SUU Graduate Receives Multiple Ivy League Admissions Following Publication in Prestigious Academic Journal

Published: August 29, 2023 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 2 minutes

Recent graduate, Jiazhen Yan (left) and Education Professor, William Davis (right) next to their research display.Jiazhen Yan, a recent Southern Utah University graduate, received admission offers from both Harvard and Columbia Universities shortly after her research was selected for publication in a prestigious academic journal.

At the age of 16, Yan arrived at SUU from Shanghai, China, and began working toward a business education degree. Due to her passion for teaching and experience with cultural differences in U.S. education, she served as a teaching assistant for her favorite professor, William Davis. Together, they conducted research on Chinese dual immersion programs to explore the needs of teachers lacking resources.

Professor Davis said, “What I have witnessed across Jiazhen's various experiences and opportunities is nothing short of remarkable. Her singular combination of creativity and analytical thought sets her apart. As a novice researcher, she has repeatedly demonstrated an aptitude for critically analyzing research data and connecting it with academic literature and her own experiences. At times, I have had to remind myself that she was an undergraduate and not my graduate student.”

Reflecting on her successful work and projects with Professor Davis, Yan said, “I am very happy to hear that my efforts and dedication here paid off, especially as a foreign student.”

Yan's paper, titled “A case study of Chinese teachers’ professional learning in a Chinese dual language immersion program,” was accepted by the journal of the Northern Rocky Mountain Educational Research Association's Educational Research: Theory and Practice following her presentation at the NRMERA annual conference in October. Additionally, Yan is the third author of a second paper, entitled “We didn’t see that the same way”: A dyadic analysis of a cross-cultural student teaching experience.”

After her presentation and the acceptance of her research, Yan received an admission letter to the International Education Development program at Columbia University's Teachers College. The next day, she received an offer of admission to the Human Development and Education program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. Yan ultimately chose Harvard and has already started summer term classes to earn a Master of Education in Human Development and Education.

After overcoming language barriers and facing the challenges of the pandemic year in Shanghai, SUU is honored to have Yan as a Thunderbird and wishes her the best of luck as she embarks on new endeavors.

Tags: CurStu FacStaff Alumni International Student Teacher Education College of Education and Human Development

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Nikki Koontz