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Two from MIT named Schwarzman Scholars for 2020

Pablo Ducru and Michael Shum ’17, MEng ’18 will study at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Left to right: Pablo Ducru and Michael Shum
Left to right: Pablo Ducru and Michael Shum
Photos courtesy of Schwarzman Scholars

An MIT doctoral student and a recent alumnus — Pablo Ducru and Michael Shum ’17, MEng ’18 — have been selected for the Schwarzman Scholars’ class of 2020. They will join other young leaders from around the world next August to study and reside at Schwarzman College at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University.

Schwarzman Scholars earn a fully funded one-year master’s degree in global affairs with concentrations in public policy, economics and business, or international relations. They also have access to internships; mentoring; engagement with international leaders in academia, politics, and industry; and opportunities to travel throughout China.

Now in its fourth year, the Schwarzman Scholars graduate fellowship aims to train the next generation of global leaders and deepen their understanding of China’s place in global affairs. Founded in 2015, the inaugural class enrolled in the program at Tsinghua University in 2016. This year, 147 Schwarzman Scholars were selected from over 2,800 applicants. The newest class is composed of students from the United States (40 percent), China (20 percent), and the rest of the world (40 percent). Since the program’s inception, 13 students and alumni from MIT have been named Schwarzman Scholars.

The Schwarzman Scholars program is administered at MIT through the Office of Distinguished Fellowships within MIT Career Advising and Professional Development, with support from the Presidential Committee on Distinguished Fellowships. MIT students and recent alumni interested in learning more about Schwarzman Scholars should contact Kim Benard, assistant dean, distinguished fellowships.

Pablo Ducru, a Franco-Mexican raised in Paris, will receive his PhD in nuclear science and computational engineering in June 2019. Prior to MIT, Ducru attended École Polytechnique focusing on physics and applied mathematics, and served as a navigation officer in the French Navy. For his doctoral studies, Ducru has been conducting research with the MIT Computational Reactor Physics Group. He is interested in nuclear energy’s potential as a carbon-free power source for industry. Ducru is founder and CEO of Velaron, a company developing smart aquaculture technologies, and was awarded the 2018 MIT Water Innovation Prize for his entrepreneurship. As a Schwarzman Scholar, Ducru hopes to explore building ventures in China that harness algorithms and artificial intelligence to address challenges in energy, agriculture, health, and environmental sectors.

Michael Shum, from Bellevue, Washington, graduated from MIT in 2017 with a BS in computer science and engineering and received his MEng in computer science in 2018. Shum aims to use natural language processing to create products that make people’s lives easier. He has published research conducted with MIT’s Computational Cognitive Science group on reinforcement learning models that infer cooperative and competitive intent and predict future behavior. Shum recently interned on the simulation team at the Chinese self-driving car startup WeRide and currently researches deep learning and dialogue at Salesforce Research. While at MIT, he was an Amphibious Achievement mentor and Asian American Association board member. As a Schwarzman Scholar, Michael hopes to explore how technologists can work with governments to effectively and ethically change society.

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