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USACH Public Administrator becomes the first Chilean woman to win prestigious Schwarzman scholarship

Natalia Méndez, a graduate of the University of Santiago of Chile, was selected as a Schwarzman Scholar from a group of distinguished international candidates and will pursue a fully-funded master's degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Natalia Méndez, a public administrator and graduate of the Faculty of Administration and Economics (FAE) of the University of Santiago of Chile, was awarded one of the Schwarzman scholarships that will allow her to study a fully funded master's degree program at Tsinghua University (in Beijing, China). In this way, the USACH former student became the first woman in Chile, and one of the few people in Latin America, to be selected.
Natalia's career began in 2014 when she entered Public Administration. Since then she has been active doing assistantships, in areas such as English or administration, since her second year. She graduated in 2019 with the highest grade in the degree exam and continued working at FAE as a research assistant to Professor Norma Muñoz, in areas related to public policy, constitution and Chilean parliament. In 2022 she started a new job at the Latin American Center of Tsinghua University, which would boost her international professional profile and strengthen her relationship with China.
"When I applied for the scholarship I was at a point in my professional career where I started to evaluate my progress and projections, and after researching deeply, the master's scholarships on leadership were the ones that caught my attention the most. Among them, the Schwarzman Scholarship quickly became my first choice, because of its high prestige, its multicultural character, and of course, its focus on China as an example in higher education and as a leader in today's economy," says Natalia Mendez.
Schwarzman Scholars is a one-year, fully funded master's program in leadership at Tsinghua University in China, designed to create a global community of future leaders. In its vision, Schwarzman aims for its scholars to "demonstrate academic excellence, exceptional results and outstanding leadership qualities."
On the fact of having been selected in a highly demanding context, Natalia commented that "it is undoubtedly a transcendental milestone that required a positive attitude and confidence in my perspectives and abilities. Professionally, it means that I will have a unique academic opportunity, in an enriching environment and surrounded by leaders that will allow me to expand my network of contacts in a global context".
And undoubtedly we can speak of a milestone, since the USACH graduate became the first woman in Chile, and one of the few people in Latin America, to be selected by Schwarzman Scholars. "I am very happy about all that this achievement implies, but I also feel a deep sense of responsibility to have this opportunity. I hope that more Chileans can have access to this type of scholarship, and that by making my professional projects effective, I can help other people in the future. There is still a lot of work to be done in terms of Sino-Latin American relations, and Chile should be a pioneer in cultural and academic exchanges," she said.
Regarding the challenge that the master's degree will mean and her expectations of it, the public administrator said that "the main objective is to make the most of this academic experience in a world-renowned environment, expand my contact networks and establish long-term relationships with academics at Tsinghua, as well as with professionals from important Chinese organizations. Professionally, I believe it will mark a before and after in my career. I maintain high expectations with myself and with the program". 
Finally, Natalia Mendez wanted to emphasize her vision on the challenges and responsibilities for the new generations -themes that prompted her to apply to Schwarzman Scholars in the first place- and said that "our current complex society needs leaders and we are all called to take the initiative to create a more caring society and participatory communities for the sustainable development of nations".