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Two alumni named Schwarzman Scholars

Alexander Li ’20 and Haotian (Roger) Cui ’19 were elected to join the sixth cohort of Schwarzman Scholars, a program that nurtures future global leaders.

This year’s class of 154 scholars represents 39 countries and 99 universities. They were selected from a pool of more than 3,600 applicants, based on their exemplary leadership qualities and their potential to understand and bridge cultural and political differences.

Alexander Li

In August 2021, the scholars will attend Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing for a one-year master’s program in global affairs.

Roger Cui

For Li, who grew up in Rockland County, New York, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, the Schwarzman program is an opportunity to pursue an interest in sustainability that he developed as an undergraduate working on pollution monitoring tools with Max Zhang, a professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, in the Energy and the Environment Research Lab.

That work’s mix of engineering, policy and economic challenges inspired Li to seek a career in sustainability.

In his junior year, he co-founded a nonprofit, GreenClub, that enables students to offset their carbon footprint. In May, GreenClub was named “Organization of the Year” at Cornell’s Golden Gorge Awards, an event hosted by the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO) and Cornell Environmental Collaborative (ECO)that recognizes student sustainability leadership.

Li also developed an interest in global engagement and traveling abroad by participating in the Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Teams (SMART) program, which provided him with an opportunity to work with a startup based in Nairobi, as well as travel to Kenya to research digital agriculture.

Since September, Li has worked with McKinsey & Company in San Francisco, focusing on technology and sustainability.

Li, who was named a Merrill Presidential Scholar in May, hopes to build bridges between China and the United States so both countries can lead a global effort in decarbonization and collaborate on cleantech solutions that address the climate crisis.

Cui earned his bachelor’s degree from the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business’ School of Hotel Administration.

At Cornell, he served as president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

He also co-founded the Chinese Overseas Student Conference and Providence Academy with friends from Cornell and Columbia University. The conference has organized five annual summits that attracted industry-leading professionals who shared their insights with overseas students.

Cui, who hails from China, returned to Beijing after graduating and worked with a real estate investment team at IDG Capital for eight months. Earlier this year, he launched an education company, QG Group, that works closely with the Chinese Overseas Student Conference to inspire the students to contribute their own knowledge and talent in China.

As a Scharzman Scholar, Cui hopes to participate in student government and provide a voice for his peers from different countries, together celebrating racial diversity during a time of social turbulence and COVID-19.

Media Contact

Gillian Smith