SPIA student named 2018 Schwarzman Scholar

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s Elizabeth Hardister and Gaby Pierre will continue their studies in China next fall as two of 142 students selected internationally as Schwarzman Scholars, a program designed to prepare the next generation of leaders with an understanding of China’s role in global trends.

The addition of Hardister and Pierre brings the total number of UGA Schwarzman Scholars to three. The incoming class was narrowed down from a pool of 4,042 international candidates and is comprised of students from 39 countries and 97 universities. This marks the third group of Schwarzman Scholars since the highly competitive program opened to applicants in 2015.

“On behalf of the University of Georgia, I want to congratulate Elizabeth and Gaby on this significant accomplishment,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “They are great examples of all that can be achieved with hard work, dedication and a drive to make a difference in the world. The UGA family is proud of them.”

The fully funded, yearlong master’s program in global affairs is offered at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Students live and learn on the Schwarzman College campus and focus their studies on public policy, economics and business, or international studies.

Both Hardister and Pierre are Honors students, and both are working to finish their master’s degrees at UGA before heading to China. Hardister, from Dunwoody, is completing a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and a master’s in public health with a focus on disaster management. Pierre, from Kingston, Jamaica, is finishing her master’s in environmental planning and design.

“I am delighted for Elizabeth and Gaby, who richly deserve this recognition,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program. “Each is truly a leader for our times and will benefit from joining a prestigious program that prepares the next generation of global leaders. There is no question that they will make a very positive impact on society, and I am immensely proud of both of them.”

A CURO Honors Scholar, Hardister studies issues related to emergency response and weapons of mass destruction nonproliferation and plans to pursue a career in consequence management.

To further her knowledge of international security, she interned for the U.S. Department of State, the UGA Center for International Trade and Security and TradeSecure LLC. Hardister gained emergency management experience working for Counterterrorism Operations Support in Las Vegas, Nevada; the Greater New York Hospital Association in New York City; the American Red Cross of Georgia in Atlanta; and, at UGA, the Institute for Disaster Management, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Office of Emergency Preparedness, UGA Red Cross, UGA Medical Reserve Corps Field Medical Team, and UGA Campus Emergency Response Team.

Through her work for the State Department, Hardister was selected to attend and produce summary reports for the international nonproliferation trade controls conference in Prague hosted by the U.S., Canada and Czech Republic, and a subsequent regional seminar in Marrakech, Morocco, hosted by the U.S. and Morocco.

Hardister is a reading tutor in Athens at Barrow Elementary School and was a teaching assistant for the Honors Program and a service ambassador for ServeUGA. She is a member of the Palladia Women’s Honor Society and Sigma Iota Rho, an honor society for international studies.

As a Schwarzman Scholar, Hardister will concentrate in international studies to learn more about China’s emergency management system, nuclear safety and security culture, and contributions to international nonproliferation regimes.

Pierre, a Foundation Fellow alumna, graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering and is finishing her master’s degree.

With a background in engineering and urban planning, Pierre is working toward becoming an international city planner specializing in developing countries and emerging economies. She conducts research on pragmatic approaches to resilient infrastructure and resilience on a city-scale with Brian Bledsoe, Athletic Association Professor in Resilient Infrastructure.

Pierre has been a summer business analyst for global management consulting firm McKinsey and Company; an engineering and environmental design intern for Breedlove Land Planning Inc.; a design intern for the Kalu Yala Institute in Tres Brazos Valley, Panama; and an urban planning consultant for the municipality of Taşköprü, Turkey.

On campus, she is director of Project Empathy. She has been a business development intern for Thinc. at UGA, president of the UGA Ballroom Performance Group, student ambassador for the College of Engineering and Honors Program, energy content head for the Energy Concept at UGA, and volunteer coordinator at UGA Costa Rica. She created a master plan for the College of Dreams school in Mirebalais, Haiti, as her senior design capstone project, and studied environmental economics at Oxford, where she also won third in the cha-cha at the Oxford Dancesport Cuppers Ballroom Dancing Competition.

Pierre will study public policy as a Schwarzman Scholar, learning more about city growth, development and public policy in China.

Previously, UGA alumna Torre Lavelle was a Schwarzman Scholar in the inaugural 2016 class.

UGA’s major scholarships coordinator is housed in the Honors Program and works closely with students across campus as they apply for national, high-level scholarships.

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