Ziyi Wang of the Stanford Women's Golf program was awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and accepted over the weekend. The scholarship provides all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England and may allow funding in some instances for four years. She plans to begin studying at Oxford in October 2021, depending on the pandemic.
Wang is the 13th Stanford student-athlete to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and the first since Miles Unterreiner of Cross County/Track and Field in 2013.
Wang, who is from Beijing, learned of her Rhodes Scholarship through a Sunday early morning email from the National Secretary of Rhodes China. The email directed her to call to receive the news.
"Being a Rhodes Scholar is an incredible honor and privilege, as well as tremendously humbling," Wang said. "Above anything else, I am beyond grateful for the people around me that supported me through not only the past few months, but also my entire Stanford career. This was most certainly not possible without these people and their kindness over the past years."
Wang, who graduated from Stanford with a bachelor's degree in history in June 2020, is pursuing a master's in international policy and will graduate in June 2021. At Oxford, she plans to pursue DPhil in politics. She was awarded one of four Rhodes Scholarships through the China constituency.
Wang said she was prompted to pursue a Rhodes by the examples of Ash Carter, former visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute until becoming U.S. Secretary of Defense; Michael McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute and former U.S. ambassador to Russia; and Stanford alumna Susan Rice, former national security adviser and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"I am so proud of Ziyi's achievement," said Condoleezza Rice, the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution. "The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most highly regarded and competitive in the world. This honor recognizes Ziyi's hard work, dedication and extraordinary intellect. She is the epitome of a Stanford scholar athlete. Congratulations, Ziyi!"
At Stanford, Wang served as a research assistant on a COVID-19 team, led by H.R. McMaster, the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. The research was designed to capture non-partisan lessons from the U.S. response to COVID-19, focusing on coordination of government and private sector efforts in response to pandemics and other large-scale crises. Wang also pursued research on political communication in China with the rise of the internet under the mentorship of Condoleezza Rice.
"Stanford Athletics is extremely excited for Ziyi in earning this most prestigious scholarship," The Jaquish and Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir said. "This is certainly well deserved as she has been able to balance so well her rigorous academic schedule and ability to compete at a high level for our women's golf program. We wish her the very best as she pursues this wonderful opportunity at Oxford beginning next fall."
Wang, a member of the women's golf team, wrote in a September perspective piece about the pandemic, "My golf story started when the lockdown for SARS-CoV-1 in 2004, in Beijing, China, introduced the sport into my life. The pandemic that disrupted an entire society exempted golf as a permissible activity, thereby irrevocably reshaping the temporality and spatiality of my world."
"Ziyi has made the most of every opportunity afforded to her at Stanford," said Anne Walker, Stanford's Margot and Mitch Milias Director of Women's Golf. "She has invested in her relationships, learned many lessons through active listening, worked tirelessly in every area and maintained the most unassuming, delightful presence through it all. She is the shining star of 2020 and I couldn't be more proud and grateful for the opportunity to not only coach her, but also call her a friend."
Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the will of Cecil Rhodes. The criteria include, first, academic excellence. In addition, a Rhodes Scholar should have great ambition for impact, and an ability to work with others and to achieve one's goals. The Rhodes also recognizes a commitment to making a difference for good in the world, concern for the welfare of others and acute conscious of inequities.