Five globally focused Yale affiliates to study in China as Schwarzman Scholars

Trent Kannegieter ’21, Alexander Crich ’19, Harry Seavey ’19, Milan Vivanco ’21, Mikaela Rabb ’18
Clockwise from top left: Trent Kannegieter ’21, Alexander Crich ’19, Harry Seavey ’19, Milan Vivanco ’21, Mikaela Rabb ’18

Two Yale seniors and three alumni are among 154 students from around the world who will study in China beginning in 2021 as Schwarzman Scholars.

The five Yale affiliates — Trent Kannegieter ’21, Milan Vivanco ’21, Alexander Crich ’19, Mikaela Rabb ’18, and Harry Seavey ’19 — were chosen from more than 3,600 applicants for the graduate fellowships, which fund study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Schwarzman Scholars are selected through a rigorous application process for their leadership potential, academic ability, and strength of character, as well as their potential to bridge cultural and political differences.

While living in Beijing for a year, Schwarzman Scholars pursue a master’s degree in global affairs with a core curriculum focused on three pillars: leadership, China, and global affairs. Each year, the academic program is refined to align with current and future geopolitical priorities. The scholars are taught by leading international faculty, with frequent guest lectures from prominent global thought leaders. Beyond the classroom, scholars gain exposure to China and develop relationships with mentors, high-profile speakers, and noted faculty members, and through internships. Through their coursework, cultural immersion, and personal and professional development opportunities, the scholars develop a well-rounded understanding of China’s role in the world.

This is truly an inspirational and dynamic group of young people,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, the founding trustee of the Schwarzman Scholars program. “At a moment when the mission of Schwarzman Scholars is even more important than we could have predicted, I am confident these individuals will become people of consequence in their generation — leading intelligently, acting with integrity, and addressing the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century.”

The Schwarzman Scholar Class of 2022, which includes students from 39 countries and 99 universities, will enroll in August 2021. This is the first year that the class was selected entirely virtually after being interviewed before panels of CEOs, government officials, university presidents, journalists, and nonprofit executives, among others.

Profiles of the Yale-affiliated scholars follow.

Trent Kannegieter ’21 is studying history and human rights at Yale. His research interests revolve around constraining transnational forces like global industry and new technologies that undermine state sovereignty. His research on how multinational oil corporations’ residential camps shaped Venezuela’s education system and elite culture led him to create an oral histories database with interviews from oil camp alumni to promote future research. He is involved with the Yale’s Multinational Academic Program for Human Rights and the Brady-Johnson Program on Grand Strategy. In the future, Kannegieter hopes to help broker international compacts to address such threats as transnational technology. 

Milan Vivanco ’21 is majoring in ethics, politics and economics. On campus, he was president of the Yale Political Union, one of the oldest debate societies in America, and works as a research assistant for former Secretary of State John Kerry. Vivanco has cultivated his interest in geopolitics through internships with the World Bank, U.S. Congress, McLarty Associates, and The Economist Intelligence Unit, the research  division of The Economist Group. He is interested in learning about U.S.-China cooperation regarding climate change and economic development efforts.

Alexander Crich ’19 majored in biomedical engineering and engineering science (materials) at Yale. While an undergraduate, he co-founded Verivas Solutions, a medical device venture that is developing a patent-pending vein graft harvesting technology to make coronary bypass surgery more accessible and cost effective. He currently works in the neurovascular medical device industry on minimally invasive stroke and aneurysm therapies. He hopes to gain insight into the Chinese healthcare landscape with the long-term goal of being a global leader in delivering accessible healthcare solutions.

Mikaela Rabb ’18 studied global affairs and ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale, where she served as vice president of the Yale International Relations Association and was a first-year counselor. She is currently senior policy associate at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, where she supports policymakers to implement effective policies to promote gender equity. She has taught New Haven high school students to think critically about the world, and is dedicated to a career helping to empower marginalized communities.

Harry Seavey ’19 majored in global affairs at Yale, where he founded Y2Y, an organization dedicated to building one of the United States’ first student-run youth homeless shelters. He was also editor-in-chief of the Yale Review of International Studies and advised the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, a combatant command of the U.S. Armed Services, on countering violent extremism in Southeast Asia. He spent last year in Berlin as a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholar and interned for a pan-European political party. He plans to pursue a career in international development.

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Bess Connolly : elizabeth.connolly@yale.edu,