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Pursuing passions: My journey with the Hinrich Foundation

Posted By Lauren Kyger, Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Following my passions to Beijing, China

My journey with the Hinrich Foundation first began in 2013, when I applied for the Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Fellowship at Tsinghua University to earn my master’s degree in global business journalism. The program combined my three core passions: journalism, business and the Chinese language. It also offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study and live in Beijing, China. 

Lauren poses while hiking the Great Wall of China in 2015. During her studies in Beijing, she was able to deepen her knowledge and appreciation of Chinese culture and history. 

Uncovering my passion for research at Tsinghua University

During my studies at Tsinghua University, I took journalism courses that focused on China and its relationship with the rest of the world through trade and business. My classes included students from dozens of countries all over the world, such as Belarus, Cameroon, Nepal and Iran. Working with and learning from this diverse group of international classmates helped me develop a deeper global perspective.


Lauren (third from right) with her fellow Global Business Journalism classmates from around the world.

In my second year of studies, I completed an internship as research assistant to Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson. During my internship, I had the unique opportunity to learn from an expert in the international trade field and to research a number of important topics related to foreign direct investment (FDI) in China. Through my internship, I realized that I could use the skills I learned as a journalist to break down complex trade issues through research and writing.

Using the experience and knowledge I gained from my internship, I then wrote my master’s thesis on media coverage of China’s growing outbound FDI. This experience further enhanced my research skills and interest in global trade, and I was honored to win my program’s excellent thesis award as a result.

Thanks to support from the Hinrich Foundation, I graduated as valedictorian of my program and an honorary graduate of Tsinghua University’s class of 2016 — the only foreign student to receive that distinguished award that year. I was honored to give the commencement speech at the School of Journalism and Communication’s graduation ceremony. That day, I became the first person in my family to earn a master’s degree. Making my family proud was the greatest award I could ever receive!

Lauren delivers the commencement address at Tsinghua University’s School of Journalism 2016 graduation ceremony as valedictorian of the Global Business Journalism program. 

Developing my passion for international trade research as research associate

Upon graduation, I was offered a position at the Hinrich Foundation as research associate in the International Trade Research program. In this role, I was able to advance my trade knowledge by regularly conducting research and writing analysis on some of today’s biggest trade issues. I also help launched a number of key Hinrich Foundation research initiatives including the Hinrich Foundation Sustainable Trade Index, FDI in China book, TradeVistas website, China Trade and Power book, Digital Trade Project reports and more.

In addition to research and writing, I learned a number of critical skills including social media management, website coding, database management, e-mail marketing communication and graphic design of collateral materials, reports and graphics. I also had the unique opportunity to work with an international team, collaborating with colleagues all over the world!

Lauren and members of the Hinrich Foundation team spend quality time together on a river cruise in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2017.

Sharing my passion by telling meaningful trade stories at TradeVistas

After two and half years as a research associate, my journey took a new turn in 2019 as I began my current role as associate editor of TradeVistas. TradeVistas is an educational website, sponsored by the Hinrich Foundation, which offers expertise, insights and expansive thinking about trade policy developments, put into plain language and in the context of our daily lives. It has become a trusted, non-partisan resource for seasoned and up-and-coming policymakers in Washington D.C.

As associate editor, I assist TradeVistas’ editor-in-chief with project coordination, content generation, social media and web strategy, as well as external engagement and readership expansion initiatives. Through my work with TradeVistas, I am fortunate to be able to share my passion for international trade every single day, by writing and sharing stories that help people realize the huge impact trade has on their everyday lives.  

I look forward to continue following my passions in the future, and am eternally grateful to the Hinrich Foundation for giving me the opportunity to continue to do so.

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