Wake Forest senior named Yenching Scholar

Oscar Bray standing on the Wake Forest campus.

Senior history major Oscar Bray has been selected for the prestigious Yenching Scholars Program at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China. The program is a globally recognized postgraduate initiative that offers outstanding young scholars a unique and interdisciplinary graduate education aimed at fostering global perspectives.

As a Yenching scholar, Bray looks forward to being immersed in Chinese language and culture. He will study an array of interdisciplinary courses on China within the humanities and social sciences. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in history.

“Being in China will allow me to engage in an entirely different type of critical analysis of Chinese and European shared history,” Bray said.

He will explore ways European colonial practices adapted elements of Chinese statesmanship, technology, social practices, and economic organization during the early modern globalization period from the 15th to the 19th century.

Bray is grateful to several professors at Wake Forest who have supported his academic achievements, including Associate Professor of History Qiong Zhang and Professor of History Robert Hellyer. “Dr. Zhang and Dr. Hellyer have both helped to mentor and guide my research for the full four years of my time at Wake Forest, inspiring and leading me to new intellectual horizons.”

As a Wake Forest student, Bray traveled to Japan and the Republic of Korea with funding from Wake Forest research grants. He has been the recipient of a Wake Forest Richter Scholarship, a Wake Forest Research Fellowship, and a Wake Forest Arts and Humanities Grant through the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Center.

“Oscar has acted as a bridge between people and cultures on our campus for many years,” said Jackie Sheridan, director of the Wake Forest Scholars Program, which supported Bray in his application efforts. “We are excited to see him continue this work at an international level among the high-achieving scholars of the Yenching Academy.”

In addition to his study of history at Wake Forest, Bray will earn minors in politics and international affairs, creative writing, and East Asian studies. Outside the classroom, Bray has been a leader with the World Tea Association, a student organization that creates a social platform centered around the global appreciation of tea.

“The many friendships I built with international students from China proved a significant reason for my interest in the Yenching program,” he said.

Contenders for external awards like the Yenching Scholars Program work closely with the Wake Forest Scholars Program to develop their applications. More about the program’s mission can be found on the website.

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