Fulbright awards for high-achieving PhD candidates
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Two PhD candidates at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have been awarded prestigious Fulbright–RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Awards by the US government in recognition of their promising work.
Zhu Qinfeng from the Department of Media and Communication and Zhou Xiaoyu from the Department of Applied Social Sciences were presented with their awards by Mr Kurt W Tong, US Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau.
The awards will sponsor their research in the US.
Zhu Qinfeng’s research focuses on the political and civic implications of new media technologies. During her Fulbright fellowship at the University of Michigan, she is going to examine the effect of social media on the phenomenon of polarisation through selective avoidance behaviours like “unfriending” and “unfollowing”.
While polarisation had been very visible in the US recently, she said that it was very much a global issue and can be seen in Hong Kong, too. She will investigate whether and how selective avoidance afforded by social media widens the distance between people from different political camps.
The other awardee, Zhou Xiaoyu, conducts research into cultural differences in a person’s ability to manage and respond to an emotional experience. She plans to compare emotion regulation strategies held by Americans and Chinese people when she attends Ball State University in Indiana, US.
She explained that her research would provide a new and creative angle to explain cultural variations in emotion regulation and would contribute to the field of counseling and health psychology.
“I offer the two award winners my heartfelt congratulations. I think that the awards are recognition of teaching excellence and student quality in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) at CityU,” said Professor Zang Xiaowei, Dean of CLASS.
Both awardees thanked the University for its support. Zhu Qinfeng expressed her gratitude to the Department of Media and Communication for providing a very generous and supportive environment that had enabled her to grow as a scholar.
“As a young scholar, I am both honoured and thrilled to receive the Fulbright Award in recognition of my academic achievements and as an opportunity for me to pursue my research in the right place at the right time,” she said.
Zhou Xiaoyu expressed her thanks to Dr Dannii Yeung Yuen-lan and Dr Anna Hui Na-na, both Associate Professors in the Department of Applied Social Sciences, for guiding her through the application and interview processes for the award programme.
“This award is just the beginning of my journey. It boosts my motivation to pursue my research goal for improving people’s mental well-being,” she said.
The Fulbright–RGC Hong Kong Research Scholar Award Programme is a flagship academic exchange run by the US government. The aim is to build friendships and cross-cultural understanding between scholars in the US and other countries. It is funded by the Research Grants Council (RGC) in partnership with private donors.