Social Science Scholar,
Stanford Center on China’s
Economy and Institutions
What drives my passion for tackling problems is their potential to yield a positive impact on the pressing issue of advancing human development and fostering a better world. At the core of my motivation is the commitment to helping students realize their educational dreams, recognizing education as the bedrock for both personal and societal growth. I am drawn to all facets that contribute to human flourishing, encompassing both mental and physical well-being. My approach is anchored in the rigorous application of causal inference methods, such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs), to assess potential solutions and gauge their effectiveness. Over the past decade, my research has been dedicated to comprehending and addressing the disparities experienced by underserved populations in China, particularly within the context of bridging the urban-rural divide.
1. What drives your interest in tackling problems?
In an intensely competitive educational landscape, rural students often face disproportionately limited opportunities to access higher education, curtailing their full potential. Drawing from firsthand data collected in large-scale studies, my research has demonstrated that simple interventions, like providing eyeglasses, can double students' learning outcomes, and integrating social-emotional learning curricula in rural schools can significantly reduce dropout rates. I hold a firm belief that even the smallest changes can yield substantial impacts, echoing the wisdom of the Chinese proverb: 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.' This belief underscores my conviction that addressing educational disparities and nurturing human development can lead to positive transformations that resonate throughout society, ultimately contributing to a better world.
2. What impact has CTF support had on your work?
CTF's commitment to nurturing a caring society resonates deeply with my core values and personal aspirations. This alignment has forged a partnership that empowers me to dream boldly and undertake ambitious projects with the goal of creating a brighter future for students in China and beyond. CTF’s support has provided the critical resources necessary to explore innovative solutions for pressing social issues, with a particular focus on education. This support has enabled me to conduct rigorous randomized controlled trials, assessing the impact of various initiatives. These include efforts to enhance the mental health and resilience of school-aged children in rural China, initiatives to provide free eyeglasses and their influence on high school attendance, and the development of a mindfulness program tailored to promote mental well-being among college students in China. Through our collaborative partnership with CTF, I have not only been able to sustain and nurture my sense of joyful wonder and curiosity about the world, but have also made significant, positive contributions to the field of education, ultimately transforming the lives of countless individuals.
3. What inspires you to give back?
My inspiration to give back is deeply rooted in my upbringing and educational journey. Growing up in a small town in China and later relocating to the United States for my education, I had the privilege of witnessing the profound impact of education firsthand. Education served as a gateway to a world beyond my immediate surroundings, broadening my horizons and molding my perspective. This experience left an indelible mark on me and ignited a profound sense of purpose to confront the persistent inequality in access to quality education that plagues our world today.
In my homeland, the ideals of Confucius have played a pivotal role, emphasizing the values of reverence for learning and the significance of diligent effort. I firmly believe that education stands as the cornerstone of societal progress. I've witnessed firsthand how education can empower individuals, unlocking their latent potential and enabling them to flourish in ways they might have never imagined.
I embrace the concept that it is our individual actions and contributions that hold the power to shape a brighter future for all.