UNC-Chapel Hill student and alumnus among first cohort of Schwarzman Scholars

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UNC-Chapel Hill student and alumnus among first cohort of Schwarzman Scholars


(Chapel Hill, N.C.— Jan. 11, 2016) – Larry Han, a fourth-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Max Seunik, a 2015 Carolina alumnus, have been named recipients of the inaugural Schwarzman Scholars program award, an elite China-based scholarship modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship and founded by Blackstone Co-Founder and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman.


This innovative, new master’s degree program supports the study of public policy, economics and business, or international studies at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University and bridges the academic and professional worlds to educate students about leadership and China’s expanding role in the world.


Han and Seunik were selected from more than 3,000 applicants for the award, which provides unparalleled learning opportunities with leaders from China and the world through high-level interactions at lectures, an internship program, a mentorship network and intensive travel seminars. They are Carolina’s first Schwarzman Scholars, and were two of only 111 global recipients (44 percent from the U.S., 21 percent from China and 35 percent from the rest of the world) of the one-year award.


“This is a tremendous honor to have two Carolina students among the first cohort of Schwarzman Scholars,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Larry Han and Max Seunik are outstanding young men – gifted leaders and dedicated humanitarians who are deeply passionate about advancing global health and development. This opportunity for immersive study in China will propel them even further in their pursuits to improve lives around the world.”


Han, 21, is the son of Bajin Han and Xiaomin Li, and is from Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a 2012 graduate of Leesville Road High School and plans to graduate this May with a major in biostatistics from the Gillings School of Global Public Health and minors in chemistry and mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences.


Han is a Morehead-Cain Scholar, a Phi Beta Kappa member and an Honors Carolina student, who is completing a senior honors thesis on malaria vaccine efficacy. He is also a recipient of Carolina’s Phillips Ambassador Scholarship as well as the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Han’s contributions at Carolina include working with the UNC Great Decision Lecture Series and serving on the editorial board of the undergraduate medical journal “Corpore Sano.”


A nationally ranked teenage golfer, Han’s love of statistics sprang from his love for the links. When a wrist injury curtailed his ability to play at a higher level, he established a clinic to help golfers improve their game using a formula he devised to chart statistical data of their performance. Han’s work as a research analyst at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine led to an NIH grant that he used to design a “non-inferiority randomized controlled trial” to assess HIV testing in key populations.


Han hopes to use statistics to help people improve their health outcomes and has already made notable contributions in the treatment of HIV infection and malaria in China and Africa. He plans to pursue either the public policy track or the economics and business track in the Schwarzman Scholars program and aspires to a career where he can leverage research institutions and industries in the U.S. and China to drive innovative solutions to global problems.


Seunik, 23, is the son of Pierre Albert Seunik and Lézanne Montgomery Seunik, and is from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He is a 2010 graduate of Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School and graduated from Carolina in May 2015 with a major in health policy and management from the Gillings School of Global Public Health and a minor in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies from the College of Arts and Sciences.


Seunik was a Morehead-Cain Scholar and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa while at UNC-Chapel Hill. He also completed a senior honors thesis, which the World Health Organization’s Africa office now uses to guide its approach to health and human rights. At Carolina, he was chair of the Great Decisions Program and helped develop and implement the UNC Men’s Project—a 12-week experiential education course that brings together campus leaders to discuss healthy masculinity and design campaigns to change the terms of gender discussion.


His passion for social justice and human rights began in high school, when traveled to Tanzania to as a World Vision Youth ambassador to advocate for increased youth involvement in development. Seunik is also Global Advocacy Director of Canada’s premiere youth organization, Young Diplomats of Canada. His fieldwork in Rwanda with Rwandan Minister of Health Dr. Angnès Binagwaho, and in Mali with Intrahealth International has yielded three forthcoming co-authored articles, a textbook on global health and social justice and a report on the legal status of discrimination against women in Mali.


Seunik currently leads a research team for Innovations for Poverty Action, which is studying barriers to local public service delivery and working to improve government outcomes. He intends to pursue the public policy track in the Schwarzman Scholars program and aspires to more effectively bring together distinct policy actors to build concerted action on poverty alleviation for the most vulnerable.


“As Schwarzman Scholars, Larry will study how public policies in China affect its health system and Max will examine Chinese investment policy in Africa to enrich his understanding of developmental interventions and their effects on at-risk communities,” said Mary Floyd-Wilson, director of Carolina’s Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “Both extraordinarily brilliant and compassionate, Larry and Max have devoted there lives to improving health and fighting inequality on global scale, and it will be exciting to see how the Schwarzman Scholars program accelerates their work and enhances their reach and impact.”


The Schwarzman Scholars program is the first scholarship created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century by giving students the opportunity to develop leadership skills and professional networks through a one-year master’s degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The $450 million endowment supports up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China and around the world. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, surrounded by an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. In this environment of intellectual engagement, professional development and cultural exchange, they pursue their academic disciplines, travel, build their leadership capacities and develop a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in 2016. Learn more at www.schwarzmanscholars.org like them on Facebook www.facebook.com/SchwarzmanScholars and follow them on Twitter @SchwarzmanOrg.





Schwarzman Scholars program press release:



Photos of Han and Seunik:





About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 78 bachelor’s, 112 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.


Office of Distinguished Scholarships contacts: Mary Floyd-Wilson, (919) 962-4034, floydwil@email.unc.edu; and Alsace Gallop (919) 843-7757, gallop@email.unc.edu; Twitter @ODS_UNCCH

Communications and Public Affairs contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 962-7090, mc.vangraafeiland@unc.edu