Study Abroad in the United States, A United World Colleges Grad’s Journey

How do you know which college is the right one for your undergraduate studies?

Making the college decision is challenging, particularly for international students deciding to study abroad in the United States.

In April 2015, Dr. Jia Liu returned to her alma mater, Westminster College in Fulton MO, to deliver the keynote address at the 2015 Undergraduate Scholars Forum.

In the video above, she discusses the importance of a liberal arts education in her life’s journey and her research success in the field of carbon nanotechnology.


Born in Inner Mongolia, China, Liu attended Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway where she received her International Baccalaureate (IB) degree in 2005. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry and physics from Westminster College (Fulton MO) in 2009 and her PhD in chemistry from the University of Southern California in 2014.

Liu received national attention for her team’s scientific breakthrough in the field of carbon nanotechnology research in 2014.

Liu is a pioneer in the field of nano material synthesis with a focus on carbon nanotubes for the next generation of electronics. Most of her works are published in high impact journals, including Nature Communication, Nano Letter, ACS Nano and Nano Research. Her research has been reported by news media including The Engineer, Science Daily, EurekAlert, and Technology Review. She has received many awards including The Bau Price Award in recognition of excellence in graduate research and teaching, Best in Session award in TECHCON international conference, and the Chinese Government award for outstanding students abroad.


“What I really want to share with you is a very important part of my life journey, a journey that has exceeded my own high expectations and for which I give my experience here at Westminster tremendous credit,” Liu said during her keynote address at Westminster.

In her speech, Liu recognized Westminster’s Dr. Kent Palmer and Dr. Glen Frerichs for the opportunities they provided her to work with them on research.

“I have learned so much through the process,” she said about working with the Westminster faculty. “Working in the lab has helped me to discover my passion for research, which has helped lead me to where I am today.”

Liu commented on the unique combination of technical expertise, creative exploration, and communication training that she received at Westminster.

“I think that is one of the many things that separates Westminster from many other liberal arts colleges – the amount of technical training I received,” she said. “In addition, Westminster invests a tremendous amount of effort to make sure we also receive the broadly based education that teaches us how to write well, think creatively, and also communicate easily.”

She also recognized Westminster’s international diversity and leadership opportunities. Westminster College is well known for its diverse student population, which comes from 75 different countries.  Seventeen percent of the Westminster student body hails from a different country. In fall 2014, Westminster ranked #8 among all national liberal arts colleges for the highest percentage of international students, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“Westminster provides everything we need to grow, to learn, and to excel at whatever we desire,” Liu said at the closing of her address. “It’s all right here, and it’s up to you to take the opportunity and be successful.”


Full video of Liu’s 2015 keynote address at the Undergraduate Scholars Forum.

Below, watch a slideshow of images from the 2015 Undergraduate Scholars Forum at Westminster.

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Westminster College

This is the editorial account for Westminster College news team. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

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