Congratulations to the CAPS class of 2022!

CAPS Class of 2022

2022 CAPS Commencement Class Speaker Remarks
Strauss Cooperstein
May 27, 2022

"Hi parents, students, faculty, and staff of the CAPS community. Thank you all for being here today. My name is Strauss and I am honored to represent our graduating cohort of CAPS students.

When I first came to Cornell, I had applied to CAPS to dive deeper into the multidisciplinary aspects of China studies. I first started learning Chinese in 6th grade after experiencing a taste of language program where different foreign language teachers visited our school in Los Angeles. I always remember a bai qi shrimp monochrome painting and immediately became fascinated by Chinese culture. Before Cornell, I’ve been fortunate to have spent my time trying to develop a closer affinity to China as a non-native speaker and understanding its role in our globalized world. Through studying abroad at East China Normal University, working on a student non-profit board in shanghai, interning in tech startups in HK and eventually larger companies like Tencent in Shenzhen, living with host families, and exploring the 8 great regional cuisines (ba da cai xi) and various UNESCO world heritage sites (ming sheng gu ji), I knew my bond with China would be inseparable on a cultural level. Before my CAPS experience, I made the most of positive U.S.-China relations to experience heightened sense of globalization and interconnectivity with local Chinese people in these pursuits.

In recent times, the many CAPS sponsored inroads to China including traveling to our CAPS partner school Beijing University or Beida, has been challenged by Covid and China’s zero tolerance policy amidst a time of Xi Jinping’s common prosperity policy era that has rocked some economic growth outlooks. The period of normalized relations and strong economic ties that I first experienced abroad have now changed as America has developed a more bipartisan hawkish consensus. In CAPS, our cohort has been resilient, objective, and introspective while studying China, broadly defined. We explore the domestic cultural and governmental shifts and cross border ambitions that continue to shape different emotions across East Asian and western actors. Across our courses, we’ve pondered how China has risen and changed to impact power politics and the so called western liberal international order? In my business tailored studies, I’ve expanded my business mandarin to understand the capital markets landscape in China as well as other recent Chinese monetary policy decisions. These are the types of critical questions and topics that the caps program so uniquely tries to unravel with empirical evidence, critical thinking, and studying the narrative in real time

CAPS is a family where we can all feel comfortable to express our views on the continuing narrative of China studies, as we each grow from others’ perspectives. Each of us in the program have a unique connection and interest in China and collectively we cover diverse knowledge on a complicated region. CAPS provides very close-knit faculty support to achieve these individual interests across government, economics, history, foreign policy, literature, and intense language training. Many of us have taken gateway classes including Prof Jeremy Wallace’s China’s Next Economy, major classes like Prof Xu’s Rise of China and World Wolitics and Prof Jessica Weiss’s Becoming a China Hand, or elective classes like my favorite with Prof Chen Zhihong’s

Readings in Chinese Business Culture. In reflecting on our experience in the major and minor, many classmates also note the countless boba socials, hot pots in collegetown, and other colloquium on campus where we have heard different speakers that cover China topics. I’ve always enjoyed meeting other CAPS majors and minors who span different grades and backgrounds, which leads me to my final point.

Our CAPS community has had the privilege to all share predictions, outlooks, and unique insights while studying China, broadly defined. Making sense of China and how it will impact each of our lives and careers is continuing to evolve, yet we are all grateful to Cornell and the department for playing a major part in our growth. A Chinese idiom I find relatable to our experience tie chu cheng zhen 铁杵成针, which in English roughly translates to perseverance spells success. This is from Li Bai, a famous tang dynasty Chinese poet who shares a well-known story about perseverance from childhood experiences. I believe the triumphs and challenges we have faced across our CAPS career will serve us all well for lifelong learning and inquiry and for that our class is immensely grateful."


Class of 2022


  • Forest-Amber Borealis
  • Jae Chang
  • Strauss Cooperstein
  • Arianna Dang
  • Margaret Grobowski
  • Hallie Riffkin


  • Gregory Brumberg
  • Stephen Kaiser
  • Shruthi Krishnan
  • Alexei Mentzer
  • Henley Schulz
  • Maya Voelkel
  • Dylan Young


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CAPS Speaker 2022