Yuan Lin, who graduated from Rice University's engineering professional masters program in statistics (STAT) in 2013, has been appointed deputy mayor of Fuqing, a city of 1.4 million in southeast China.
“I’m not at all surprised. She had a lot of energy in class and was a lot of fun. Her goal was always to go back to China and do something to help her people,” said John Dobelman, a professor in the practice in STAT and Lin’s teacher and adviser.
Lin’s municipal appointment was approved in December by the Fuqing People’s Congress, according to the South China Morning Post. She is a doctoral student in finance at Peking University, and in her mayoral role is responsible for overseeing issues of science and technology in Fuqing, located in Fujian province. Lin, who is 28, will hold office for 10 months.
Lin earned her undergraduate degrees at Rice in economics and managerial studies. She was recruited by the Rice volleyball program in 2008, with a full athletic scholarship. She was a member of the team during the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Championships and helped lead the team to victory in the 2009 C-USA Championship. In her junior year she left the team to focus on her studies.
“That’s when she took several upper-level statistics courses and realized she wanted to go for the fifth-year M.Stat. degree. I had the pleasure of having her in four of my classes, beginning with STAT 385, ‘Methods of Data Analysis and System Optimization, ’” Dobelman said.