Door to China: Binghamton has its first Schwarzman Scholar
After finishing her master’s degree in geography, Micah Jumpp’s next step will take her to the other side of the globe: Tsinghua University in Beijing, where she will be Binghamton University’s first Schwarzman Scholar.
A native of Fishkill, N.Y., currently finishing the 4+1 program, Jumpp has the unprecedented opportunity to participate in an elite master’s program in global affairs at a university considered the “Harvard of China.”
“After my phone call, I was relieved and consumed with extreme gratitude to God, family, friends, Schwarzman Scholars and the selection officer who conferenced with me, and the wealth of opportunities through Binghamton — the Black community, professors, past internships that directed my path, connections through networking, the External Scholarships and Undergraduate Research Center and the Fleishman Center for tirelessly pouring over multiple drafts of my application and mock interviews with me. And the former Chinese Confucius Institute and their professors, all of whom helped me see the true value of introspection and pushed me beyond normal limits,” she said. “It is an honor to be the first to represent Binghamton University in the program.”
It’s not the first time Jumpp has been to China: As an undergraduate, she enrolled in a course in Mandarin Chinese and prepared a song, speech and a rap in the language for the Chinese Bridge Language and Culture Competition, hosted by the University’s Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera. She earned a scholarship to spend the summer of 2019 in Beijing studying language and culture at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, where she even learned how to play a traditional Chinese zither known as the guzheng.
And Jumpp’s accomplishments aren’t limited to the classroom. In 2020, she founded a grassroots movement, challenging her home school district to promote racial justice. During the course of this work, she called four school board sit-ins, which ultimately resulted in culturally-responsive committees in 15 schools. Jumpp, who is also one of the first recipients of Binghamton’s George Floyd Scholarship for Social Change, also coaches and is a board member of a 78-member, predominantly minority swim team that teaches lifesaving skills.
She first learned about the Schwarzman Scholars Program during a presentation by the External Scholarships and Undergraduate Research Center on the fellowships and scholarships available for outstanding students.
Every spring, the center reaches out to students from across the University about post-baccalaureate opportunities to conduct research, teach English, complete master’s degree programs, learn languages or work toward social justice, said director Valerie Imbruce, who worked with Jumpp on her application.
“She not only has incredible academic and grassroots organizing experience, she has effusive positivity, courage and warmth. I hope that Micah’s achievement will encourage other students to reflect on what kind of world they want to live in, and how to make their unique place in it,” Imbruce said. “Our office provides the space to have these conversations and to work toward individual goals.”
The Schwarzman Scholars Program is extremely competitive; only 3% of applicants are accepted from a pool of more than 3,000 from all over the world. The current cohort — the program’s seventh — hails from 33 countries and 106 universities, and was selected through a rigorous application process that included a virtual interview with panels of CEOs, government officials, university presidents, journalists and nonprofit executives.
Jumpp’s classes will be in English, except for the Mandarin language part of the curriculum. Scholars in the program are taught by both leading international and Tsinghua faculty, with frequent guest lectures from prominent global thought leaders. Their education also extends beyond the classroom to China itself, through internships, mentors, high-profile speakers and faculty members.
After her experience in China, Jumpp plans to attend one of the top 14 law schools in the United States to build the foundation she needs for a career that will help the most disempowered individuals in the community. From there, she plans to build an international organization that will fight for collective justice.
Binghamton students who are interested in the learning more about the Schwarzman Scholars are welcome to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, she said.
“I look forward to building community and being inspired by people from around the globe who dare to dream of making big changes that will benefit people for generations to come — people who are willing to have the hard, uncomfortable conversations that need to take place for solidarity and reconciliation to actually happen,” she said.