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Donor Spotlight: Jinlan Liu for Quality Undergraduate Education and Scholarly Training (QUEST)

Han Zhang with arm around Jinlan Liu in front of bushes

Jinlan Liu and Han Zhang

A native of China, Jinlan Liu is a financial supporter of the Quality Undergraduate Education and Scholarly Training (QUEST) program, which seeks to increase opportunities for underrepresented students of color to get into doctoral degree programs in applied psychology. 

Run by Steinhardt’s Applied Psychology department, QUEST is an eight-week, full-time, summer program for undergraduate students of color around the world. Students are given a stipend for housing, are paired with graduate student mentors, and work in Steinhardt labs on faculty-led and independent research that is published at the end of the session – a huge benefit when applying to graduate schools. 

In Liu’s eyes, it’s important to contribute to education to provide a leg up for students who might not have the same opportunities as others.

“Times of adversity are also times of growth,” said Liu. “Obstacles in life are there to shape you to be your best self. To support someone and give them the resources they need to succeed could benefit them for life and help shape their future.”

Liu was moved to help fund QUEST because of the similarities that participants share with her own daughter who graduated from Steinhardt with her bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology.

“Steinhardt gave my daughter the opportunity to grow as a person and a student, which is something I believe every young person should get to experience,” said Liu. “The QUEST program is very special because it allows students to learn more about careers in psychology and gives them research experience. I hope it offers them resources for a future career that they otherwise would not have had access to."

Liu’s contribution to QUEST came through the Han Zhang and Jinlan Liu Foundation, a charitable organization she established with her husband in 2015 to support organizations devoted to education and healthcare.

“We have donated to multiple emergency funds, annual parents fund, dissertation research funds, Jinlan Liu APIA Faculty Research Endowment, and dedicated nonprofits in both New York and Virginia,” says Liu. “All of these programs provide financial support for students to pursue their passion and interests.”

Liu graduated from the Beijing Nursing School at Capital Medical University and worked in Beijing Children’s Hospital for eight years. She is also a certified registered professional nurse and licensed practical nurse in New York State, where she has mainly worked in pediatric settings, including her husband’s clinic in Brooklyn.

In addition to her support of the QUEST program, Liu is also a member of the Dean’s Council, through which she hopes to continue Steinhardt’s growth.

“My goal as part of the Dean’s Council is to understand what projects need to be implemented in order to improve Steinhardt as a whole, helping shape the future of the School by staying committed to the highest standard of excellence in our community,” says Liu.