CalTech Initiative for Students

Undergrad Scholarships

Carrying Forward a “Great Tradition” by Investing in Faculty and Undergraduates

Jan 10, 2024

John Davison

Hao Zhang (BS ’00)

Alumnus Hao Zhang has established scholarships for international students, ensuring that Caltech can continue to enroll the most talented students from around the world. He has also endowed a fund to help the Division of Engineering and Applied Science recruit and support the most promising and in-demand faculty.

When Hao Zhang (BS ’00) first arrived at Caltech, he was a transfer student from China eager to delve further into applied math and enjoy the famed California sunshine. Now, at a very different point in his life, he returns to campus with just as much curiosity and enthusiasm, but a different set of motivations.

“I’m at a place in my career where I can think about where my successes come from and try to give back,” Zhang says over a Brain Freeze—a favorite drink from his undergraduate days—at the Red Door Café. “I don’t want to wait until it’s too late.”

After graduating from Caltech with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and applied science, Zhang earned an MS in statistics and a PhD in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is now a managing director at Two Sigma, a quantitative trading firm based in New York City. He says his time at Caltech—including his involvement in research as an undergraduate and the lessons he learned in an economics course on decision theory—prepared him for success in both graduate school and industry.

Zhang was only able to attend Caltech, he says, because of financial aid. Hoping to pave the way for what he calls “younger versions of himself,” he made a gift of $150,000 to support scholarships for international undergraduates, with a preference for students from China. The endowed Hao Zhang Scholarships will benefit Caltech students in perpetuity. Moreover, his gift contributes to the success of the Initiative for Caltech Students, a fundraising campaign focused on improving every aspect of the student experience.

He also gave $1 million to endow the Zhang Family Series EAS Fund. As the first “Series EAS” fund (the name is a play on venture capital terminology related to rounds of initial start-up investments), his gift will bolster the ability of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) to recruit and retain sought-after new faculty.

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