Jake Seymour ’20: Learning in a Global Context


Jake Seymour ’20 had a productive and insightful Summer of 2019. He began by actively networking for STEM outreach programs and representing Gulliver’s own CR Coding at a Florida Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) meeting to promote CSforALL. He then embarked upon a truly remarkable trip to Asia, starting with backpacking through Japan and an internship with Jin Mao Partners — an international firm specializing in China’s Belt & Road Initiative in central Shanghai, China.

Jake worked on a solely Mandarin-speaking team, developing a comprehensive report on Thai agricultural trade investment, assisting partners in preparations for the 2020 Inter-Pacific Bar Association Conference, and translating documents from Latin American embassies from Spanish to Mandarin. The AP National Scholar spent the remainder of summer independently in East Asia and was one of 45 students selected from the U.S. to participate in Yale Young Global Scholars – Beijing: Asia in the 21st Century — a two-week academic program designed to help young leaders gain a deeper understanding of the fastest-growing region in the world. Jake collaborated with 85 students from over 27 countries and learned from notable speakers ranging from the Director of Yale’s International Relations Department to a Nobel peace prize winner.

In this Q&A, we learn more about Jake’s experience, his future aspirations, and more.

How does your passion for STEM outreach intersect with your interest in international relations?
Combined with my interest in social sciences, I believe that much of the future lies both in technology and its context within the relationship between Silicon Valley and developing tech hubs across East Asia. The shared goal in CR Coding is giving those from underprivileged backgrounds without the necessary resources the opportunity to enter the booming industry of computer science. Promoting computer literacy, a universal language in this tech-driven 21st century, aligns with my goal of initiating positive social action. 

When and how did you become interested in Mandarin Chinese as a language and culture? 
I began learning Mandarin at Gulliver in the eighth grade out of a fascination for the intricate characters that make up the language, and the desire to challenge myself with a language on an entirely different language tree. It was not until my first trip to China several years ago that I truly became engrossed in the language and culture out of curiosity for the cultural intricacies of a country with a 5,000 year-old history, and out of my passion for international relations pertaining to East Asia and the West.

If you had to pick one or two highlights of your experience in Asia, what would they be? 
Highlights would definitely have to be the people I met from the YYGS experience to living as a temporary resident in the city of Shanghai where I worked and also caught up with a former Chinese Gulliver student who was home for the summer. YYGS put 20+ nationalities under one roof to form a unique community. I formed new friendships that spanned the globe from a family who owns islands in Indonesia to a member of Swaziland’s royal family. Integrating into a professional workplace in another country gave me invaluable real-life experience. 

What drives you to keep learning, growing and seeking new experiences?
My passion for unconventional travel keeps me motivated in all three due to its ability to open my eyes to diverse ways of viewing, understanding, and engaging with the world. 

Who are your mentors?
Several teachers have filled and currently fill that spot but, most recently it was the President of Lennar International who introduced himself to me at the state Chinese competition. He emphasized the importance of a Western presence in one of the fastest-growing regions of the world – China. Corresponding with him and following his career engagements and travels that connect him with business and government leaders from around the globe, provided further inspiration and determination to my academic path.

What are your future aspirations? 
My aspirations are to one day facilitate vital dialogue between the largest, and soon to be largest, economies in the world whether it be through means of business or politics. I plan to continue learning in a global context and in languages belonging to the two largest players on the world stage. Gulliver has given me a foundation in a multitude of skills that will make my transition into both the collegiate and career world a more confident and successful endeavor.