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Ashni Patel named a Schwarzman Scholar

Ashni Patel at the U.S. Department of State during her time studying in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

She is the eighth UGA student to receive this prestigious award

University of Georgia Foundation Fellow Ashni Patel has been selected for the Schwarzman Scholarship, becoming the eighth UGA student to receive this prestigious award. She will join students from around the world as they pursue a one-year master’s degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, starting next fall.

Schwarzman Scholars are taught by leading international faculty and study a core curriculum focused on leadership, global affairs and China, learning to navigate the complexities of an evolving global landscape. Patel plans to continue her undergraduate focus on connecting people, strengthening communities and protecting the vulnerable through advocacy, diplomacy and policymaking.

The 150 scholars in the incoming Schwarzman Class of 2025 were selected from a pool of more than 4,000 applicants, with close to 400 candidates invited to interview. They represent 43 countries and 114 universities. Nine classes of Schwarzman Scholars have been named since the highly competitive program opened to applicants in 2015.

“The University of Georgia is very proud of Ashni for being named a Schwarzman Scholar,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Her extraordinary experiences as a UGA student have equipped her well for this opportunity, and we look forward to all she will contribute to the world in the years ahead.”

Patel, a senior from Douglas in the Morehead Honors College, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the School of Public and International Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Terry College of Business. She also will earn a minor in Chinese language and literature from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

As a Schwarzman Scholar, Patel will examine China’s approach to diplomacy and development in the Indo-Pacific and Africa. She wants to understand how the United States and China can work as partners in conflict mediation and stabilization. She then plans to pursue a career as a U.S. Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State.

“Ashni’s global mindset makes her a perfect fit for the Schwarzman Scholarship,” said Meg Amstutz, dean of the Morehead Honors College. “The education and mentoring she has received from UGA faculty and staff have prepared her for her time in Beijing and will serve her well as she works to make a positive impact both at home and abroad.”

At the University of Georgia, Patel is a Security Leadership Program Fellow with the Center for International Trade and Security, a tour leader with the UGA Visitors Center, a tutor for incarcerated students through the Athens Prison Tutorial and a teaching assistant and peer mentor for first-year Honors students. She also was vice president of the Honors Student Council and a competitor with the Undergraduate Moot Court and UGA Model United Nations.

Through UGA’s Washington Semester Program, Patel interned with the Bureau of Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State. She received funding as a Senator Chambliss Leadership Fellow.

Undergraduate student Ashni Patel in the Hall of Flags at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

“I have seen the diplomatic and law enforcement perspectives of countering terrorism on the domestic and international scale, and both experiences have underscored how my academic experiences have prepared me for a future career in international affairs,” Patel said. “As a Schwarzman Scholar, I hope to learn more about Chinese diplomatic and development efforts around the globe.”

UGA’s previous Schwarzman Scholars include alumni Torre Lavelle (Schwarzman Class of 2017), Elizabeth Hardister and Gabrielle Pierre (Class of 2019), Swapnil Agrawal (Class of 2020), Shaun Kleber (Class of 2021), Zakiyya Ellington (Class of 2022) and Elise Karinshak (Class of 2024).

UGA’s major scholarships office, housed in the Morehead Honors College, works closely with all students across campus as they apply for national, high-level scholarships. For more information, contact Jessica Hunt at

For more information on Schwarzman Scholars, visit