Diane Geng, Class of 2007
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellow, Rural China Education Foundation, NYU Shanghai
My passion is improving the quality of education for children in rural China. As a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in China, I co-founded the Rural China Education Foundation (RCEF), with Wei Ji Ma and Sara Lam, two overseas Chinese who, like me, have roots in rural China. Our mission is to promote education that helps students develop the analytical thinking skills, self-confidence, and empathy that can prepare them to solve problems in their own lives and in the communities to which they belong.
I am grateful for the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship that made it possible for me to obtain a master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While still a Reynolds Fellow, I was named a 2007 Echoing Green Fellow to launch RCEF’s first full-time programs in China. Upon graduation from Harvard, I moved to a village in northern China and worked there for three years, helping to co-manage an experimental rural elementary school and set up professional development programs for teachers. Today, RCEF is sharing our experiences, teaching methods and curriculum with teachers, schools and NGOs across China.
In addition, I have expanded my efforts in education reform to higher education — specifically NYU Shanghai, a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences research university in the heart of Shanghai, the first Sino-American degree-granting liberal arts college in China.