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Meet new PhD student Yizi Zhang

by Michael Sweeney, Professor; Associate Director for Graduate Studies

Yizi Zhang is a former journalist and media officer of Greenpeace China, with degrees from the University of Leeds and the Tianjin University of Technology. Zhang’s quest for answers to questions — both professionally and personally — is unhindered by the risk of discomfort.

While working as a journalist and editor (Morning Post and Tianjin Daily) in Tianjin, near Beijing, she posed as a patient at a drug rehab center as a way to gain an understanding of the patients’ state of mind during their treatment to uncover psychological elements of drug addiction.

But the above is only one example of Zhang’s fearlessness. When traveling in China, she was determined to visit a village inaccessible by motor vehicles. Undaunted, she mounted a horse and rode to the village. Another trip, this one to Tibet, landed her in the hospital for altitude sickness, but Zhang recounts this setback with a smile.

Zhang’s appreciation for the value of the nature and the environment were central in her recent responsibilities for Greenpeace China, to which she lent her communication expertise in her position as a media officer. There she helped to develop communication strategies and involve the media from the start of campaigns to ensure adequate exposure of issues. Her experience with Greenpeace has given her inspiration for research focus: how NGOs use communication strategies to promote social movements. After she completes her degree at Scripps, she hopes to teach and benefit from the intellectual energy the university environment offers.

Zhang counts travel among her favorite hobbies. Though she often travels alone, she’s open to making friends along the way. One of these friends has inspired her to take up photography so she’ll be able to capture the sights the next time she rides into unexplored territory.

— Written by Scripps MS student Kerry Kubilius

posted in: PhD
September 15, 2011

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