UT alumna SiQi Li smiles in front of Austin's Pennybacker 360 bridge

Iimura Peace Scholarship Enables Triple-Major Student to Graduate

  • Feb 23, 2023
  • Kayla Johnson

Alumna Siqi Li is the 2020 recipient of a scholarship aimed at helping international students attain their academic goals. Without it, she might never have completed college. 

Born in a Chinese village along the border with Myanmar, Li is a member of one of China’s minority ethnic groups, the Bai people. She felt deeply fortunate to pursue her education in the United States. 

Li transferred to UT Austin in 2020 to triple-major in communication science, economics and statistical modeling. Her classes totaled 29 credit hours per semester, more than double the requirement for full-time students.  

In February 2022, Li lost financial support due to the death of a parent during COVID-19, raising the possible necessity of returning to China and ceasing her studies. But the Iimura Peace Endowed Scholarship allowed her to remain and finish her undergraduate degree. 

“This scholarship was not only money for me, but also the hope of my academic career,” Li said. 

The scholarship was endowed in 2018 by Japanese alumnus Shinichi “Joe” Iimura, who earned a B.S. in civil engineering in 1974 and a B.A. in computer sciences in 1977. The goal of the scholarship is to help Asian students focus on their studies without financial stress and to promote peace in Asia. 

Li said the scholarship was a light during her darkest time. It not only helped her graduate but also helped her afford her graduate school application fees. She is now a first-year Ph.D. student in communications at UCLA.  

“The only thing I wish to do now,” Li said, “is to engage more in the topics that I am interested in [regarding] political communications and to produce more meaningful papers.”   

Read stories about other inspiring Longhorns for Life in the 2020-2022 Global Engagement Report