'You will find your life full of possibilities'

Zhiyuan Zhou

History, Asian Studies, Government & Harrison College Scholar
Nanjing, China

What was your favorite class and why?

person sitting

My favorite class was Eric Tagliacozzo's Transnational Local: Southeast Asian History since 1700. The course was so informative and elegant that it shifted my academic interest to Southeast Asia.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

Interning at Fallen Tree, a suburban sustainability center, where I helped maintain a backyard farm and offered a public course on sustainability. Jane-Marie Law, professor of religious studies and founder of Fallen Tree, has been a great mentor and brought me to the world of grassroots activism.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

person standing with statue of badger

I completed my history honors thesis on the modernization of Chinese medicine in British Malaya. To complete this project, I applied for the Susan Tarrow Fellowship and the Rawlings Scholar program to fund my trip to London, where I studied at the U.K.'s National Archives.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Don't decide your major right away. Don't rush for the "most lucrative" industry like finance. Take as many courses as you can and you will find your life full of possibilities.


Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2023.

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Zhiyuan Zhou