“I’m grateful to have received the Stanley Undergraduate Award for International Research.”

jeffrey-dingAlthough Jeffrey Ding was born in Shanghai, China, he calls Iowa City home—his family moved there when he was three years old. So when he chose to attend the University of Iowa, people may have assumed that he wanted to remain close to home.

But by the time Ding graduated from the UI in 2016, he had interned in Hong Kong through the Tippie Global Internships Program, spent a summer working for the U.S. State Department’s East Asia Pacific Bureau, and studied language and culture for an entire academic year in Beijing. Many of his UI experiences were made possible by philanthropy.

“I’m grateful to have received the Stanley Undergraduate Award for International Research, which supported my research on environmental issues in two major cities in China—Shanghai and Guangzhou,” says Ding. “I was inspired by conversations about the environmental crisis as China’s next great challenge, and I hope to continue to research the issue in the future.”

The Stanley Award was just one of the scholarships that helped enhance Ding’s Iowa experience. In fact, it was a Presidential Scholarship that first attracted him to the UI. Ding is grateful for gifts from Iowa alumni and friends—so much so that he made his own gift to the For Iowa. Forever More. campaign when he graduated.

“I’ve grown up with a strong sense of gratitude because both of my parents gave up everything in China to come to Iowa City for better opportunities,” says Ding. “Graduation seemed like the perfect time to express my gratitude for the opportunities given to me by the University of Iowa.”

Ding, who earned three degrees—in economics, political science and Chinese—and an international business certificate from the UI, received the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in 2015. He is now pursuing a master’s degree at Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar.