MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) -- West Virginia University is celebrating their first Schwarzman Scholar.
The university announced Monday that Colin Lopez, of Lancaster Pennsylvania, has been chosen for the prestigious scholarship, which sends students to Tsinghua University in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion. After the year, students obtain a Master’s Degree.
The scholarship was created by Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder of the private equity firm The Blackstone Group. It was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, and has a goal of confronting the difficult challenges of the 21st century.
To obtain the scholarship, Lopez competed against over 4,000 students from around the globe, and was one of 142 students selected. The selection process involved evaluating the students’ leadership experience as well as their potential academic and intellectual ability.
Lopez is currently on a Fullbright Scholarship in Amman, Jordan and is working with the United Nations Refugee Agency to evaluate refugee healthcare access in the country.
“Working with the Food Justice Lab in the WVU Geography Department truly made the difference in preparing me for the Schwarzman program. It is where I first developed my research and policy analysis skills while researching food access in West Virginia. I applied these skills to my passion of increasing access to health care by working with WVHEALTHLINK, a project to map and gain insight into the various barriers that exist for health care in West Virginia,” Lopez said in a press release.
Lopez graduated with a degree in International Studies from the university’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. As an undergraduate student, he studied in Jordan and Morocco on the Boren and Critical Language scholarships and was a member of the WVU Honors College.
“This is quite an achievement for both Colin and the University. He embodies our 'Go First' mentality, and his involvement in this program is one more way West Virginia University displays to the world the quality of its students and its education. And while he may be the first, I am confident he will not be the last,” said university president Gordon Gee in the release.
”I look forward to learning more about global health from leaders in the field from around the world and I’m very excited to learn more about Chinese language and culture,” Lopez stated.
He will be a member of the third class of Schwarzman Scholars.