McDonnell Academy Scholar

Wu Mengfei receives prestigious American fellowship

Posted by January 25, 2012

Wu Mengfei, from Beijing, China, has been named a McDonnell International Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. Wu earned a bachelor's degree from Tsinghua University, which is one of 27 premier universities from around the world partnered with Washington University in the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

The McDonnell Academy provides an opportunity for talented international graduate and professional students to join the Washington University community.

"We are delighted to have Wu Mengfei join us in the Sam Fox School and in the McDonnell Academy at Washington University," says McDonnell International Scholars Academy Director James V. Wertsch, PhD, associate vice chancellor for international affairs and the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

"Around the world we need young architects who are not only professionally competent, but interested in being global leaders as well. Wu Mengfei promises to have a great future on both counts."

Wu, who earned a bachelor's degree in engineering in 2007 from Tsinghua University, is a dual degree student at Washington University, pursuing a Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

While at Tsinghua, where she was in the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction Management, Wu served as president of the Art Design Department of the Student Network Team and as vice president of Student Union's Public Relations Department.

She had internships in China's leading design agencies, including the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design in both the structure and architecture departments, the China Academy of Building Research, and the Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University.

She also worked on site as an assistant engineer in China's largest construction company, China State Construction Engineering Corp., where she became familiar with building technologies. To enhance her design ability, she worked as design director for an Internet company.

Wu plans to become an architect devoted to enhancing the world's built environment. She says that with an escalation of land prices in China, affordable housing is difficult to find. She hopes to solve conflicts of space and find solutions to social problems.

Among her extracurricular activities, Wu has volunteered since high school as a teacher at Ertongcun, a home for children whose parents are in prison. She also served as a volunteer teacher at a local high school in Aidong, Guangxi.

She was recognized for excellence in academic performance at Tsinghua for her volunteer work in Guangxi Province, and for numerous achievements in art, sports, and other extracurricular activities. She received both the Luo Jian Scholarship and the Zheng Geru Scholarship.

"Partnerships with programs such as the McDonnell International Scholars Academy are vital to the Sam Fox School, helping us to bring some of the brightest students from around the world to campus while allowing us to strengthen our global presence," says Carmon Colangelo, dean of the Sam Fox School and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts. "Wu Mengfei exemplifies the level of excellence and passion we seek in our students, and we look forward to supporting her individual growth and professional development during her graduate studies."

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy is a program for future global leaders to obtain PhD or master's degrees. Employing an unusual approach, it brings together top scholars from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America to pursue world-class education and research while forging a strong network with one another.

Key to this are partnerships Washington University has established with top universities and corporations around the world with an eye to increasing opportunities for joint research and global education.

The McDonnell Academy Scholars are expected to be future global leaders. As such, they are provided not only with a rigorous graduate education, but also with cultural and social activities designed to prepare them as leaders knowledgeable about the United States, other countries, and critical international issues.

Academy Ambassador

Once selected for this highly competitive program, each Academy Scholar is matched with a distinguished member of the Washington University faculty who serves as a mentor and also as an Academy "Ambassador" to the university partner from which the Scholar has graduated.

The Academy Ambassador assists the McDonnell Scholar in academic and professional life and travels annually with the Scholar to the partner university to build relationships between the two institutions.

Frank C.P. Yin, MD, PhD, the Stephen F. and Camilla Brauer Professor of Biomedical Engineering and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, is Zhu's faculty mentor-ambassador.

Yin was born in Kunming, China, came to the United States as a child, and subsequently earned a bachelor of science and a master of science in aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He then went to the University of California, San Diego, where he earned a doctor of medicine and a doctorate in bioengineering. Yin was a clinical associate at the National Institutes of Health and then joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine before joining the Washington University faculty in 1997.

His research focuses on biomechanics, cell mechanics, and cardiovascular physiology. He has published widely on these and related topics.

Yin has held several positions in professional organizations, including chair of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, board member of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, national advisory council member of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging Bioengineering, and president of the Biomedical Engineering Society.

The McDonnell Academy

The McDonnell Academy Scholars receive funding for full tuition and living expenses for the time it takes to get a degree at Washington University. The Academy also provides support for an annual trip back to the Scholar's alma mater. Many of the Scholars reside in two fully equipped and furnished apartment buildings near campus.

Funding is provided through a sustaining endowment gift from John F. McDonnell, vice chair of WUSTL's Board of Trustees and retired chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas Corp.

Additional support comes from 22 multinational corporations, foundations, and individual sponsors. Sponsoring corporations also offer internships and on-site educational opportunities for the Academy's Corporate Fellows.