Brianna Yang CC'20 awarded prestigious Samvid Scholarship

Brianna Yang CC'20
Brianna Yang CC’20, a political science major with a concentration in history from Chicago, Illinois, has been selected for the Samvid Scholarship. Established by Samvid Ventures, the scholarship is awarded to students they deem as future leaders who are committed to carrying out positive change in society. The scholarship provides financial support for graduate students across the United States. Brianna is currently pursuing an MSc in Social Science of the Internet at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and once completed will go on to earn her law degree at Yale Law School.

URF invited Brianna to share her thoughts and insights about her long-term goals, what she is hoping to gain from her scholar experience, and about her time at Columbia. Read what she shared with us below.

What do you hope to do in the longer-term professionally?

I hope to lead a life of public service. After law school, I would like to work in public interest law. Sometime in the future, I want to run for public office. In my career, I want to ensure democratic participation is accessible to all and empower marginalized communities to engage in the political process. My experiences working in democratic politics have taught me that even small actions can encourage political participation in these communities, and they have also compelled me to find new paths to political agency for underrepresented groups, to devise creative solutions and imaginative policies that can empower these communities to engage in meaningful, productive, and self-interested politics.

Brianna Yang - MoMA

What do you hope to gain from this scholarship experience?

I am thrilled and humbled to be part of the inaugural cohort of Samvid Scholars. The purpose of this scholarship is to invest in future leaders and changemakers, a purpose I hope to live up to through my pursuits in law school and beyond. I am excited to have this opportunity for mentoring and leadership development as I cultivate my voice and mission as a future public servant. I am deeply grateful to my family, friends, and professors, particularly Professors Russell, Lax, Vargas-Ramos, Chamberlain, and Khalidi, who have all played crucial roles in my development as a thinker, a scholar, and a leader, and who, I am sure, will continue to do so throughout this scholarship experience.

Brianna Yang - Columbia Democrats

Thinking back at your time at Columbia, what was your favorite extracurricular activity? Why? Will you continue to pursue this during your scholarship?

I was lucky to be part of Columbia Democrats for three years of college. As someone who was not involved in politics during high school, I found this club to be the perfect introduction into both Democratic and democratic politics. It was through CU Dems that I discovered my passion for expanding democratic access and re-envisioning political participation and that I developed my own best practices of civic engagement. I will certainly continue to be involved in democratic politics at Yale and in the future.