Visiting Scholar Yingqi Chen Shares her Background and Projects Year at Columbia

March 04, 2024

Yingqi Chen, a doctoral student at the School of Government, Nanjing University, embarks on a scholarly exploration as a visiting scholar at the Columbia School of Social Work and the Columbia China Center for Social Policy from January 2024 to December 2024. She shared her background, interests, and Columbia expectations in a recent written interview.

What led you to your career as an academic and researcher?

My journey into academia and research began in the first year of my master’s studies at the School of Government in Nanjing University. Under the guidance of my mentor, Prof. Mingang Lin, I discovered the joy of exploring various societal issues and the knowledge behind them. As I delved further into social policy studies, the realization dawned upon me that research could serve as a powerful tool in shaping policy formulation and enhancing people’s welfare. This awareness kindled a passion within me to contribute meaningfully to academia and society, though it would be a challenging journey.

What are your main research areas and interests?

My research interests include poverty and social assistance policies, child poverty, and child welfare. Currently, my research focuses on child poverty and the effects of related anti-poverty policies. Children are among the most vulnerable members of society, and poverty can have long-lasting impacts on their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. I hope to understand the needs of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and enable policymakers to allocate resources effectively to ensure that disadvantaged children have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.

Can you briefly introduce your home institution?

My home institution is the School of Government at Nanjing University, one of the most prominent political and public administration research institutions in China. The school’s motto is “Tao (principles) and tools complement each other, benefiting the whole world” (道器相济,兼有天下). Through the unremitting efforts of several generations of scholars, the School has established a style of combining original research on basic theories with pioneering research on applied issues. There are several research centers affiliated with the School that foster interdisciplinary exchanges and advanced research, such as the Social Security Research Center, Social Risk and Public Crisis Management Research Center, and Public Affairs and Local Governance Research Center, etc.

What aspects of being a visiting scholar at Columbia are exciting to you?

The most exciting part of being a visiting scholar at Columbia for me is the chance to participate in vibrant intellectual exchanges and gain insights from diverse perspectives. Columbia University offers plenty of lectures, seminars, and abundant literature which broaden my academic horizon and enrich my understanding. Additionally, I am delighted to have the opportunity to consult and collaborate with Professor Qin Gao, who is an expert on poverty, inequality, and social policy both in China and the United States. I hope to enhance my research abilities and delve deeper into the complexities of child poverty and welfare during my time at Columbia.

What are your main research activities during your stay at Columbia and in NYC?

This semester, I am taking two courses focused on social welfare policy. I also participate in various seminars and lectures on social policy and child poverty. Beyond academic activities, I am impressed by the diverse cultures and vibrant atmosphere in NYC. I look forward to exploring amazing exhibitions, museums, and other attractions in NYC during this year.

Columbia Affiliations
China Center for Social Policy