by Bill Sweet
January 12, 2016

One Amherst College student and two recent alumni will spend a year studying in Beijing as part of a new, highly selective fellowship program.

Richard Altieri ’15, Servet Bayimli ’16 and Carlos Gonzalez Sierra ’14 are among 111 Schwarzman Scholars selected from more than 3,000 applicants. These students will begin classes in September 2016 at the newly constructed Stephen A. Schwarzman College on the campus of Tsinghua University—one of the most prestigious universities in China. The program is inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship and is designed to build strong links between future leaders of China and those from the rest of the world.

This first class of Schwarzman Scholars is composed of students from 32 countries and 71 universities, with 44 percent from the United States, 21 percent from China and 35 percent from the rest of the world.

“Having personally participated in the selection process, I can tell you that these unique individuals represent the very best the world has to offer,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of the Blackstone Group.

Scholars will pursue degrees in public policy, economics and business, and international studies, and spend a year immersed in an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. 

Amherst’s scholars

Carlos Gonzales Sierra '14

Carlos Gonzalez Sierra ’14,who majored in political science and interdisciplinary Latino studies at Amherst, is currently attending the University of Cambridge as the first Gates Cambridge Scholar from the Dominican Republic. His studies now focus on understanding the motives for transnational political participation and the root causes of inequality in Latin America.

At Schwarzman his goals will include “fostering interdisciplinary research and increasing cultural, political and economic ties between China and Latin America.”

In the long term, he aspires to reduce inequality in the Dominican Republic by increasing government accountability, enhancing existing social policies and strengthening ties with China.

 VIDEO: See how the first class of Stephen A. Schwarzman College was selected, and meet its scholars, including Carlos Gonzalez Sierra ’14. 

Richard Altieri '15 Richard Altieri ’15, a philosophy major at Amherst, is now a Thomas J. Watson Fellow conducting independent research on the relationship between comedy, satire, speech and culture. For this project he is interviewing comedians and industry executives; performing comedy; and studying management, administration and marketing of arts festivals worldwide. He is fluent in Chinese and Spanish.

His goal for Schwarzman is to help bring Chinese language, philosophy and art into more positive focus in American schools, and to explore how education policy can better promote language acquisition and cross-cultural understanding.

His long-term goals include employment with groups such as the U.S.-China Policy Foundation or the U.S. China Education Trust. He is interested in designing cross-cultural education policy. 

Servet Bayimli '16 Servet Bayimli ’16, a major in law, jurisprudence and social thought, intends to devote his career to strengthening child welfare practices around the world.

"The United States has consistently finalized more adoptions with China than with other foreign countries, so any aspiring child advocate must build a strong understanding of the social and cultural values that underlie familial structures in that society," he said.

He plans to pursue degrees in public policy and law, and later to work at Children’s Rights Inc., an organization that defends children in foster care or who have been victims of abuse or neglect in the United States. In the long term, he hopes to serve on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.