Olivia Holder named 2018 Yenching Scholar

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumna Olivia Holder will join the fourth cohort at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China, as a Yenching scholar. A Yenching Academy scholarship offers a fully funded interdisciplinary master’s degree in China studies. Holder will enter the program in fall 2018 with a concentration in history and archaeology. She is Carolina’s first Yenching scholar.

Holder, from Greenville, North Carolina, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in history, concentrating on modern European history, with minors in Chinese and comparative literature. Additionally, Holder was awarded a William D. Weir Honors Fellowship in Asian studies to travel to China for intensive language study and a summer internship experience, during which Holder interned for the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center and the LanYuan ChaShi tea house. Holder also interned at Eastern Leaves, a tea company that owns a wild tea plantation, as a student.

A Carolina Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Holder was awarded a Class of 1938 Fellowship to study Chinese tea ritual and a Hogan Fellowship to research tea in London in preparation for her senior honors thesis. Her activities on campus included Honor Court and the Ackland Student Guide program.

“I am honored to join the fourth cohort of scholars and take part in a dynamic program that uses a unique, interdisciplinary approach to understanding China and our global world,” said Holder. “At Yenching Academy, each scholar designs her course of study. I plan to design a course of study that discovers the threads that connect China’s history to her present and will weave China’s future.”

“Our office just initiated the partnership with the Yenching Academy so that UNC-Chapel Hill can nominate and endorse talented students interested in the broad, interdisciplinary master’s program that Yenching offers. We are delighted that Olivia Holder will be the first representative of this new partnership,” said Professor Inger Brodey, director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships.

The English-taught Yenching Academy program emphasizes interdisciplinary education and studying China’s development from both Chinese and international perspectives. During their twelve-month fellowships, international Yenching scholars complete coursework and a thesis. Scholars design their study experience by choosing one of six academic concentrations that direct their electives and field studies. Complementing academic courses are Chinese language training and career-focused workshops, consultations and seminars.