Three Princeton seniors and one alumnus have been named Schwarzman Scholars

Written by
Jamie Saxon, Office of Communications
Dec. 13, 2023

Three Princeton seniors and one alumnus have been named Schwarzman Scholars for 2024 and will receive a scholarship for a one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

The Princeton winners are Class of 2024 members Genrietta Churbanova, Thomas Hughes and Oluwatise Okeremi, and Class of 2020 graduate Eric Stinehart. They are among 150 Schwarzman Scholars from 43 countries, according to the scholarship announcement.  

”This year’s selected Scholars are keenly interested in learning about China, which is now more important than ever in this complex geopolitical environment,” Founding Trustee Stephen Schwarzman said in the announcement. “They are ready to engage thoughtfully with global issues and eager to make a positive impact on the world.”

Genrietta Churbanova

Churbanova is from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is majoring in anthropology and pursuing minors in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, and Chinese language and culture.

She lived in Moscow until age 6, and has returned annually with her family to visit relatives. In her Schwarzman application, she wrote about her gap year before Princeton, studying Mandarin in Beijing through the U.S. State Department's National Security Language Initiative for Youth.

The experience piqued her interest in the relationship between China and Russia, and its U.S. policy implications. She wrote: “I aim to become an academic anthropologist; dedicate my research to arriving at a people-based, unbiased understanding of Sino-Russian relations; and use the outcomes of my research to shape U.S. policy.”

In summer 2023, Churbanova conducted ethnographic research for her senior thesis about Taiwan’s Russian community. She has also completed summer internships with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow and the Arkansas Lieutenant Governor’s Office. She has received Princeton’s Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence twice.

At Princeton, she is a member of Mathey College, where she is a peer academic adviser. She is also a head fellow at the Writing Center, president of Princeton’s Society of Russian Language and Culture, and financial stipend director at the Daily Princetonian. She has also served as an advising fellow with Matriculate, advising students through the college application process.

Thomas Hughes

Hughes is from Dana Point, California. He is a computer science major and a member of Whitman College.

In his application, he wrote about his experience working alongside Princeton Arts Fellow Maysoon Zayid to organize a disability advocacy group, and how the experience helped him realize that people with disabilities are often the last to be considered in the launch of new technologies.

After his Schwarzman Scholarship, he intends to pursue the development of technologies that help close that gap. “Understanding the technology scene in China is essential to my success in this work,” he wrote, adding that he hoped to talk with tech innovators there for ideas about developing “universally accessible technologies.”

Hughes is the co-president of the Princeton chapter of Petey Greene tutoring program. He has served as director of the Princeton Silicon Valley TigerTrek, host of Princeton’s All-Nighter talk show, and has worked with the nonprofit Share My Meals as a member of the Pace Center’s Service Focus cohort for Public Interest Technology.

He has worked as a software engineering intern with Nitra and a career development intern with Baker Industries.

Oluwatise Okeremi

Okeremi is majoring in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and is pursuing minors in entrepreneurship and East Asian studies. She is a member of Whitman College, where she is a community living adviser.

She is a dual citizen in the U.S. and Nigeria. After observing the global rise of the popular music form Afrobeats, and the successes of the entertainment industries in China, South Korea and India, Okeremi is focusing her senior thesis on non-traditional ways to spur Nigeria’s development, including through the entertainment industry. After her Schwarzman Scholarship, she plans to pursue a career in public service in Nigeria.

In her application, she wrote: “In addition to learning about China’s economic development and foreign relations in the classroom, I want to interview entrepreneurs, businesspeople and policymakers.”

She has volunteered in a college admissions program at Trenton Central High School as a member of the Service Focus Education and Access cohort, and has also volunteered with the Princeton University Preparatory Program for area high school students.

She has studied Yoruba, French, Mandarin and Korean, including abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul.

Okeremi is a member of Princeton’s varsity track and field team, the Tiger Challenge program for community innovation, and the Tiger Launch entrepreneurship program. She is also a volunteer coordinator with Changing Narratives Africa and was a member, through SPIA, of the China, Human Rights and the Rule of Law Task Force. She has interned remotely with RISE in Washington, D.C.

Eric Stinehart

Stinehart is from Chicago. He is a 2020 graduate who majored in the School of Public and International Affairs with minors in African studies and French language and culture. He is currently a senior impact investment analyst with Hopelab Ventures in San Francisco and volunteers as a ScholarMatch college coach for first-generation and low-income high school students. Previously, he served as a research and communications intern for the United Nations Development Programme’s Sustainable Development Goals Finance Sector Hub in Istanbul.

In January, he was named a “Breaking Barriers Trailblazer” by Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech, a series recognizing tech leachers in mental healthcare.

Stinehart’s mother is Chinese. In his Schwarzman application, he wrote that his goal is “to lead a global-impact investing firm that funds technologies targeting holistic human development and mental well-being.”

“In order to get there, I want to gain deeper insights into the economic, political, and cultural factors that form the societal foundation of well-being for over 1.4 billion people,” he wrote.

At Princeton, Stinehart was a member of the student-led Triple 8 East Asian Dance Company and BodyHype Dance Company and played the viola in Opus, a student-led chamber music ensemble. A figure skater since age 4, he is a five-time U.S. National Championships competitor. He ranked 19th in the nation at the 2016 U.S. Nationals/World Championships Trials.