Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Yogaish Khastgir, 21, of Oklahoma City, Okla., and Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Viraj Patel, 22, of Thomasville, Ga., have been selected as Schwarzman Scholars. This year, over 2,800 candidates competed for one of the 147 scholarships awarded.
Khastgir is a computer science major in the Naval Academy’s Class of 2019. At the Academy, he has served as the 6th Battalion Training Sergeant, and currently serves as a squad leader in the 26th Company. As a midshipman, he spent time abroad at the Colombian naval academy, the Escuela Naval Almirante Padille (ENAP) and in Beijing studying computer science at Tsinghua University. He is a member of the Midshipman Action Group, involved in the “Mids for Kids” program, and part of the Naval Academy’s aviation club, VTNA. An aspiring naval aviator, Khastgir did a summer cruise on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), and participated in the Naval Academy’s Powered Flight Program (PFP), learning to operate a single engine general aviation aircraft.
During his tenure at the Academy, he has interned with Naval Intelligence, and at the Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC) conducting research in machine learning and natural language processing. While at MHPCC, he worked under the guidance of Associate Professor Nate Chambers to utilize neural networks for combating online sex trafficking by detecting illicit posts in online classifieds. Through the Schwarzman Scholars program, Khastgir will pursue a master’s in global affairs with a concentration in economics and business at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and is interested in learning more about the Chinese technology industry and its impact in driving Chinese economic growth. Following his time in the Schwarzman Scholars program, Khastgir will report to Pensacola, Fla., to begin training as a Naval Aviator.
Patel is an Applied Mathematics major in the Naval Academy’s Class of 2019. At the Academy, he is a member of the 15thCompany and served on the Plebe Summer detail staff for the class of 2022, helping to develop the Academy’s new class of freshmen. He is currently serving as the 15th Company Commander, overseeing the performance, safety, and accountability of 150 midshipmen.
Patel was a member of USNA’s Foundation Program and is a graduate of Northwestern Preparatory School in Crestline, California. During his time as a midshipman, Patel has studied Mandarin and the Chinese culture at Hangzhou Normal University, and interned at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Through the Schwarzman Scholars program, Patel will pursue a master’s in global affairs with a focus on China’s rise as a world power at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Following his time in the Schwarzman Scholars program, Patel will also report to Pensacola, Fla., to begin training as a Naval Aviator.
Schwarzman Scholarships provide a year of study at the Schwarzman College of Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities. Schwarzman Scholars are chosen based on academic aptitude and intellectual ability, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, ability to anticipate paradigm changes, exemplary character, and desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions. In 2016, the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars was enrolled in the program designed to give the world’s best and brightest students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and professional networks. Blackstone Co-Founder, Stephen A. Schwarzman, personally contributed over $100 million to the program, and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $500 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The endowment will support up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China, and around the world for a one-year master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
For more information on the Schwarzman Scholars, visit http://schwarzmanscholars.org/.