Class of 2024

Xinyu (Zach) Zong
Zeng Wang
Meng Chen
Yueheng (Joyce) Wang
Ruoyao (Lily) Xu
Yutan (Jeffrey) Zhang
Yutong (Tom) Zhang
Zhipu (Steven) Zhao

Xinyu (Zach) Zong

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor Global Scholar
Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar
The Affiliated High School of South China Normal University

I am a sophomore living at Morrissey Manor. I major in Philosophy and Mathematics, with a minor in Theology. 2021 has been a tough year for me, just as for other people, but the scholars' community was hugely supportive, and everyone on campus was kind and willing to help. I spent most of my free time working for a nonprofit based in NY for the past nine months, at the same time acting as Research Assistant under Professor Elizabeth Koll. I was by no sense active in club activities because the aforementioned two jobs took too much of my time. Nonetheless, the vigor of clubs is undoubtedly transmitted through the many friends I make here and touch me deeply. I feel completely involved, and the word "Notre Dame family" is by no means just on paper.

This semester and onwards, I will continue my internship and research project. The Harvard Library will collect my work with Professor Koll once we finish it. I am working towards either getting an internship or starting new research with the Kellogg Institue of Notre Dame this summer.

Zeng Wang

Zeng Wang Cropped 2

Scott Scholar
Chongqing BI Academy

I am a sophomore studying Business Analytics and Economics with a minor in sustainability. I am interested in environmental protection and social enterprise. Since high school, I have started exploring the possibilities of generating social impact from social enterprises. I founded the Social Entrepreneurship Club, through which many student programs are incubated. For instance, my program, which aims to address the waste of packaging materials, has won a global silver prize in China called “ China Thinks Big.” As the student union president, I was responsible for coordinating extra-curricular activities such as managing clubs and the campus cafe. I also applied my knowledge and passion to sociological research and studies, such as exploring the multicultural integration in Chongqing due to immigration and the effective outcomes of social media uses at work.

I finally made it to the ND campus this past fall and was excited to meet my classmates and professors. I participate in SIBC club activities and traveled to the Credit Suisse Chicago office for a presentation. In addition, I joined the GreenND club to improve the sustainability on campus and will become the head of the division of event planning in the spring. As the President of the ND Chinese Student Association, I am planning and organizing the annual Spring Gala event.

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 towards my future studies and career path.

Meng Chen

Meng Chen Cropped

Stamps Scholar
Nanjing Foreign Language School

I am a sophomore studying Computer Science and thinking of minoring in philosophy or studio art. I live in Siegfried Hall.

Last summer, I interned at Xiaomi Technology and researched the SLAM algorithm and its application in autonomous driving. Over the past semester, I experienced have actively participated in the Data Science Club and CS4Good, applying technology to serve the South Bend community. I have also started to learn to curl and hope to participate in a bonspiel this semester. Besides, I am researching human-computer interaction under the instruction of a CS professor.

I look forward to the Jerusalem Theology program this summer and hope to learn more about Christianity and Judaism with Professor Michael Novick. After that, I will probably continue working on my HCI research. I am grateful for the various opportunities and high-quality resources offered by ND and hope to make breakthroughs in research this year.

Yueheng (Joyce) Wang

Chengdu Foreign Languages School

I am a sophomore majoring in Sociology and Global Affairs with a Global Asia concentration.

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 in my freshman year instead of on campus. During this time, I participated in some online activities offered by Notre Dame and joined a club. I also got involved in a research program outside the school about health human capital.

Currently, I have two research assistant jobs, one in Sociology and one in East Asian studies. I luckily have these opportunities to work with professors at Notre Dame to have a better sense of the social science research process, which I find valuable for my personal interests and graduate school preparation. I also began to learn Japanese, and I continued my interest in piano, which enriched my spare time.

Ruoyao (Lily) Xu

Ruoyao Xu Cropped

Nanjing Foreign Language School

I am a sophomore living at Howard Hall, and I 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. For example, a few of my friends and I participated in the ND data science competition to do sentiment analysis on Fang Fang's diary in the past semester. In addition, I actively participated in various clubs, such as SIBC, CS for Good, and SWE. Besides studying, I participated in photography activities at TBC.

I finally arrived on campus in my last semester and engaged in various activities. I was chosen to lead a consulting project in SIBC and enjoyed the atmosphere of team collaboration by solving case projects together. Also, I led a project in Unleash Social Ventures, where I researched the post-COVID gig and informal industry. Besides these academic projects, I am the communication committee chair at the GCS program and responsible for preparing the weekly GCS Connect newsletter. 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, and I hope to explore more possibilities in my future studies and keep an optimistic attitude to work hard.

Yutan (Jeffrey) Zhang

Yutan Zhang Cropped

High School Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai

I am a sophomore majoring in mathematics with a concentration in Engineering Science and a minor in Computational Engineering.

In Fall 2020, due to COVID-19 and related issues, we were arranged to study at The Beijing Center at UIBE. I tried to keep connected with the Notre Dame campus. I was a member of the Notre Dame Rocketry Team (NDRT) Vehicle’s Squad. I collaborated with the team remotely with the nose cone and aerodynamic fin trade studies and Preliminary Design Report.

In Summer 2021, I interned at Xiaomi Technology and researched Waymo’s autonomous driving technology on a systems scale, understanding how different systems interact. I also interned as an Assistant Project Coordinator under the Administrative Office of the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition (SISIVC) hosted by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

Now that I am on campus this year, I was able to join more groups. I continued my interest in aerospace engineering. I am a member of Rocketry Team Systems and Safety Squads, ND IrishSat Business Team and Scientific Research group, and Business and Aero Team of ND Formula Hybrid Racing. These experiences not only reinforce my technical understanding of scientific and engineering systems but also allow me to effectively and strategically communicate with people. I also continued my passion for classical music at Notre Dame. I am a saxophonist in the Symphonic Winds and perform a few concerts each semester. I am also taking flute lessons and am planning to audition for orchestra next year.

This spring, I am offered a grader position for a proof-based math course with Prof. O’Dorney. I plan to work with him and Prof. Powers closely and potentially find an area of research interest in mathematics that could be related to engineering. I look forward to the collaboration.

Yutong (Tom) Zhang

Yutong Zhang Cropped

Beijing No.4 High School

I am a sophomore 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 through 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 I would be willing and able to commit a hundred hours a week to. And simply contrasting it with the rest of my summer, which I spent most of the time reading, got me to rethink what I want to do for the rest of my life.

As I resumed the school year in America, I had in mind, among others, the goal to engage more deeply with the academic community here at Notre dame. I spent most of the 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 on medieval philosophy.

My secondary interest in law shares a big overlap with what I have been interested in philosophy, and I can definitely imagine them studied in conjunction. Hence, in the following semesters here at Notre Dame, my main goal is to prepare for law school and philosophy grad school. I hope to work on a thesis or research project that interests both areas.

Zhipu (Steven) Zhao

Steven Zhao Cropped

St. Joseph’s College, Hong Kong

I am a highlander living in Duncan Hall. I will be double majoring in honors math and computer science.

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 also joined the badminton club and won third place in the interhall competition. Academically, I was in the 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.

The summer of 2021 is the worst and the best summer of my life. I was planning on going to Canada to reunite with my parents. However, I got denied at the border and was stuck in the US for the next three months. From Santa Monica Beach in LA to Lincoln Memorial in DC, I went to thirteen States and sixteen cities and met ten friends who all went to Notre Dame in their hometown. I appreciate all the people that welcomed me and Notre Dame, the place that brought us together.

In my sophomore year, I started taking computer science courses and got interested in it, so I decided to add computer science as my major. Instead of getting only one degree, I have the chance to get two degrees, one from the college of science and the other from the college of engineering, if I meet all the requirements. Also, I joined the training for Putnam Competition and participated in it in December. As an Olympiad math enthusiast, I was happy to continue improving my problem-solving skills.

I am looking forward to joining more clubs, such as Computer Science for Good, and participating in the McCloskey Competition to solve real-world problems with creativity. I am also actively applying to software engineering and data analysis internships.