Hunter proudly congratulates Omar Albert ’18 and Kelly Liang ’18, two of the star students in the College’s Chinese Flagship Program. This summer, as they prepared for the Flagship program’s capstone year of study in China, they were both awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships. With these scholarships, Albert and Liang won’t have to worry about the costs of their capstone year.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman provides high-achieving economically disadvantaged students with ample funding for study abroad. Its intent is to help promising young Americans gain a deeper understanding of foreign cultures, countries, languages and economies – an understanding that will prepare them for leadership roles in government or the private sector.
Queens-born Omar Albert is also in his final year of the SEEK and Thomas Hunter Honors programs and completing the requirements of two challenging majors: Chinese and economics. He’s taken full advantage of the Thomas Hunter program’s interdisciplinary approach, and because he’s been self-supporting since his parents died, has benefited greatly from the SEEK program’s tuition aid, special advising, and close, empathetic community of low-income students. Beyond excelling academically, he’s been very active in Hunter’s Undergraduate Student Government.
Albert previously won the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship, which financed his summer 2016 studies at Northeast Normal University in Changhun, China, and Hunter’s Leon Cooperman Scholarship, which recognized his outstanding leadership potential. After graduating, if all goes according to plan, this indefatigable scholar will pursue an accelerated master’s in global economics at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University.
Brooklyn-born Kelly Liang is the daughter of Chinese immigrants who arrived in New York without college degrees or proficiency in English. While helping her parents navigate life in the U.S., Liang excelled in school and chose Hunter for its proximity to home and high standing in the CUNY system.
Not long into her college studies, Liang discovered her fascination and aptitude for economics and decided to major in economics and Chinese. Like Albert, she became active in Undergraduate Student Government, and for two consecutive years, classmates elected her to leading USG posts: first, college associate, and then, junior senator. Meanwhile, working with a Vietnamese friend and looking beyond her own ethnicity, Liang saw an unmet need among Vietnamese students, co-founded Hunter’s Vietnamese Students Association, and served as its vice president.
A Leon Cooperman Scholarship recognized her leadership potential, and now the Gilman will cover her 2017-2018 year abroad – both her capstone studies at Nanjing University and a hoped-for marketing internship at a tech company in China. Then, she says, she’ll see where it all takes her. She does have an idea that with the Mandarin proficiency she’s gained as a Flagship student, the knowledge and experience she’ll gain in China, and the entrepreneurial bent she’s always had, she’ll start her own business – probably in the food industry.
Plus, there’s a good chance she’ll earn a master’s in economics along the way.