Class of 2022

Nicole Lee
Hairong Deng
Lingxiao Gao
Rachel Wang
Tianyi Wang
Zhi'an Yin
Ziyu Zeng
Kai Zhang

Nicole Lee

Lee Nicole

German Swiss International School, Hong Kong
Our Lady of Perpetual Succor Global Scholar
Frank Reilly Scholar
Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar

I am a Greater China and Hesburgh Yusko Scholar majoring in Computer Science, with a minor in Collaborative Innovation (Design). Though originally from Malaysia, I now call Notre Dame my home and have also previously lived in Singapore, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong. My diverse and multicultural background has taught me the importance of communication and led to a passion for languages, and I speak five: English, German, French, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

Wildlife Conservation is a cause that is dear to my heart, and I spent eight weeks during the summer of 2019 volunteering at the Naankuse Wildlife Foundation, a wildlife conservation NGO in Namibia. Whilst there, I took care of rescue animals and assisted with Naankuse’s research on human-wildlife conflict mitigation, which aims to influence government policy. Upon my return, I decided to partake in the C-Prize competition, where our team placed within the top ten with Pawprint – a carnivore tracking app that helps researchers locate, in real-time, endangered animals.

I have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the wide variety of opportunities that Notre Dame has offered throughout the last four years. During my freshman year, I worked as a Basketball Official for RecSports and was a part of Notre Dame’s Army ROTC Fighting Irish Battalion during my sophomore year. As part of Army ROTC, I was involved with the Colour Guard, Running Club, Sorin Rifle Team, and ATLAS service club.

During my junior year, I was a Scholar Ambassador for the Notre Dame Scholars’ Program, where I mentored first-year merit scholars, hosted community events, and recruited for the Class of 2025. Additionally, I was also a Teaching Assistant for Fundamentals of Computing for two semesters, and I am now a Teaching Assistant for Systems Computing. I further engage with the Notre Dame community as a Tour Guide for ND Admissions, as a Student Athlete Tutor at the Academic Services for Student-Athletes department. I am also an International Admissions Assistant, where I help organize events and outreach programs for current and prospective international students.

I studied abroad during the Spring 2021 semester at Notre Dame’s Silicon Valley Semester Program. Whilst in California, I took classes and worked a part-time internship at Platform Venture Studio as a Design Intern.

During the summer of 2021, I joined BNP Paribas as a Global Markets Summer Intern in their London office. Upon graduation in May 2022, I look forward to joining McKinsey & Company as a Product Development & Procurement Fellow in their Chicago office.

Hairong Deng

Hairong Deng

Affiliated High School of Peking University, Beijing

I am a Philosophy major at Notre Dame. I am from Beijing and am currently taking a gap year.

At Notre Dame, I dived deep into the mind of great philosophers and explored connections between philosophy and different subjects and areas of life. By junior year I got interested in the phenomenology of space, which gave me many insights into our modern living environment. I took an architectural design program (Design Discovery) offered by Harvard GSD in summer 2021 in an attempt to concretize philosophical theories. During the gap year, I did thesis-related research on phenomenologists of space, with a focus on Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger.

Out of philosophy, Notre Dame’s spirit of service has moved me to participate in various service programs. In summer 2019, I taught at a summer camp for underprivileged students in Guizhou, China. In summer 2020, I interned at China Charities Aid Foundation for Children. I also had the chance to be a part of the ND CSC (Center for Social Concerns) service team to Appalachia regions.

During my gap year, I’ve been sojourning in different provinces of China and exploring several intentional communities. I am currently volunteering at a Center for Mindfulness in Dali, Yunnan.

Lingxiao Gao

Affiliated High School of Peking University, Beijing

At Notre Dame, I major in history and minor in German. It is my utmost interest to decipher the enchanting myths of diverse human civilizations. I am fascinated by how ancient people lived their lives, how different cultures interacted and synthesized into new flourishing styles, and how the human species strive to pursue happiness and truths.

In college, I aspire to further my interests in humanities and foster cross-cultural understanding. In my first year, I benefited greatly from the courses offered by the Glynn Family Honors Program. I joined the Kellogg International Scholars Program and gained new insights into international development. I did research with professor Liang Cai from the history department on Confucianism and the ancient Chinese legal system.

In my freshman summer, supported by the GCS summer enrichment award, I participated in the German Immersion Program to study German in Berlin for eight weeks, a transformative experience that provided me with not only language skills but also trans-cultural literacy. I work as a Chinese language tutor at the Center for Language and Cultures (CSLC) and serve as a board member at the Chinese Culture Society. I served as a table leader at 2019’s AAA First Year Retreat. I participated in the Study Away Locally program in my junior year and studied as an exchange student at PKU.

In the summer of 2021, I interned at CITIC Press as a podcast and volunteered at a Community Service Center in Shanghai, where I designed and lectured a history course for children of migrant workers. I received a Nanovic travel grant to travel to Germany in the winter of 2021 to pursue advanced language training and prepare for my senior thesis. I plan to apply to graduate programs in comparative literature.

Rachel Wang

Shanghai High School International Division, Shanghai

I am currently a senior and a proud Valkyrie of Johnson Family Hall. Though I am from Watertown, Massachusetts, I spent roughly half of my life, including high school, in Shanghai, China. I am majoring in Political Science and Economics, with a supplementary major in Japanese.

Over the past three years at Notre Dame, I have engaged in various activities and commitments in a variety of fields. Throughout my freshman year, I worked as a research assistant with Professor Katie Jarvis from the History department on her newest publication, focused on the concept of justice in the time of the French Revolution. In my freshman summer, I utilized my GCS funding to participate in an intensive language study abroad in Hakodate, Japan, improving my Japanese language skills and developing a closer relationship with Japanese culture. Choosing to take a semester off academics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I spent my sophomore summer and junior fall interning with a local nonprofit, Stepping Stones China, and a local law firm to discern my interests and give back to my community. Outside of academics, I serve as the current president and former vice president/secretary of the Notre Dame Japan Club, and I am also involved in dorm life as a resident assistant in Johnson Family Hall, along with being former co-vice president of Johnson Family Hall this year.

Currently, I am evaluating my plans for after graduation. While I am pursuing a government-funded Boren Scholarship, I am also open to and looking at other possible opportunities for next year.

Tianyi Wang

Wang Tianyi

Nanjing Foreign Language School, Nanjing

I am Tianyi Wang, a resident t in Dunne, majoring in physics and philosophy.

Besides academic pursuit, I am the co-VP of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) 2022-2023, connecting to visiting scholars and leading various gatherings in the department. I have also been an active member of the Notre Dame Rocketry Team (NDRT) for two years. We worked on modeling, building, testing, and eventually launching a rocket with a self-control system and UAV payloads at NASA’s student rocket launch competition. I really enjoy the chance to apply my knowledge to hands-on experience and have fun with peers.

I am now applying for physics PhD programs in the field of nuclear physics or condensed matter physics, seeking to further develop my interest in the intersection of nuclear matter structure and topological materials.


Zhi'an Yin

Zhian Yin

High School Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao University, Shanghai

As a senior architecture student, I am very much impressed by the dedication of the School of Architecture in creating a classical-oriented environment, especially in an over-individualized society as the one we are living in today.

In high school, I spent a year in Germany, attending a school in Lower Saxony, where I gained knowledge about German language and its culture. In the meantime, I developed a stark interest in Philosophy and Religion, both of which later resulted in my choice of this very University and my minor in Philosophy.

At the University, I continue to search for opportunities to serve. Starting from the first semester of my freshmen year, I worked as a volunteer tutor at the Robinson Community Center, an institution established to help children from South Bend with their academic progress. During the summer of 2018, I participated in Notre Dame’s summer service learning program in Guizhou.

In the second half year of 2019, I studied classical architecture in Rome, Italy, an amazing opportunity offered by the School of Architecture at Notre Dame. Unfortunately the Rome year was interrupted by the start of a pandemic later known as COVID-19 in early 2020. As a result, I returned to the US and later back to China for my fourth year study. Thanks to the unbelievable support I received from my classmates and professors during that turbulent period, it was possible for me to seek architecture education at Nanjing University for one semester, a partner University of Notre Dame in China. Alas, the vicissitudes of life!

Ziyu Zeng

Zeng Ziyu

Affiliated High School of South China Normal University, Guangzhou

I am a former Flaherty bear, from Guangzhou, China. I double major in biological sciences and applied computational mathematics and statistics (supplementary major), but I am also interested in Japanese.

I am extremely honored to be a member of the Notre Dame community. During my exploration in the first year, I identified my interest in computational biology. In summer 2019, I joined Dr. Mary Ann McDowell’s lab, where I investigated sandfly gene markers related to age to develop a quick and convenient way for sand fly surveillance. During the year and a half working in the lab, I successfully identified a set of potential genes by cross-referencing similar research about fruit flies and mosquitos. In addition, I have designed primers, tested their usability and stability, and used lab-raised sand fly colonies to perform qRT-PCR in order to quantify the expression levels of the candidate genes. Outside of class, I am a Chinese tutor at CSLC, a biology/calculus tutor at LRC, a grader for the ACMS department, a summer assistant hospitality manager at Lewis Hall, an event assistant at SAO, and a member of various societies and student organizations.

During the winter break in 2020, I participated in a virtual Global Professional Experience program held by ND international, working with the Good Food Fund--a non-profit organization in China. We discussed and proposed an action plan for engaging Chinese and global youth into learning, understanding, and sharing ideas on the issues of the food system, preparing for a game-changing solution to be presented at the 2021 UN Food Summit.

In spring 2021, I joined Dr. Xin Lu’s lab, researching cancer-associated immune cells and their functions. I am primarily involved in developing an in vitro model of a type tumor-associated neutrophils and characterizing its properties. In addition, I am assisting Dr. Yun Zhao in his research in various ways.

I intend to go to graduate school after graduation and pursue a career in scientific research in the future.

Kai Zhang

Zhang Kai

Qingdao No. 2 High School, Qingdao

I am a knight from Keenan Hall. My major is computer science, with mathematics as a supplement.

During my freshman year, I joined the CS for Good team, building a medicine and supply inventory system for the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center in Guatemala.

Since spring 2019, I have researched with Prof. Kevin Bowyer and Dr. Vitor Albiero. We focus on the gender prediction accuracy difference across demographics and published several papers on it.

In the summer after my freshman year, I worked as a research assistant in the Notre Dame CVRL, analyzing gender inequality in face recognition accuracy.

In my sophomore year, we presented a method to curate training datasets for accuracy testing. We provided multiple cleaned face datasets to the academic community using this method.

In my junior year, I worked on GAN to generate faces with specific psychological traits and another related semitic face editing. I also interned at the Robots Perceiving and Doing Lab at CMU in the summer after my junior year.

I established the Notre Dame badminton club with friends and will join Google after graduation.