Ze Zeng ’23 has a passion for people and a desire to change the world similarly to his role model, Elon Musk. Although Zeng admires many people, he explains, “I think that the ideas that Musk has are for the greater good. Tesla and SpaceX are a couple of the companies that he runs. They are for humanity’s future. He wants to do things for the greater good, the entire population. I may not achieve something like that, but if I have a chance, I hope to be a person like him.”
Zeng, who is a supply chain management and finance double major at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, was accepted to a Tesla internship program. Unfortunately, the internship roles were terminated because of COVID-19 restrictions this summer. He plans to apply again in the future.
Although Zeng will not work for Tesla right away, he is a student making a rippling impact in the world. He has been working for WeMedia Lab, which is part of Syracuse University’s media department but also has autonomy as its own think tank.
“I am one of five student leaders for A Hand for Wuhan, which is under WeMedia Lab,” Zeng says. “In February, COVID-19 started to peak in China and we fundraised with the University’s support. When the situation in China was secured, we decided to re-allocate our funds to Onondaga County.”
Zeng adds, “The Hand for Wuhan team bought 72,000+ masks, 500 goggles, gear and food supplies in total. Those supplies have been donated and sent to China, Syracuse University and Onondaga county. We gave a lot of masks to Syracuse University to cover departments like food services.”
Although Zeng has been living in the United States for the past five years, he recalls the difficulties he had adjusting and attending high school in Boston. Zeng’s hometown is Guangzhou, China. Zeng comments, “We cannot do those things without the help from Center for International Services and Professor Chen [professor of practice at the College of Engineering and Computer Science],” says Zeng.
Although Zeng has been living in the United States for the past five years, he recalls the difficulties he had adjusting and attending high school in Boston. Zeng’s hometown is Guangzhou, China.
“The first year in high school I struggled the most with what a lot of international students have issues with. We must overcome the language barrier and cultural differences. We have to overcome racial problems,” recalls Zeng. “I’m lucky that I went through all of that as a high school student so when I got to Syracuse University I could focus on other things. I got involved with WeMedia Lab, because they aim to help the students, especially international students, who want to overcome those things quickly.”
Arriving for high school was Zeng’s first experience in the U.S. However, he shares, “My parents really liked to take me traveling. I went to many countries when I was young like Turkey, France, Canada and other locations. I probably understand more now about respect by experiencing different cultures, seeing different perspectives and backgrounds and now I’m even more willing to learn.”
As an international student, Zeng says that it’s important to remember that coming to the U.S. is a life-changing experience. He shares, “The most important thing for international students is to learn a new perspective, to better understand the world and to develop critical thinking.”
Respect for others, absorbing new ideas and listening intently are practices that Zeng tries to implement in his life. He also values meaningful change, which could be a reason he was such a good fit for Whitman.
When reflecting on why Zeng chose to attend the Whitman School, he recalls, “I think the reason I decided to come to Syracuse University, especially Whitman, is because when I visited I thought the building was fantastic. I love the structure of Flaum Grand Hall and all the technology. However, the most important is the spirit of Orange. Whitman students are entrepreneurial and want to change things that they see are wrong or at least can be better. That spirit is what intrigued me and helped me make my decision.”
Learn more about Whitman students and their experiences.