Jia Wei Zhang, Psychology undergraduate
Jia Wei's experience as a teen volunteer with the Chinatown YMCA gave him the chance to see that cooperation, compassion and love, among other factors, are at the center of a meaningful life. This early revelation motivated him to pursue the scientific understanding of happiness. As an undergraduate, he worked with Dr. Ryan Howell in the Psychology Department to understand: the barriers to well-being, cognitive strategies to maintaining life satisfaction, spending choices, relationship satisfaction, and how social class shapes emotions, motivations and life decisions. When not at his laptop, he is likely hanging out with friends at local cafés, taking photos around the Bay Area, and perusing the nature and travel sections of bookstores.
Update: In 2011, Jia Wei began his doctoral studies in Social/Personality Psychology at UC Berkeley. In 2012, Jia Wei won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in Social Psychology (NSF GRFP). Jia Wei has been kind enough to provide a narrative of his experience in applying for the NSF, and his continuing adventures in his Ph.D. program. Thank you and congratulations, Jia Wei!