Xinyu (Zach) Zong
Our Lady of Perpetual Succor Global Scholar
The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University
I’m a Senior living in Morrissey Hall, and I double major in philosophy and mathematics and minor in theology and the Glynn honors program. I am committed to exploring the world and, per my friend Fr. Anthony, a Dominican Fryer and Notre Dame alumni, “doing good in the world of evil.”
The past year, more so the past semester has been life-changing. I completed studying abroad in Jerusalem, which, unsurprisingly, got caught in the middle of the war. Thankfully God didn’t yet want me to die in the Holy Land and He worked through NDI to evacuate us out of Israel. Nonetheless, my perspective of geo-politik as well as what I should do with my life can never be the same. I made friends on both sides of the conflict. I saw one of my classmates was killed in action at the Lebanon border a few weeks into the war. I saw my professor sending all three of his sons to the frontline. I saw my friend’s brother buying the first flight to Israel to fight for his cause. I saw my best friend’s cousin fleeing from Gaza during the short interval between air raids. Seeing people die so arguably meaningful, or meaningless, for various causes inspired me to ask the question about my goal in life more frequently than ever: am I happy with finding a decently paying job, marrying someone and having two kids, and pivoting my life around them ever since? Such a “happy life” that I have diligently pursued posted itself as a question for the first time ever. I feel the need to go after higher education, soon after graduation if not immediately.
Ryan Chao-Wei Lin
Taipei American School
William Sexton Scholar
My name is Ryan Lin, and I am from Taipei, Taiwan. I am a William Sexton Scholar at Notre Dame, and I am pursuing a major in Economics and a minor in Design.
One of my strongest passions is storytelling through various artistic mediums -- my favorite being film. Filmmaking has the power to construct realities that can be used to critically examine human experiences.
On campus, I worked as a barista, which has been the source of my favorite conversations and interactions. There, I was exposed to realities outside of the Notre Dame bubble. I volunteer for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s “Homework Helpers” Program, tutoring bilingual kids in English reading and conversational skills. I spent the fall of 2022 in Chile, in a full cultural immersion program that enhanced my linguistic abilities and cultural awareness.
Chongqing BI Academy
I am a senior studying Business Analytics and Economics with a minor in sustainability. I am interested in the intersection of finance and social impact, echoing Mendoza’s mission of growing the good in business.
I finally made it to the ND campus in my sophomore year and was excited to meet my classmates and professors. I joined the SIBC club and traveled to the Credit Suisse Chicago office to give a presentation about the LBO project. In addition, I joined the GreenND club to improve sustainability on campus and became the head of the division of event planning in the spring. As the President of the ND Chinese Student Association, I planned and organized activities for Chinese students, including the annual Spring Gala event. In my junior summer, I interned at J.P. Morgan as an investment banking summer analyst and will return to the same group after graduation. Last semester, I also started to lead the Unleashed Social Ventures club as the co-president, and I am very excited to rebrand the club and boost project engagement during my senior year.
Now, as an upperclassman, I am always happy to be a mentor for underclassmen and give back to what I have learned from past mentors. Particularly, I am happy to help other international students to navigate their career paths in finance. In the future, I hope I can continue enjoying my time at Notre Dame and participating in more on-campus activities. I also expect to see more progress toward my future studies and career path.
Nanjing Foreign Language School
I am a senior student studying Computer Science and Philosophy with a concentration in Philosophy, Science, and Mathematics.
Notre Dame is a vibrant and supportive community that provides many opportunities in computer science and the interplay of technology and society. Over the past semesters, I led the Data Science Club, where I coordinated and led semester projects for club members. In my Freshman summer, I interned at Xiaomi Technology and researched the SLAM algorithm and its application in autonomous driving. In my Sophomore summer, I received a precision medicine fellowship from Berthiaume Institute and researched heart rate variability as a predictor for maternal fever in the Neural and Data Science lab in New York. In my Junior summer, I researched at the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego where I designed a novel Human-AI collaboration system for creative writing and brainstorming.
Notre Dame’s traditional strength in liberal arts teaches me how to be a force of good in society. I had a great study abroad experience in Jerusalem last summer in which I had many insightful conversations with religious leaders of Christianity and Judaism. In my spare time, I enjoy making art. One of my paintings was exhibited at the Duncan Student Center and 4 photography artworks were selected for The Juggler. As the president of the Notre Dame Philosophy Club, I would invite our great philosophy scholars to host fireside talks with students. I am grateful for the various opportunities and high-quality resources offered by ND and look forward to more progress in research.
Yueheng (Joyce) Wang
Chengdu Foreign Languages School
I am a senior majoring in Sociology and Global Affairs (Global Asia concentration) with a minor in Gender Studies. In high school, I founded an online platform that promotes the intangible cultural heritage of the high school. I also took a field trip to research Tibetan medicine, and the UNESCO Courier magazine officially recognized the short documentary I made about Tibetan medicine. I am a member of the Writer’s Association in my province and have fortunately published my own book.
I studied at The Beijing Center (TBC) in my freshman year instead of on campus. During that time, I joined research outside the school on health human capital. In my sophomore year and junior year, I worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Asia & Asian Studies at Notre Dame with a professor of Global Affairs. Thanks to such an opportunity, I have built my research skills and become more determined to pursue graduate studies.
I am also a member of the Alpha Phi chapter of Iota Iota Iota (Triota), the Gender Studies Honor Society at Notre Dame. Besides, I participated in a research project on the academic achievements of college students. I am currently working on my senior thesis project to prepare me better for further studies in social science. I am grateful for all the professors and friends I have met at Notre Dame. They have educated and supported me beyond academics.
Ruoyao (Lily) Xu
Nanjing Foreign Language School
I am a senior double major in Business Analytics and Applied Maths.
During the first semester of my freshman year, I was unable to study on campus in South Bend. Instead, I took classes at the Beijing Center (TBC). Nevertheless, the various activities at Notre Dame were basically realized on the online platform. Thanks to this, I also participated in many clubs and activities.
I finally arrived on campus in my sophomore year and engaged in various activities. I was chosen to lead several consulting and social impact projects in SIBC and enjoyed the atmosphere of team collaboration by solving case projects together. I am also a board member of Unleash Social Ventures and Scholars of Finance. As the president of the marketing club on campus, it’s great to make my own contribution to help students pursue an interest or career in marketing. Through engaging in these clubs and organizing different activities, I further developed my interest in Finance, which prepared me for the internship experience at the Bank of America in the summer of 2023, and will join BofA as a full-time analyst after graduation. As Chair of the GCS Communications Committee, I’m responsible for facilitating communications within the GCS community. Thanks to these great activities provided by ND, I developed my leadership, professional, and collaboration skills.
I am thankful for being a part of the ND community. I hope to explore more possibilities in my future studies and keep an optimistic attitude to work hard.
High School Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai
I am a senior majoring in mathematics with a minor in scientific computing and an interest in the philosophy of mathematics.
In Fall 2020, due to COVID-19 and related issues, we were arranged to study at The Beijing Center at UIBE. The next summer, I interned at Xiaomi Technology and researched Waymo’s autonomous driving technology on a systems scale. I also interned as an Assistant Project Coordinator under the Administrative Office of the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition hosted by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.
At Notre Dame, I devoted much time to mathematical research. I am working on the well-posedness of the initial value problem of the nonlinear Schrödinger equations on the line with data in rough Sobolev spaces with Prof. Himonas. I proved and verified several lemmas important to the problem. I have also worked on problems of mathematical finance, deriving and solving the Black-Scholes-Merton and Heston models for option pricing using techniques in partial differential equations and stochastic calculus.
Over the past two years, I have collaborated with four professors on designing and grading the course Mathematical Reasoning to enhance students’ understanding of mathematical rigor at their first exposure. I have also worked as a teaching assistant at Math Help Room for courses such as calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations.
I am also continuing my passion for classical music and art at Notre Dame. I have played first chair alto saxophone in Concert Band, and I am taking flute lessons and figure skating lessons. I am grateful for the opportunities that Notre Dame has to offer. I look forward to making progress and breakthroughs in research.
Yutong (Tom) Zhang
Beijing No.4 High School
I am a senior philosophy student living in Siegfried.
I find my first semester at TBC to be challenging yet rewarding. Taking advantage of the resources offered by Notre Dame, I furthered my interest in humanities and philosophical inquiries by participating in biweekly philosophy club meetings. I also expanded my comfort zone to the financial world by completing a PJT Restructuring project with the Student International Business Council (SIBC). At the same time, I proactively explored various potential career options this fall. Through interning at a law firm’s intellectual property team, I felt more confident than ever that I might pursue a career in law.
I spent the summer of 2021 interning for an investment bank. Through this experience, I have realized that banking is not a career to which I would be willing and able to commit a hundred hours a week. Simply contrasting it with the rest of my summer, which I spent most of the time reading, prompted me to reconsider what I want to do for the rest of my life.
As I resumed the school year, I had in mind, among others, a goal to engage more deeply with the academic community here at Notre Dame. I spent most of my time on philosophical works and related activities. I took up the leadership position of the Philosophy Club this year, and we organized several great discussion groups and guest lectures.
My secondary interest in law shares a big overlap with my passion for philosophy, and I can definitely imagine them studied in conjunction. Hence, in the remaining time at Notre Dame, my main goal is to prepare for law school and philosophy grad school. I hope to work on a thesis or a research project that intersects both areas.
Zhipu (Steven) Zhao
St. Joseph’s College, Hong Kong
I am a senior majoring in computer science.
The year 2020 was an unprecedented year, but I am grateful that I could come to Notre Dame in August. Despite the COVID pandemic, there was nothing that could stop me from developing a sense of belonging. I enjoyed chatting with other people around a fire pit and watching the football game against Clemson. I joined the badminton club and won the third place in the interhall competition. Academically, I was in Glynn’s Honors program and took the honors humanities seminar. Although reading one book in a week was quite painful, I was amazed by how much I have learned about morality and the meaning of life. During the winter, I joined the virtual global professional experience program, in which I interned at Xiaomi. During the second semester of my freshman year, I participated in the 2021 Notre Dame Data Fest and won the Best Insight Award with my team. It is a great opportunity for me, as a freshman, to gain insight into data analysis and explore future career paths.
In my sophomore year, I started taking computer science courses and decided to switch to computer science. I also joined the training for the Putnam Competition and participated in it in December. As an Olympiad math enthusiast, I was happy to continue improving my problem-solving skills.
Last year, I enrolled in Prof Brockman’s Innovation Projects course. This unique opportunity allowed me to collaborate closely with 1st Source Bank during the semester to gain working experience. I worked in a group of 5. We performed data analysis and presented our findings to the executives of the company. During the summer, I interned at a solar energy startup, where I was tasked to automate the hardware-in-a-loop testing with computer programs. This experience not only honed my technical skills but also deepened my understanding of the renewable energy industry.