants and includes students from 41 countries. Schwarzman Scholars pursue a master's degree in global affairs with a core curriculum focused on three pillars: China, global affairs, and leadership.

"Delia, Danny, and Colleen have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to public service and scholarship that will not only serve them well as Schwarzman Scholars, but will also represent Dartmouth well on the global stage," says Provost Joseph Helble.

Delia Friel '20

Delia Friel '20

Delia Friel '20 is majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in Spanish. As a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar, Friel worked as a research assistant studying the mechanics of morphogenesis in embryonic brain and heart development at Thayer School of Engineering and was a learning fellow for a scientific computing class at Thayer, serving as a teaching assistant. She served as a counselor for the U.S. State Department's Women in Science Program in Kosovo and was an intern for the Ways and Means committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was also a player on Dartmouth's national championship women's rugby team in 2018.

"I am absolutely overjoyed and honored to be a Schwarzman Scholar," Friel says. "I want to thank Dartmouth and my professors for their support and preparation over these past four years. This is an absolute dream come true, and I am excited to continue learning about the intersection of global affairs and science."

Friel says she looks forward to learning more about China and thinking about how the global community can work to pursue innovation and improve healthcare delivery.

Colleen O'Connor '19

Colleen O'Connor '19

Colleen O'Connor '19 describes herself as "a tri-lingual social entrepreneur passionate about creating social change through the private sector." She graduated as salutatorian and a class marshal. As an undergraduate O'Connor studied Chinese, economics, and human-centered design and was a leader of Women in Business and the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, part of the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth.

She has spent the past three years promoting entrepreneurship as a vehicle for female empowerment in South America and East Asia, which she started as a Stamps Scholar at Dartmouth. Professionally, O'Connor works in business strategy consulting at EY-Parthenon in Boston, and formerly worked with startups and nonprofits in Japan, China, Mexico, and Peru.

"My heart is absolutely bursting with gratitude—both for this amazing opportunity and for the family, friends, and professors who helped get me to this point," O'Connor says. "I am still in a little bit of shock that I get to return to China for a fourth time, but this time surrounded by a cohort of future leaders and supported by some of the preeminent forces in business, politics, and academia."

At Tsinghua University, she plans to take classes in international relations and public policy with the aim of becoming a more globally oriented leader. O'Connor says she is interested in exploring the contradictions of a country that has the highest number of self-made female billionaires yet have remnants of culturally enforced gender discrimination and male preference that still affect female entrepreneurs within the economy's informal sectors.

"As someone passionate about social entrepreneurship, I hope to use this opportunity to fully embrace the culture and better understand why some of these seemingly contradictory practices occur simultaneously in China," she says.

Since graduating from Dartmouth, O'Connor has also committed to attending Harvard Business School, where she has deferred enrollment until the fall of 2021, following the Schwarzman Scholars program.

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