Zhihao Zhao

2014 John J. Peterson Scholarship Recipient

Biography: Zhihao Zhao is a third year student from Beijing, China, double-majoring in Business Economics and Psychology and minoring in Mathematics. At UCLA, Zhihao has developed a strong passion for business strategy, entrepreneurship and education. He plans to bring his knowledge of developmental psychology to Chinese parents through a future start-up business. In addition, Zhihao is currently the External Vice President of Building Engineers and Mentors (BEAM) at UCLA and a circle docent for the Los Angeles Math Circle (LAMC) in the Department of Mathematics at UCLA. He is an undergraduate research assistant at the W.M. Keck Center for Neurophysics, studying the formation of spatial consciousness. He is also working on a psychology project under the guidance of Drs. Karen Givvin and Jim Stigler, comparing differences in the U.S. and Chinese Math textbooks and investigating how those differences influence students’ learning effects. To develop his business acumen, Zhihao has interned during the past summers at an economic consulting firm, Dezan Shira & Associate, a global leading market research company, The Nielsen Company, and a Fortune Global 500 industrial services company, Shougang Group. He enjoys playing racquetball and swimming in his spare time.

Future Plans: Zhihao is currently looking for internship opportunities in strategy consulting industries to gain more insights in business and management. He plans to obtain a MBA and a doctorate in education within the next ten years. After finishing those degrees, he plans to go back to China and establish his own schools to provide high-quality education to younger generations. The business will seek to establish schools that better encourage students psychological development and help remedy the widespread problem of psychologically inappropriate educational methods in China.

What does the scholarship mean to me?: I am very grateful and honored to be a recipient of the 2014-15 John J. Peterson Endowment Scholarship. I appreciate Mr. & Mrs. Peterson’s kindness and dedication to supporting higher education. To me, this scholarship represents much more than the wonderful financial benefit it provides to me and my family. I also regard this scholarship as an encouraging validation of my previous work and a mandate to pursue my career goal in entrepreneurship and education. I expect to bring the benefits of this scholarship to bear on schoolchildren and parents in China, which should ultimately make a positive impact beyond China as well.