All FSI News Blogs July 26, 2022

Stanford e-China: No Ordinary Program

The following reflection is a guest post written by Nathan Chan, an alumnus and honoree of the 2021 Stanford e-China Program, which is accepting student applications until September 1, 2022.
Nathan in Shanghai
Nathan in Shanghai; photo courtesy Nathan Chan

Stanford e-China has been an incredible academic experience from day one.

My journey with the program started with the interview, which was an enjoyable and memorable experience. I was greeted by a warm smile the moment I entered the Zoom room, and Ms. Carey Moncaster showed genuine interest in learning about me as a person. Rather than focusing on my experiences or achievements, she wanted to know more about my personality, interests, and dreams. Ms. Moncaster and the director of SPICE, Dr. Gary Mukai, have remained passionate advisors and generous mentors to many students even after the course, including me. Over the last year and a half, they were always there when I needed advice on how to proceed with a project or wisdom on dealing with a difficult situation.

The sense of community permeated the course itself, which was designed to be highly interactive. The expert speakers gave insightful lectures, followed by long sessions of Q&A. I can still remember my excitement at being able to ask Mr. Roy Ng, our fintech speaker, three questions after his seminar, where he explained how blockchain could help us reach the unbanked. In fact, my current obsession almost perfectly mirrors that topic—exploring how Central Bank Digital Currencies can help facilitate financial inclusion to mitigate inequality. That session made me realize that social entrepreneurship and tech-based solutions will be key players in upholding justice.

The Q&A was also a chance for my cohort to learn from each other. We bonded over our productive, collaborative, and enthusiastic discussions, and many of us stayed in touch after the course. Over the last year and a half, I have grown to be close friends with my fellow honoree, Jason Li. After meeting in person when he visited Shanghai, we decided to co-found a platform to connect students across the globe. Inspired by the diverse community of brilliant students we saw at Stanford e-China, we developed SPOT. The acronym stands for Student Projects Organized Together, and we hope to bring together an international network of passionate youth. We believe that together, we undertake global initiatives that make tangible impacts. Our website is www.spotaproject.com.

It is not every day that a course leaves such a significant impact, continuing to play a role in my life long after its conclusion.

Last but not least, e-China has helped me with my work in social justice. Design Thinking has not only aided in my endeavors with SPOT but also in my other initiatives, including the Law Association for Crimes Across History (LACAH) mock trial, where we put perpetrators of atrocities on the stand (lacah.net). Dora Gan from my e-China cohort is actually a member of our Youth Council! Design Thinkings methodical approach helped us scale up rapidly, and we were recently honored by the EARCOS Global Citizen Grant.

Throughout high school, I have learned a lot from a wide range of outstanding programs. I have also met many other fabulous peers through them. However, it is not every day that a course leaves such a significant impact, continuing to play a role in my life long after its conclusion. Stanford e-China is truly an exceptional experience. I am very thankful to have been a part of the first cohort.

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