Zihao Liu

Class of 2016

Hometown: Kaifeng, China

What was your College Scholar project?
My thesis, “Chinese Nationalism and China’s Naval Development,” examines the historical evolution of Chinese nationalism regarding China’s sea power. It argues that, since the late 19th Century, Chinese nationalism has increasingly concerned itself with naval affairs and that, at present, both the Chinese government and academia are introducing maritime elements into Chinese nationalism. This development will produce new uncertainties for the maritime status quo in Asia both for the U.S. and China.

I was honored to receive the Harrop and Ruth Freeman Prize in Peace Studies this past Spring. At the end of my junior year, I was awarded a History Department Cornelis Dekiewet prize as well as a Lynne Abel Thesis Research grant to work on my thesis before the fall. I was also a finalist for the Junior Fellow of the Carnegie Endowment this year.   

What were your most important extra-curricular activities?
Outside of the classroom, I worked as a senior writer for The Diplomacist; I am also one of the Co-founders of the Cornell Pan-Pacific Review this semester.  During my sophomore and junior years I served as one of the editors for Ezra’s Archives, a Cornell undergraduate history journal.  Outside of academics, I have enjoyed playing basketball as well as hiking and canoeing around Ithaca.

What are you doing now, and what are your long-term plans?
I am planning to spend the next two years working as an executive assistant for Elite Scholars of China, an American educational consulting firm in Beijing.  In this role, I’ll be working with a couple of recent Cornell alumni.  I then plan to return to the States to earn a graduate degree, either an M.A. in international affairs or a PhD in Government.

How do you think your experience as a College Scholar has shaped your life or your career? Are there ways that you have applied the skills/knowledge/life lessons you learned as a College Scholar throughout your life?
The College Scholar Program certainly offered me a chance to increase my research credentials. I was able to produce a substantial undergraduate thesis within this program. But more importantly, its flexibility gave me the opportunity to think and engage in research methods outside one specific discipline, as well as provide me with support from scholars from different fields.