Return to Headlines

Twenty High School Students Selected For Summer Chinese Study Abroad Initiative

Dover—Twenty Delaware high school students have been chosen by the Delaware Department of Education to study in China expense-free this summer, thanks to a partnership agreement announced earlier this year by Gov. Jack Markell with the Wanxiang Group, China’s largest auto parts manufacturer.


The students chosen for the Delaware Summer Chinese Language Initiative for Communicating STEM will study at the company’s facility in Hangzhou, China, June 27-July 24, 2015. They will take daily language classes, visit local schools, participate in cultural activities and tour sites of science and technology companies.  Wanxiang, which is participating in President Obama’s 100,000 Strong China Initiative to send more American students to study in China, will fund all travel, living, and educational expenses.


The program’s goal is to provide Delaware students already studying Mandarin Chinese an opportunity to gain cultural knowledge and to use their knowledge of the language in connection with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.


“The students chosen have earned this amazing opportunity to advance their language skills and become familiar with the culture of the world’s second-largest economy,” Gov. Markell said. “I look forward to hearing from them when they return about how they plan to put what they learned to use.”


Dr. Alexander Tang, Deputy Chairman of Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic and Executive Director of the 100,000 Strong Initiative, said “we are looking forward to receiving students from Delaware who have a passion for learning Chinese and who are already thinking about how this will enhance their ability to get jobs in the future. As Wanxiang continues to expand in the US and as we hire local talent, it is imperative that we have employees who understand not only the science of the industry but also have the language and culture skills needed to work in an international environment.”

Wanxiang’s purchase of the site of a former automobile plant in Newport, Delaware was finalized last month. Wanxiang has agreed to cover the costs of the scholarship program in 2016 as well.


“Those chosen are proof of the great work many of our teachers and schools are doing to prepare  students for a future filled with many choices of ways to make a difference,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. “These students have made the most of the opportunities provided by our schools and have challenged themselves to succeed.”


More than 50 high school students applied for the opportunity to study abroad. To qualify, they had to be enrolled in Chinese Level II or higher in a Delaware public high school and agree to take the next higher level of Chinese during the 2015-16 academic year. They had to have at least a B average in the Chinese course and all STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) coursework, and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students also had to be recommended by both their Chinese language teacher and their school counselor.


While in China, the students are expected to develop a multi-media presentation on one of the following topics: American vs. Chinese Perspectives on a Green Energy Solution, Chinese Language Skills as an Advantage for College and Career Options, or American and Chinese Cultural Differences and Ways to Facilitate International Cooperation and Collaboration.  They will present their projects to State and business officials upon their return.


“This opportunity to create friendships with my Chinese peers will be life changing,” Zachary Black, a junior at Conrad Schools of Science, wrote in his application.  “The Chinese LInCS program will give me a competitive edge that will make me a stronger candidate for college and my future career options.” 


The following students will depart for Hangzhou on Saturday, June 27: 



 AI duPont High School, Red Clay Consolidated School District

Jake Borns


Appoquinimink High School, Appoquinimink School District

Jeffrey Smith


Caesar Rodney High School, Caesar Rodney School District

Gary Gray II                       

Landon Lynn

Caleb Siebach

Sarah Wearden

Jared York


Conrad Schools of Science, Red Clay Consolidated School District

Zachary Black

Madison Northshield

Xander Opiyo   


Fidel Rodriguez

Sean Sullivan

Jianni Thornton


Middletown High School, Appoquinimink School District

Nathaniel Li       


Newark Charter High School

Sophia Hannah

Santoshi Kandula            

Ravina Sashti     


Sussex Technical High School, Sussex Technical School District

Vincent Gao      

Robert O'Neill

Trevor Roe