University of Pittsburgh
December 3, 2018

Pitt Alumna Wins Schwarzman Scholarship to Study in China


Micaela Fox Corn


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PITTSBURGH—Sangya Gyawali (A&S ’16), a lead analyst at BNY Mellon, has been named a 2020 Schwarzman scholar. Inspired by the Rhodes scholarship, the prestigious international graduate fellowship supports up to 200 scholars annually pursuing master’s degrees at the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China’s leading science and technology university.

The full-ride award allows Schwarzman scholars to live in China for a year, earning a degree in global affairs with concentrations in public policy, international relations or economics and business.

Gyawali is the first Schwarzman scholar to come from the University of Pittsburgh.

“I’m still trying to process it all,” she said.

Born in Nepal, Gyawali moved to the U.S. at age nine. She earned a bachelor of arts in anthropology and economics from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences in 2016.

At Pitt, she started an organization to improve access to education and healthcare in rural Uganda through partnerships with nonprofits on the ground. To further understand issues of financial and social inequality, she studied abroad in South Africa as a rising senior and participated in fieldwork outside the classroom.

Since graduating, Gyawali has cofounded a social tech startup, BeamData, which aims to address social problems by improving data representation of minority and immigrant populations using innovative technology solutions. At BNY Mellon, she analyzes diverse datasets to assess performance, risk and valuation for clients. 

“Sangya’s upward trajectory has no limits, and it’s fueled by a global perspective that is central to the University of Pittsburgh experience,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “No matter where she goes — from the technology scene here in Pittsburgh to health clinics in rural Uganda to her next stop, one of the world’s largest economies — Sangya forges ahead and boldly innovates for the greater good. She is already making a powerful difference in this world, and I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes next.”

Gyawali plans to pursue a master’s in economics and business at Tsinghua University. While there, she hopes to continue her fieldwork and ultimately build an effective model for financial inclusion, potentially focusing on how people respond to alternative credit lending models.

“I am very interested in business systems that work effectively to solve real world problems. China is at the heart of a lot of the conversations going on around that today,” Gyawali said. 

About the scholarship

Endowed in 2016 by American financier Stephen A. Schwarzman, the program was created to help future leaders better understand China, its role in global trends and 21st century geopolitical stability. 

“For students today, China isn’t an elective course. It’s core curriculum,” Schwarzman said at the inaugural scholars’ commencement ceremony in 2017.

Curricula are developed in collaboration with academic leaders from Tsinghua, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Oxford, Duke, Princeton and other distinguished universities worldwide. Courses are taught by professors at Tsinghua as well as by guest lecturers and visiting faculty. World leaders like Condoleezza Rice, Nicolas Sarkozy and Tony Blair sit on the program’s advisory board.

While abroad, scholars learn Mandarin, engage in networking, mentorship and internship opportunities, travel the country, have culturally immersive experiences and build lasting relationships. 

The 2020 Schwarzman class, announced Dec. 3, includes 147 scholars selected from more than 2,800 applicants. This fourth cohort comprises students from 38 countries and 119 universities, with 40 percent originating from the United States, 20 percent from China and 40 percent from the rest of the world. They will enroll at Tsinghua University in August 2019.