Astrid Axtman ’22 Named Finalist for the 2022-2023 Schwarzman Scholarship

The highly selective program funds a year-long master’s program in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Posted on November 17th, 2021 by

By Peter Turek

Astrid Axtman ’22, a senior at Gustavus Adolphus College, has been named a finalist for the 2022-2023 Schwarzman Scholarship. This nationally-acclaimed scholarship funds a one-year master’s degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, with the aim to address geopolitical needs in the modern world and foster leadership skills.

“The Schwarzman Scholarship is a highly selective program,” stated Pamela Kittelson, Gustavus professor of biology and fellowships adviser. Out of thousands of applicants, only 300 make it to the interview stage, which is led by top scholars, politicians, and business experts from across the world.

Axtman’s interviewers, the movers and shakers of the world, are exactly where she sees herself in the future. “I want to be a CEO, and so it’s going to be very important for me to understand strategy that’s global.”

Axtman has already demonstrated her ability to lead on multiple occasions, from lobbying on Capitol Hill to working with companies like Google and Microsoft. Her passion for leadership began in high school, where her work organizing state and national 4-H conferences earned her recognition from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “Prior to attending Gustavus, I had planned four conferences for different organizations,” said Axtman. “I have core competency in that skill area under my belt, and I’ve just gotten some amazing opportunities that have built my confidence.”

This experience has been brought to bear at Gustavus as Axtman works as project manager for the 2022 Gustavus Women in Leadership conference. For Axtman, working on conferences is a chance to showcase her leadership style. “I really view myself as a facilitator of how I can ask the right questions to really create new, interesting thoughts. I love event design where I put the attendee first. What is the full experience that they’re cultivating? How do we break out of the mold?”

Axtman, a management major with minors in political science and dance, breaks the mold of a typical business student. Whether bringing people together for an event or bringing movement together for choreography, “it’s all problem solving,” she explained. “I use a similar mindset but challenge my brain in utterly different ways.”

As Axtman looks hopefully toward the challenge of studying for a year in Beijing, the support of the Gustavus community has helped her prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I’ve been so impressed with the support I’ve gotten from professors and faculty. I love that I can just reach out to random professors and say, ‘I’m really interested in what you’re studying, can we chat?’ I don’t think that would happen in other places. There is so much community and support, and you’re really able to engage with different people, different ideas, and different levels of experience.”

Students interested in applying for a fellowship are encouraged to fill out the Fellowship Office’s first meeting form to schedule an appointment. For more information about the Gustavus Fellowships Office and the support it gives to students, please visit the fellowships website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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