Class of 2021

Ruilin Sang
Connie Chen
Nicole Cheng
Yixian Fu
Yuxin Lin
Yifan Shi
Runzhi Song
Manning Wu
Zhian Yin
Natalie Ying
Zhefan Zhang
Weihan Zhu

Ruilin (Lynn) Sang

Ruilin Sang

Shanghai Foreign Language School
HS Chau Foundation Full Scholarship Recipient

I plan to major in English, but am also interested in political science, economics and education.

In high school, I was a student leader and board member in the Student Union and volunteered with the Special Olympics, through which I tutored in local special education schools and taught students about simple poetry and writing. Also, because of my passion for poetry, I established the first poetry club in my school; surrounded by poetic voices, we together learn to embrace the world in an uplifting way.

Here at Notre Dame, I can always find people who share my passions in art, literature and service, which allows me to continue my volunteer work. During the first semester, I was on the selection committee of “The Juggler”—a literature and art magazine on campus. I enjoyed reading the submitted poems and felt a kind of genuine excitement when I tried to understand the messages of the authors. I also joined the Notre Dame Chorale and performed in its concerts. In terms of service, I became a member of Circle K, Notre Dame's largest student-run service organization. Through my volunteering with Circle K, I have visited local nursery homes to play with special needs children. Additionally, as a member of the Special Friends organization, I have been paired up with a special needs girl of my age; I am so glad to have established a close bond with her since her cheerfulness has also made me feel enthusiastic about life. I am currently a member of the Student Union Board and CSSA committee. I look forward to planning more student activities next semester as I enjoy serving people around me.

Feeling extremely grateful for everything I have come across this semester, I’m especially thankful for all the support and opportunities I have received from Notre Dame. In the next few years, I will decide on my research and continue to make contributions to the school and the community.

Connie Chen

Connie Chen

Morrison Christian Academy, Taichung

I am currently a first-year student, hoping to double major in finance and psychology.

In high school, I was part of the Business Club and helped establish the first campus co-op clothing store. In addition, I also assisted in planning and managing our annual Gala Dinner for faculty and families, which raised $15k for school funds. In Student Council, I was part of a team that redefined the student government’s Constitution, co-founded the school’s first ever house system, and ran the school’s first ever dance. I was also the captain of both varsity soccer and swimming, and lead mission trips to Thailand and the Philippines.

This year at Notre Dame, as an associate on JIFFI, a microlending non-profit institution, I intend to be a service leader to the local South Bend community by helping to solve the issues of pay-day loans. As a serving member on FUEL, the Student Government branch for First-Years, I also hope to bring more unification and inclusion to Notre Dame, transforming each miniscule action to large impacts in the local community through executive policy change. As a travel team member on SIBC, I have worked with a team to apply consulting skills and financial knowledge in a healthcare case to present to business professionals.

Notre Dame is an insane place to be, with opportunities that I could have never imagined; I cannot be more blessed and privileged to say that I am Domer!

Nicole Cheng

Nicole Cheng

Taipei American School, Taipei

I am beginning my journey as a science-business major here at Notre Dame. I also intend on double-majoring in sociology.

In high school, I was captain of the varsity soccer and touch rugby teams, as well as a member of the softball and track teams all four years. I was president of the Operation Smile club and did fundraising for the Eponymous organization and Interact Club which fosters collaborative learning between younger and older students at my school. Additionally, I was a member of the French Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society.Since growing in my Christian faith is very important to me, I volunteered at my church's weekly children's bible program and lead a high-school youth group.

In the few months that I have been at Notre Dame as a freshman, I have been kept myself busy with club boxing, rugby, and co-recreational soccer. I am a NDIgnite student ambassador for prospective students, a commissioner-in-training for the Spirit Committee in Ryan Hall (Go Wildcats!), as well as an active member at ISI, a Christian fellowship group, where I help lead worship. As I settle in to this busy new environment, I am still looking for more opportunities to get involved with charitable and student-led organizations.

In the upcoming years, I look forward to utilizing all the resources I have been offered here– I hope to study abroad, and get involved with research and service projects. I can't wait to continue on my journey here. I am so grateful that God has lead me here, where I believe that I not only belong, but will also learn and grow in all aspects of my life!

Yixian Fu

Yixian Fu

Beijing No. 4 High School, Beijing

Over the past summer, I represented China in the 2017 International Brain Bee Neuroscience Competition in conjunction with the American Psychological Association Convention in Washington D.C. Throughout the strenuous process of learning neuroscience, brain anatomy, and patient diagnosis, I marveled at the wonder of the brain itself and realized the limitations of our current knowledge. I was able to become friends with the other 25 brilliant representatives from different countries and we inspired each other with our passions and curiosities. Through the symposiums I attended, I learned of brain pathology-related to social problems, and I could feel the urge to contribute to fighting brain disorders, when the "giants" of neuroscience shook my hands and said, “make a change in the world.”

At Notre Dame, I am double majoring in biological sciences and piano. I served in mass as a member of the Women Liturgical Choir. I love biology and music, because I love to understand people. I am also pursuing my interests in learning German and taking courses in International Relations.

Due to infection, I spent two weeks in the hospital at the beginning of college. During my stay, Notre Dame faculty, hall staff, and my fellow students gave me enormous emotional support. I feel extremely lucky to have found a group of friends that care and love each other. These people I love helped me pull through physical, academic, and emotional challenges. I am proud to call the Dome my home. I hope to further explore, understand myself, and contribute to this family.

Yuxin Lin

Affiliated High School of South China Normal University, Guangzhou

Due to my love of math, I plan to major in mathematics at Notre Dame.

During high school, I spent most of my time doing math problems and exploring the interesting facts in mathematics. During the summer holiday, before I came to Notre Dame, I participated in the Ross mathematics program at Ohio State University, where I was impressed by the beauty of number theory. Since then I am hoping that I can learn more about number theory at Notre Dame.

At Notre Dame I have lots of free time. Over the first semester I spent almost all of my time learning more about mathematics and participated in the Putnam competition. I hope that I can learn more about number theory and start work on my senior thesis.

Yifan (Ethan) Shi

Yifan Shi

Tianjin Foreign Language School

I am a first-year student intending to major in accountancy. In high school, I participated in public forum debate and became the leader of our school debate club. My interest in sports also led me to plan, hold, and referee several school wide sporting events. I also worked as a minister for student council.

It is my great honor to study at the University of Notre Dame. The University offers me a wide range of academic choices and clubs for a first-year student. There are several institutions to help first-year students get involved in campus life. This semester, I participated in Student International Business Council. I also refereed intramural soccer games on campus. All the classes I have taken so far are intellectually challenging. I hope to take advantage of study abroad opportunities, internship opportunities, and community services at Notre Dame. I am sure with the abundant resources Notre Dame provides us, I can better myself here.

Runzhi (Tom) Song

Runzhi Song

The Experimental High School Attaches to Beijing Normal University, Beijing

As a member of the Notre Dame class of 2021, I plan to major in business analytics and minor in entrepreneurship.

In high school, I established the first student company called IDEAS with a core team and several employees. The first project I set up was providing delivery services to students and teachers. We also cooperated with a bakery and an orphanage by selling cakes and bread to students and teachers and then donated all of the profit to the Agape Family Life House. I also organized a team to participate in the International Space Settlement Design Competition of NASA, in 2016. We won second place in Asia, and champion of the world, in the final.

At Notre Dame, the first thing I did was join SIBC (Student International Business Council). I went to Baird company in Milwaukee with the SIBC travel team and did a presentation about whether or not Nike should purchase Canada Goose. I also became a tutor at the Robinson Learning Center near campus, where I teach little children English and math, every Monday and Tuesday. I enjoy my time with those lovely kids.

For the future, I look forward to learning more about my interests and making more friends. I also dream of having a new student company here and plan to keep contributing to the society in which I live.

Manning Wu

Manning Wu

Shenzhen Middle School, Shenzhen

I am Manning Wu, a Flaherty Bear.  I plan to double major in finance and ACMS at ND.

In high school, I participated in the Pioneer Academic Program of Hamilton College, in which I studied graph theory and independently wrote an undergraduate-level research paper titled: Heuristic and Mathematical Programming-based Algorithm for the Guangdong Wind Farm Supply Network. I also went to the Research Science Initiative at Tsinghua University (RSI), using Bayesian Network on machine learning to write a research paper.

During the summer before college, I participated in the Rome GG Seminar, where I went on site visits, had lectures and seminar discussions on 17th-century English aristocrats in Rome, and studied the influence of the Grand Tour. I also participated in the Outward Bound Program in MN, enjoying the incredibly peaceful scenery and built a genuine little community within our group.

This semester at ND, I participated in SIBC’s finance project, traveling to Morningstar’s headquarters in Chicago and presented a proposal to its executives. I was lucky to have an internship at a startup company, Mentor Funding LLC, which provides graduate student refinancing programs. During the internship, I worked closely with the founders of the company on data analysis and modeling.

I am considering joining the debate team next semester and studying abroad in Japan in my junior year.

Zhian Yin

Zhian Yin

High School Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao University, Shanghai

My intended major is architecture, as Notre Dame offers one of the best classical architecture programs in the country. I am very looking forward to my five-year journey ahead.

In high school, I spent a year in Germany as an exchange student. There I attended Gymnasium Hankensbuettel in Lower Saxony, where I gained extensive knowledge about the German language and its culture. Coincidentally enough, the year of 2014 was also the year when the refugee crisis hit Europe the hardest. As large numbers of refugees stormed into mainland Europe, Germany became the ultimate destination for many. Cities all over Germany started to accommodate refugees to avoid overcrowding. The town of my school, Hankensbuettel was no exception. I joined a group of volunteers organized by my school, where we helped refugee children in the nearby area to adjust to their new lives in Germany. We also taught them basic German and played soccer with them.

Now at Notre Dame, I continue to search for opportunities to serve. Starting from the first semester of my freshmen year, I have worked as a volunteer tutor at the Robinson Learning Community Center, an institution established to help children from South Bend with their academic progress. Hopefully in the future, I can utilize more resources provided by the University, and engage in more domestic and international services.

Natalie Ying

Nathalie Ying

Diocesan Girls' School, Hong Kong

It is my honor to be part of the warm and welcoming Greater China Scholars community.

As a major in political science and economics, I hope to gain professional knowledge in these fields throughout my years at Notre Dame. My ambition is to become a diplomat or work at the United Nations, and I am certain that the Notre Dame education can help shorten the distance between dreams and reality.

Last summer, I interned at the Hong Kong Legislative Council. I was able to witness the daily operations of the legislative body and its members, i.e. the politicians. I worked in the office of an outspoken member and witnessed how she examined legislative proposals put forth by the government, monitored and questioned the government’s work, engaged in political lobbying and orchestrated political campaigns. It was also through this internship that I further confirmed my passion for politics.

In high school, I was involved in field hockey, choir, and the prefects’ board. I spent most of my time on activities instead of putting all my efforts into academic pursuits. Through my high school years, I realized it was important to maintain a life full of diversity. Notre Dame is exactly the place that offers students countless opportunities to explore their passions.

Outside of the classroom, I am involved in the Notre Dame Chorale and field hockey club. These are the places where I continue to enhance my passion in music and sports. I am also honored to be working as a research assistant to Professor Victoria Hui on her research project about wars in Chinese history. This research project surprisingly combines several fields of my interest: politics, Chinese history and literature. For social services, I volunteer twice a week at the Robinson Learning Centre “homework help” program where I tutor kids first grade through sixth grade. It is certainly a joyful moment to witness young smiles blossom. Even though learning is a big part of the Notre Dame education, there are other countless opportunities lying around campus, awaiting our discovery.

The Notre Dame education has inspired me to continue to chase my dreams and eventually give back to the community. One day, I hope to help others achieve their goals just as Notre is helping me achieve mine.

Zhefan Zhang

Zhefan Zhang

Wuhan Foreign Language School

My intended major is ACMS, and I plan to minor in politics, philosophy, and economics.

In high school, I was the vice president of the Model United Nations Association (MUN) of my high school. I was in charge of recruiting new members and public relationships with MUN clubs of other high schools. I selected MUN conferences for our association through interaction with the organizing committee and organized lectures of history and international relationships for club members. I also attended the Pioneer Academy program as a scholar. I studied graph theory with Professor Cockburn at Hamilton College and applied the Maxisum model to solve municipal waste routing-location problems in Hubei. I also interned at medical labs that experiment on epigenetic modulation as a mechanism for differential gene expression. This experience helped me learn a lot about scientific research and led me to think about my true academic interests.

As a student at Notre Dame, I am a member of the publicity department of CSSA. I engage in advertising CSSA events and help to edit and publish event articles. In addition to this, I am also a member of the Student International Business Council, and was selected as a member of the travel team. With my team members, I conducted a presentation for Notre Dame alumni at Deloitte's Chicago office.

In the future, I hope to engage more in community services. With my deep interests in economics and politics, I have applied to the ISSLP and Washington programs. I hope to have a chance to study abroad as a sophomore or junior and to know more about the U.S. public policies and legal system. I want to apply my analytical skills in mathematics in these areas.

Weihan Zhu

Weihan Zhu

Nanjing Foreign Language School, Nanjing

My intended major is applied computational mathematics and statistics.

In Nanjing Foreign Language School, I focused on environmental science. I did research on volatile organic compounds and its negative influence on air pollution. This is a topic that challenges most people’s common sense. Our team also worked out the function regarding the relationship between the different type of trees and its influence.

In the first semester at Notre Dame, I participated in a program called China Trek which aims to invite Notre Dame students to tour China. This is a great opportunity for foreign students and peers to learn more about China. I made the slides and developed the information session. We had more than thirty students show great interest and apply for this program.

This semester, I joined the SIBC (Student international Business Council) and successfully became one of the travel team members in Robert Baird’s merger and acquisition project. I learned a lot from this project and got to know more about the finance industry.

I hope in the summer after my freshman year, I am able to go to the summer seminar in Rome, where I will take one history course and one theology course there. I believe I will have a wonderful five-week experience there. I also want to participate more in community services.