Former SFSS president and SFU alumna Chardaye Bueckert has been selected from among 3,000 applicants to receive a Schwarzman scholarship to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The scholarship, which has an acceptance rate of 3.7 per cent, will fund a one year master’s program in geopolitics. The Peak sat down with Bueckert to discuss the scholarship, her time at SFU, and what advice she has for SFU students.
The Peak: Why did you apply for this particular scholarship?
Bueckert: I applied for the Schwarzman Scholarship to gain a better understanding of China, while also receiving a high caliber graduate education.
P: For those who don’t know, what is geopolitics and why does it matter?
Bueckert: Geopolitics can be used as a synonym for international relations, or more specifically, as the study of political events and foreign policy in relation to geographical regions and their history. These regional relationships impact economics, military arrangements, and diplomacy between and within regions. Geopolitics is therefore important to understand if one is interested in participating in efforts towards global peace and prosperity.
P: Regarding the Schwarzman scholarship, what was the selection process like?
Bueckert: I submitted an online application which included an essay on the state of Canadian cyber-security, an introductory video, and a personal statement discussing my interest in developing further relations between Canada and China as a young leader. Based on my application, I was one of 300 selected for an interview from amongst 3,000 global applicants.
P: Having already accomplished so much, what are your plans for the future?
Bueckert: That is a big question. My primary goal is to ensure that all Canadians have access to resources like clean water, food, and shelter. Canada is a wealthy country with more than enough to go around: we have an opportunity to ensure everyone has their basic needs met. There are obviously complexities involved in doing so, but I plan to always keep this simple truth in mind.
P: Why did you choose political science as your major? Were you set on this major going into university, or did it just naturally develop?
Bueckert: I knew I was interested in politics coming into university, but took a wide variety of classes at first. After completing Poli Sci 101, I knew I wanted to pursue it as a major, even though I received my lowest grade of the term in that class!
P: For students looking to get the most out of university, what would you recommend?
Bueckert: Get involved in extra-curricular [activities] as much as possible. I am biased towards student government and debate, but there are so many different options available at SFU to suit any interest. I know it is hard for many students who brave two hour commutes, have jobs to pay their way through school, and/or are raising children.
But even an hour or two a week volunteering at the SFU Women’s Centre, sitting as a Department Student Union Representative on Council, or getting involved with the SFU Anime Club could mean meeting your best friend or gaining the experience and connections that will help you land your dream job