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Graham Center Fellow Earns Prestigious Schwarzman Award

matt barocas at far left will complete a master's in China as a schwarzman scholar
Matt Barocas, at far left, traveled to Qatar in December 2019 with the Graham Center as part of a sponsored trip to the Doha Forum.

Matthew Barocas, a senior history and political science major at the University of Florida and active participant in Bob Graham Center programs, has been named to the Schwarzman Scholars Class of 2022.

The scholarship fully funds a one-year, residential master’s degree in global affairs at Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in China. Barocas is one of 154 scholars chosen for the Class of 2022 from among more than 3,600 applicants, according to a Schwarzman Scholars news release. The program was created in 2016 by American financier Stephen A. Schwarzman.

Barocas is a familiar face at the Graham Center, having served as a Graham Center student fellow since February 2019. He was among the 16 UF students chosen to participate in a week-long trip sponsored by the Atlantic Council and Graham Center to the 2019 Doha Forum and nation of Qatar.

He aspires to a career in public service as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, a commitment he anticipates as both rewarding and challenging.

“Public service intrigues me precisely because of the many challenges and conflicts in international relations right now,” says Barocas. “It may be difficult, but it will always be interesting.”

Barocas also completed an internship in summer 2019 with the State Department’s Office of Security and Human Rights, helping implement provisions of the Leahy Laws, which prohibit the U.S. from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights.

In August Barocas was named one of 25 UF students selected to receive educational enhancements and an intentional leadership program through UF’s prestigious Reitz Scholar program.

He has also represented the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Student Government Senate, and has served  as president of the College Democrats.

“Matt is dedicated to improving UF for all Gators. Through Schwarzman, this dedication will be carried over to a larger community,” says UF Honors Program Director Mark Law. “Students have weathered exceptional storms in the last year. The adaptability, compassion and leadership with which students like Matt have responded will make a difference for our future.”

The Schwarzman Scholarship is modeled on the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University. The program is centered around connecting students at the top levels of their professional sector through a rigorous global affairs curriculum, hands-on experience with the Chinese market and the country’s culture, and transformative advising opportunities.

Barocas is just the second University of Florida student to receive the award.  (The first is Susan Webster Murphy, an international studies major (2016) and student body president.)

“It showcases the successes of Matt, but it also signals the strength of a UF education, what happens when students take advantage of opportunities for campus leadership, and the wealth of possibilities that exist for students willing to take on a somewhat intimidating application and interview process,” says Kelly J. Medley, who coordinates external scholarship and fellowship opportunities at UF.

Students interested in learning more about the Schwarzman Scholarship and other prestigious scholarships should visit the Honors Program website or contact Medley at kmedley@honors.ufl.edu.