Philosophy major Wendi Zhou chosen for the Husky 100

Submitted by Kate Goldyn on

The Department of Philosophy is proud to announce that Wendi Zhou, a double major in Philosophy and History, is one of the University of Washington 2022 Husky 100! The Husky 100 recognizes undergraduate and graduate students who are making the most of their time at the UW.

As a freshman, Wendi conducted policy research for the ASUW Office of Government Relations that led to legislation for a state-funded and state-administered student loan program for undocumented students. In 2021, she won the Excellence in Scholarship Paper Prize from the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies for her paper “Shouldering Their Responsibilities: Critical Refugee Studies and European Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, 1938-1945.” Historical reports showed these refugees as helpless and passive, but Wendi found interviews and writings that demonstrated the refugees’ resilience and agency.

As part of an independent study with José Jorge Mendoza, Wendi has produced a paper that explores how Iris Marion Young’s “social connection model” has been applied to questions of historical injustice. Her project involved interviewing and collecting testimonies from reparations activists. Mendoza expressed his praise that“this project is the epitome of engaged and applied philosophy.” He admired her work so much he asked her to assist with his paper “Go Back to Where You Came From! Racism, Xenophobia, and White Nationalism.”

“Through the Philosophy and History Honors programs, I have delved deeply into research projects that inform each other and bring various communities’ histories into conceptualizing otherwise abstract notions of repair,” says Wendi. “I often saw my experiences and those of other underrepresented communities excluded in academic philosophy. Because of this, I believe that philosophy should not be confined to academic spaces but rather be a tool to understand and challenge ongoing inequities. In the future, I wish to work at the intersection of publicly engaged scholarship and transitional justice practice. Engaging policymakers and local communities as well as scholars, I hope to build frameworks for more ethical and equitable reparative justice mechanisms after injustice and conflict.”

In addition to her classes and research, Wendi chairs the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity’s StudentAdvisory Board and has been active in the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW).

We look forward to seeing what Wendi does next during the rest of her time studying at UW. Congratulations Wendi and thank you for adding so much to the UW Philosophy community!