December 4, 2017
DALLAS (SMU) — SMU senior Benjamin H. Chi was named a 2019 Schwarzman Scholar, one of 140 students selected globally to receive the honor. Schwarzman Scholars are selected based on their academic aptitude, intellectual ability, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, ability to anticipate and act on emerging trends and opportunities, exemplary character, and desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions.
A biochemistry, health and society major, Chi has conducted several research projects during his time at SMU. He conducted stem cell research to treat age-related macular degeneration, designed and conducted an independent research project on the healthcare literacy and access of at-risk Nong Zhuan Fei migrants, and studied cell lines’ growth rates to determine the link between genetics and chemotherapy resistance.
A native of Dallas, Chi is SMU’s first Schwarzman Scholar. The Schwarzman program provides a one-year master’s degree in global affairs from Tsinghua University in Beijing.
“It’s a validation of all the work I’ve put in so far and also the next best step for me professionally,” Chi says. “The Schwarzman scholarship talks a lot about leadership in the application and interview process, and I hope to build on that skillset. What I really want to take away also is an understanding of Chinese culture and to bolster my language skill. I want to understand how Chinese people view culture, America and policy.”
Chi is a President’s Scholar and a Richter fellow at SMU. He helped found SMU’s first undergraduate research journal and served as vice president of SMU’s East Asian Student Association. He assists his fellow students as an honors mentor in Kathy Crow Residential Commons and sits on the University’s Honors Advisory Council.
Chi also engaged in humanitarian projects, such as working with Union Gospel Mission to help homeless children access vaccines in order to attend school. He raised more than $2,000 for Love Without Borders, a nonprofit in China that provides orphans with food, shelter and clothing.
Chi says that Eric Bing, professor of global health at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has supported him on his path. “He’s been mentoring me since sophomore year when he was my principal investigator for public health research I did in China. He’s been with me every step of the way.”
A nationally ranked private university with seven degree-granting schools, SMU is a distinguished center for teaching and research located near the heart of Dallas. SMU's 11,000 students benefit from small classes, research opportunities, leadership development, international study and innovative programs. The University is strengthened by its partnership with the Dallas region, a global center of commerce and culture. SMU students, faculty and alumni are changing the world through their chosen fields, civic engagement and service to society.