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Weinberg Senior Named Yenching Academy Scholar

Diana Chang receives prestigious Chinese fellowship to study at Peking University

  • Chang to attend graduate school at China’s most prestigious university
  • Chang double majors in biological sciences and art theory and practice
  • Passion for art influenced by her artist grandparents

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The child of pharmacists from Taiwan and grandchild of Chinese artists, Northwestern University senior Diana Chang has always had passion for both science and art. 

That unique combination has landed Chang a full-year Yenching Academy fellowship to study at China's top university, Peking University. Chang, a double major in biological sciences and art theory and practice in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will join a select group of graduates from across the globe as part of the university’s Master of China Studies program. 

“People usually say something along the lines of, ‘Oh, right and left brained!’” Chang said. “I think they’re actually quite similar in that artists and scientists are both intensely curious about the human experience: one meta-physically, one physically. But it’s the same creativity answering their curiosities.”

The Yenching Academy is a fully funded two-year program that works to foster global connections and dialogue. The program offers a wide array of interdisciplinary humanities and social science courses on China and brings together promising young leaders and innovators to explore China and its role in the world -- past, present and future. 

Influenced by her grandfather, who practiced Chinese calligraphy, and her grandmother, a painter of the Chinese landscape tradition, Chang’s graduate studies will focus primarily on literature and culture.

“Beijing is considered the Mecca of Chinese contemporary art,” she said. 

At Northwestern, Chang studied the mammalian brain in neurophysiologist John Disterhoft’s lab at The Feinberg School of Medicine. She also volunteered as a peer advisor for Wildcat Welcome and was elected into Weinberg’s Phi Beta Kappa society for academic excellence.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned here is that everyone thinks differently, and there’s great value in that,” Chang said. “It’s easy to work alone, but I think truly effecting change comes from working together.” 

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