Isabella Lichen ’22 and Mika (Je Hoon) Lee ’20 have been selected as Schwarzman Scholars, two of 151 students from 33 countries who will study at Tsinghua University’s Schwarzman College in Beijing next year.
“Isabella and Mika represent the global thinking and solutions-oriented leadership that marks the best of what Dartmouth’s liberal arts experience tries to cultivate,” says Interim Provost David Kotz ’86. “I am delighted that the Schwarzman Scholars program has recognized their accomplishments.”
Founded by Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of the global investment firm Blackstone, the program seeks to prepare a new generation of international leaders “to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century,” according to the program’s website.
For information about applying for Schwarzman Scholarships and other programs, and to see a list of past recipients, visit the Office of Fellowship Advising.
Mika (Je Hoon) Lee ’20
Seoul, South Korea
Double major in economics and Asian societies, cultures, and languages
East Wheelock House
A self-described “aspiring global social entrepreneur,” Lee says he is “fascinated by the role technology can play in reducing social inequality.”
Lee, who graduates this spring after two years of military service in South Korea, was drawn to the Schwarzman program for its focus on public leadership and social innovation, as well as the chance to learn firsthand about rural development in China.
“I am beyond humbled by the opportunity,” he says. “The program will allow me to better understand global affairs and Chinese culture in the context of social and technological development.”
Lee is currently an intern with Amazon Web Services in Busan, South Korea, where he helps public sector organizations and startups create products that address social issues—such as an artificial intelligence-based greenhouse ventilation technology for small farmers who he says have been “left behind amid Korea’s rapid urbanization.”
“Everything that comes with this work—the creativity, intellectual rigor, teamwork, and social responsibility—is why I love what I am doing: building a world where innovation is the driving force behind social equality.”
Lee grew up understanding the challenges of representing a multicultural heritage in a predominantly monocultural society. “As someone who has lived half of his life abroad, and as a strong believer in diversity, I wanted to promote cultural exchange in my country and foster close relationships between monocultural and multicultural Koreans,” he says.
He brought this perspective to his service as a security forces squadron leader in the South Korean air force, where he founded a mentoring program to pair soldiers with local multicultural teenagers.
He calls his Dartmouth experience “a truly global education. I studied the Japanese economy in Tokyo as an exchange student, explored development in contemporary Vietnam with students in Vietnam, and learned to quantify the impact of social welfare programs around the world.”
Of receiving the Schwarzman, he says, “I am deeply grateful to my family, friends, and professors for their support throughout the process.”
Isabella Lichen ’22
Double major in Chinese language and culture and biology modified with chemistry; pre-med track
Isabella Lichen has been trying to visit China for a long time. Last year, her foreign study program in Beijing was canceled because of the pandemic. “I’m half-Chinese and a Chinese major and I’ve never been to Asia,” she says.
So she jumped at the opportunity to live and study in Beijing through the Schwarzman Scholarship.
“Going to China is like a culminating experience for me,” she says. “The program has strong emphasis on leadership, and I’ll be earning a master’s in global affairs. I hope to enhance my understanding of China and ultimately use the knowledge and skills that I gain to be a leader in global medicine.”
Lichen’s long-term goal is to help reduce health-care disparities in vulnerable populations.
“My freshman summer I worked in the emergency department in my home community, and I saw a lot of health disparities related to health literacy,” she says. “Something as simple as an insect bite, when not treated, could lead to a multi-thousand dollar visit to the emergency department. I want to find a way to serve patients who face barriers to receiving high-quality health care.”
She has served as a research assistant at the Mayo Clinic, publishing two articles in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, and as a research assistant at Carnegie Mellon University, where she collaborated with game designers to help improve health literacy in underserved communities.
Lichen is no stranger to overcoming challenges herself. In her first term at Dartmouth, she discovered she has a learning disability—an experience that has taught her to advocate for herself and made her “a better collaborator and more resourceful in finding ways to succeed.”
A competitive diver, Lichen is co-captain of the varsity women’s swimming and diving team and vice president of her sorority, Alpha Phi, which she calls “a community of empowering women. I have to thank them for all of the support that they’ve given me throughout this whole application process.” She is also a peer tutor with the Academic Skills Center.
Lichen calls receiving the Schwarzman “Humbling. It’s extremely gratifying to be recognized for all my hard work.”