Stanford students Kyle Becerra, Athena Chang, and Ali Malik are among the talented scholars to join the Schwarzman Scholars Class of 2024-2025.

Now in its ninth year, the Schwarzman Scholars program is a one-year, fully funded graduate fellowship. Scholars pursue a master’s degree in global affairs at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, where they also develop leadership skills.

The newest cohort of Schwarzman Scholars includes 150 students, representing 43 countries, and 114 universities from around the world. They were selected from a pool of over 4,000 candidates.

Following are the newest Schwarzman Scholars from Stanford.


Juan Carlos “Kyle” Becerra Jr. is from California’s San Fernando Valley. He is an undergraduate who transferred to Stanford from his local community college as a Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholar and is majoring in political science.

“I recognize my selection as a Schwarzman Scholar as a precious opportunity to build bridges and develop genuine human connections to change the world,” Becerra said.

China’s influence in the world is rapidly expanding and Becerra believes it will take a more grounded and human approach to work with the country to ensure global peace and prosperity.

“That’s why Schwarzman Scholars is vitally important to me and for the impact I intend to have globally as a public servant,” he said.

Becerra is interested in political philosophy and democratic theory. He served on Stanford’s Undergraduate Senate and led pioneering efforts for the recovery community, which earned him the James W. Lyons Award for Service. His honors thesis considers the ethics of adhering to U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Becerra conducted research on police violence in America at Northwestern University and on immigration detention centers with the National Science Foundation. He also interned for the U.S. Senate where he worked on immigration policy. At Schwarzman College, he intends to study Chinese history, philosophy, and political institutions. He hopes to one day serve in Congress and foster more positive relations between China and the United States.


Athena Chang (Image credit: Courtesy Office of Global Scholarships)

Athena Chang is from San Jose, California. She is a coterminal student studying mechanical engineering. Although Chang is Chinese Taiwanese, she has never been to China, and is excited to explore her heritage in a new country.

“As a future military officer, I believe it’s important to understand the people, language, and culture of a nation in geopolitical affairs,” Chang said. “I hope I can bring a nuanced perspective on East Asia to my peers in the U.S. government.”

At Stanford, Chang was a 2023 Mayfield Fellow. She’s also worked with drone manufacturer Skydio, prototyped mini quadcopters for U.S. Special Operations Forces through the government-sponsored course Hacking for Defense, worked on weapons policy at the Hoover Institution, and conducted research with the Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation.

Chang spent five years in the Air Force ROTC program at Detachment 045 at San José State University, where she was the Cadet Wing Commander. She was also named the Air Force ROTC Student of the Year. She currently interns with Air University’s Innovation Accelerator and recently joined the Autonomy Team at the Defense Innovation Unit.

As a Schwarzman Scholar, she hopes to improve Sino-American relations. Following completion of the fellowship, she will attend Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training to pursue her dream of flying jets. Her goal is to shape defense innovation policy for the U.S. military in a senior officer role.


Ali Malik (Image credit: Micaela Go)

Ali Malik is from Canada, by way of Pakistan and Dubai. At Stanford, he is a computer science PhD student and a Knight-Hennessy Scholar.

Malik currently researches ways to enable equitable, high-quality education at a global scale. He also enjoys working on fun problems in theoretical mathematics. In 2020, he co-created Code in Place, the world’s first human-centric, massive course taught synchronously with 3,000 volunteer teachers from across the world to 30,000 learners. Malik is a lover of learning from diverse backgrounds and disciplines and hopes to build cross-cultural collaborations as a Schwarzman Scholar to create a future of equal access to opportunity.

At Schwarzman College, Malik hopes to learn from the diverse, cross-cultural approaches to education across the world.