Ruth Xing, a 2023 graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, has been selected for the 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Xing recently earned their master’s degree in library and information science and will serve as an English teaching assistant at two high schools in Germany. 

Xing is one of 10 Syracuse students chosen for the honor this year

“I’ll essentially be teaching American language and culture to German students while also learning about German language and culture myself,” says Xing. “It’s very meaningful to me that I will have the opportunity to immerse myself in another language and culture while teaching, which is one of my favorite things to do. It is also a huge responsibility for me to serve as a kind of cultural exchange ambassador in this program.”

While in Germany, Xing will also be taking German language and literature courses at a university. To earn extra money for the Fulbright experience, they are currently working for an academic journal and doing a part-time job. They are also serving a one-year term as web manager for the Chinese American Librarians Association Northeast Chapter.

Xing decided to apply for a Fulbright after their German professor suggested they would be a good fit. 

“I am very grateful to her for believing in me,” says Xing. “I’m ecstatic and very grateful to have been chosen. I recognize that many highly qualified and talented individuals applied, and I was definitely very lucky to have received this honor.”

As an aspiring medieval studies librarian/archivist, researcher, and professor, Xing hopes to serve international learners and scholars and to manage and contribute to medieval scholarship in multiple settings. They hope to work in the STEM and humanities fields for their career, because it values not just knowledge and interdisciplinary work, but also service, open-mindedness, empathy, and community.

“I’m open to many paths at the moment. Rather broadly, I am thinking of an archival or library career in the near future, as well as a PhD in one of my many subjects of interest,” says Xing. “At some point, I’d like to teach in a university because I’m very much people- and knowledge-oriented, especially as a former teacher. If I’m bold enough, maybe I’ll try music and/or standup comedy on the side.”

Professor’s Kindness Convinced Xing to Choose Syracuse

Xing earned their undergraduate degree at Cornell University and explored a variety of subjects, ultimately graduating with bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology. They chose Syracuse for their master’s degree after meeting Professor Steven Sawyer, who became a mentor and offered them a graduate assistantship. 

“I was drawn in by his kindness and the meaningful work and learning I would be doing with him,” Xing says. “Our meeting pretty much solidified my decision to choose Syracuse. I also chose Syracuse University for its highly ranked MLIS program, its generous financial aid, and its location in upstate New York, one of my favorite places in the U.S. I have also found that the admissions folks at Syracuse University are particularly warm and welcoming!”

Xing credits several other professors for helping them during their college career.

“The list is quite long—longer than I will be able to present here,” says Xing. “But these five professors certainly left a huge impact on me at Syracuse.”

  • “Dr. Megan Oakleaf has been advocating for me and recommending new opportunities to me since day one;
  • Dr. Laverne Gray has advocated for me very strongly while mentoring and encouraging my development as a BIPOC scholar in the LIS field; 
  • Dr. Steve Sawyer has opened my eyes to the world of academic publishing and consistently promoted my name and efforts to other LIS academics; 
  • Dr. Mona Eikel-Pohen has inspired my passion for German language and culture and consistently recommended new opportunities for me to grow (including Fulbright!); 
  • and Dr. Beth Patin has promoted my growth as a researcher and BIPOC scholar while also dedicating her time to helping me hone my professional profile.” 

If Xing could offer any advice to current Syracuse students, they would encourage them to reach out for help as early as possible. 

“I highly advise iSchool students to figure out early on how Syracuse and the iSchool can support them in their studies, whether through financial support, staff availability, or more,” says Xing. 

They also encourage students to apply for programs and scholarships aligned with their interests, even if they don’t think they will qualify or be selected.

“Students should never underestimate themselves: many of the scholarships I received were ones I did not think I would end up winning, but the results proved me wrong,” says Xing. “You’ll never really know unless you apply!”