Five Princeton seniors have been named Schwarzman Scholars

Five Princeton seniors have been named Schwarzman Scholars for 2023. The Schwarzman Scholarship covers the cost of graduate study and living toward a one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The Princeton winners are Class of 2023 members Benjamin Bograd, Kate Gross-Whitaker, Kanishkh Kanodia, Michal Kozlowski and Elisabeth Rülke. They are among 151 Schwarzman Scholars representing 36 countries and 121 universities. The scholars will enroll at Tsinghua University in August 2023 to pursue a master’s degree in global affairs. 

The scholarship program was founded by Blackstone investment firm co-founder Stephen Schwarzman.

Decorative art showing the five Schwarzman Scholars

Five members of the Class of 2023 have been named Schwarzman Scholars: (left to right) Benjamin Bograd, Kate Gross-Whitaker, Kanishkh Kanodia, Michal Kozlowski and Elisabeth Rülke.

Benjamin Bograd

Bograd is from Short Hills, New Jersey. He is concentrating in politics and is also pursuing certificates in history and the practice of diplomacy, and American studies.

In his application, he wrote about taking a gap year to serve as an outreach coordinator for the Poll Hero Project (PHP) — an initiative of Princeton students and high school students to recruit younger poll workers when many senior citizens who typically work the polls did not return because of the pandemic. Bograd and his team recruited 800 new poll workers in Houston and Milwaukee. “PHP energized me by connecting me to a community that shared my desire to make a difference. I am excited to learn and collaborate with a similar community of leaders through the Schwarzman program,” he wrote.

Bograd, who plans to work in public service after his Schwarzman fellowship, has completed internships with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office as a Liman Fellow with support from Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs and Yale Law School; New Deal Strategies; the coalition supporting Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon; the Maine Democratic Party; the Office of Representative Tom Malinowski (NJ-07); and the Wilderness Society.

At Princeton, Bograd is a member of Butler College, an Orange Key tour guide and a politics department undergraduate representative.

He is also a cofounder of the J’Asians Club, an affinity group through the Center for Jewish Life for biracial, Jewish students who identify as Asian. His mother is a first-generation Chinese American.

Bograd is a member of the men’s varsity soccer team; president of the Varsity Student Athlete Advisory Committee; and a member of the Executive Leadership Team of Student Athlete Wellness Leader Program, for which he received a Peer-to-Peer Leadership Award for Bystander Intervention in spring 2022. In fall 2021, he received the PNC Student-Athlete Achiever Award.

Kate Gross-Whitaker

Gross-Whitaker is from Piedmont, California. She is concentrating in politics and is also pursuing certificates in Chinese language and culture, and history and the practice of diplomacy.

Prior to starting her first year at Princeton, she participated in the University’s Novogratz Bridge Year Program, studying Mandarin Chinese at Kunming University of Science and Technology and serving as an intern at Eden Ministry, an NGO.

Gross-Whitaker, who aspires to work for the U.S. State Department, wrote in her application: “As a young China scholar who has spent significant time living and working in China and doing research in academic and think tank settings, I am passionate about finding areas of collaboration between the United States and China, and leading the effort to increase constructive and collaboration-oriented dialogue between these two countries.”

She has completed internships with The Project 2049 Institute; the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy; Oakland Promise, a college access and completion program for lower-income students; and Kids4Peace Jerusalem.

In 2020, she was awarded fellowships with the Hertog Foundation to attend the conference “Nixon in China: Did We Get China Wrong?” and the American Enterprise Institute to attend the summer honors program “China’s Military and the Balance of Power in Asia.” Also in 2020, she participated in the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit.

At Princeton, she is a member of Mathey College, where she is a residential college adviser. She is an undergraduate fellow with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and a member of the Princeton University Chapel Choir. She is a former co-president and programming director of Princeton U.S.-China Coalition.

Kanishkh Kanodia

Kanodia is from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. He is concentrating in the School of Public and International Affairs and is also pursuing certificates in history and practice of diplomacy, journalism and South Asian studies.

He wrote in his application that his interest in human rights was piqued during an internship at the United National Human Rights Council: “As someone who has lived in and witnessed conversations in different countries, I have come to realize how little policymakers and political strategists know about the other country. This often leads to policy that is based on assumptions and biases. As a researcher and a foreign-policy enthusiast, I am committed to learning about China and its internal processes, in order to forge more well-informed and well-guided foreign policy.”

Kanodia also has completed internships with the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations and the Brookings Institution India Center. He was also a participant in the “Workshop on the Nexus between Conflict-related Sexual Violence against Men, Boys and LGBTI+ Persons and Human Trafficking” with the Permanent Mission of Austria to the U.N. and has served as a volunteer with a media-focused program with the Indian Embassy in Washington.

At Princeton, he has served as a research assistant with the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice and Naima Green-Riley, an instructor in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and politics. He also was a Global Diplomacy and Security Challenge Fellow at Princeton’s Liechtenstein Institute of Self-Determination.

Kanodia is a member of New College West, where he is a residential college adviser. He is a co-founder and was president of the South Asian Progressive Alliance and is a member of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs Undergraduate Advisory Council. He was also a Class of 2023 senator and editor-in-chief of The Princeton Diplomat.

Michal Kozlowski

Kozlowski is from Tarrytown, New York. He is concentrating in chemical and biological engineering and is also pursuing a certificate in East Asian studies.

Prior to starting his first year at Princeton, he participated in the University’s Novogratz Bridge Year Program in China, where he taught English and developed an English curriculum for three schools specifically providing education for the children of migrant workers. He was also introduced to Chinese agriculture by working as a walnut farmer and nomadic yak herder in Yunnan Province.

He currently studies in the lab of Jonathan Conway, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, focused on the plant microbiome, and wrote in his application that he aspires to be a part of the next agricultural revolution. “[A]ny global agricultural revolution will have to flow through the world’s superpowers, primarily China and the U.S. An opportunity to study as a Schwarzman Scholar will equip me with the political, economic and social knowledge necessary to lead collaborative agricultural initiatives between the U.S. and China.”

At Princeton, he has served as program director of Princeton’s U.S.-China Coalition. He is also an ROTC Army cadet, where he has been ranked No. 8 Cadet in the nation by U.S. Army Cadet Command, has received the Col. Robert L. McLean Class of 1952 Award twice and serves as co-captain of the Army Ranger Challenge team.

A member of Mathey College, he is also the co-founder of the Princeton Culinary Club and has served as co-president of the Princeton chapter of One for the World Charity.

Elisabeth Rülke

Rülke is from London. She is a physics concentrator and is also pursuing a certificate in applied and computational mathematics.

After serving as a research assistant with NASA at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, in summer 2021, she became interested in space technology and entrepreneurship. In summer 2022, she worked in the global technology coverage group at Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank in New York. 

In her application she wrote that her professional interest is in space as an industry and that her international worldview began as the daughter of a German father and a Chinese mother.

“With China being a powerful emerging leader of technology, especially in a time when U.S.-China relations and scientific collaboration is breaking down, it is vital that Americans learn to understand both its culture and technology scene in order to be future leaders,” she wrote.

Her international experience at Princeton includes serving as a research and development intern at Bogen Electronic GmbH in Berlin.

At Princeton, Rülke has served as a teaching assistant for “Seminar for Computational Physics.” She is a recipient of the Manfred Pyka Memorial Prize in Physics, given to outstanding physics undergraduates who have shown excellence in course work and promise in independent research, and the Bell Burnell fellowship, aimed at encouraging women to pursue physics.

Outside of the classroom, Rülke is involved in entrepreneurship at Princeton through the Keller Center and the Entrepreneurship Club (E-Club). She is a member of Mathey College and serves as the diversity, equity and inclusion chair of University Cottage Club.