Looking Back: Center in Beijing Hosted Unprecedented Number of Summer Interns in 2014

  • Public Policy Research Metcalf Interns try out a fun mode of transportation during a group excursion to Inner Mongolia. Photo by Tyler Ross

  • Interns and friends enjoy the Great Wall. Photo by Tyler Ross

  • Public Policy Research Interns pose during a site visit with Professor Dali Yang and Center in Beijing Deputy Director Ji Yuan. Photo courtesy of Tyler Ross

October 8, 2014

The summer of 2014 brought an unprecedented number of University of Chicago undergraduate interns to the Center in Beijing. Ten interns researched public policy and environmental governance at the Center. Two students also worked on biology research with top international professors, while the Center's first-ever affiliated contemporary arts intern worked on this year's installation in the Steve Sun Art Gallery at the Center. The summer interns also had the opportunity to join Summer Language Program students on a range of group excursions in Beijing and to the nearby historical city of Chengde.

Center in Beijing Faculty Director Dali Yang Leads Public Policy Research Metcalf Intern Team

Nine undergraduate students and one graduate student embarked on public policy research Metcalf Internships at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing. These students, whose internships were variously funded by the Center for East Asian Studies, the UChicago Center in Beijing, and the Metcalf Internship initiative in the College, undertook research projects on China’s public policy with a focus on environmental governance. The interns used a wide range of online and print sources for their research under Professor Dali Yang (Department of Political Science), the Faculty Director of the Center in Beijing. Group site visits to environmental organizations, companies, and government bodies were also integral to the students’ research. By the end of the summer, the interns had produced projects on a range of topics including waste incineration, air pollution in Hebei Province and surrounding regions, and the environmental impacts of the Chinese cement industry.

The students arrived in Beijing in June and early July; many chose to reside on or near the campus of Renmin University of China, near the Center in Beijing. The intern team was comprised of undergraduate students Bowen Bao, Pempen Chiang, Xiaodu Huang, Michael Jia, Kristin Lin, Tyler Ross, Yuting Shao, Geoffrey Wang, and Haonan Zhou, with graduate students Di Tang and Chenyu Qiu and research assistant Wenjun Liu also engaged in the project. Summer programming kicked off when the Public Policy interns, alongside the visiting Wanxiang Ambassador Fellows intern group, attended a June 26 speaker day at the Center in Beijing that featured Dali Yang and speakers from the Sinovel wind energy corporation, the China Greentech Initiative, and the National Resources Defense Council.

The first official site visit on July 10 brought the Public Policy interns to the Beijing office of the Energy Foundation, where they met with Deputy Chief Representative Ruiying Zhang. This site visit was followed on July 17 by a trip to Friends of Nature, a top Chinese environmental advocacy NGO. On July 31, the Public Policy interns sat in on a teleconference with the UChicago Center in Delhi, entitled “A Workshop and Policy Dialogue on Economic Growth and Environmental Protection Through Evidence-Based Policy.” The students visited the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs on August 7, where they met with program officer Matthew Collins. The students then went on to tour the Beijing Museum of Natural History for a behind-the-scenes visit with affiliated UChicago paleontologist Zhe-Xi Luo and his undergraduate intern, Mark Juhn. The Public Policy internship program was capped off with an August 9-15 visit to Ordos, Inner Mongolia, and Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, where the students visited energy companies, government offices, and natural landmarks.

Biosciences Interns Engage in Research at Top Chinese Labs

Two students in the College spent time working with professors and other scholars in two very different biosciences fields. Yida Cai worked in the Peking University laboratory of Professor Rao Yi, a neurobiologist and past dean of the PKU School of Life Sciences. Mark Juhn spent a month engaged in paleontology research at the Beijing Museum of Natural History with Professor Zhe-Xi Luo (UChicago Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy).

Metcalf Intern Delves into Beijing Contemporary Art Scene

One undergraduate student, Dana Cohen, interned with contemporary artist Laurens Tan during his summer residency in Beijing. Dana assisted with Tan's work and helped plan and install his current exhibition at the UChicago Center's art gallery, Empire Bookends: Basketcase.