Qin Yufei, 27, graduated from Yale University in 2010 with a double major in political science and economics. For the past year and a half, he's served as an official in a remote village in Hunan Province in China, according to a report in the People's Daily, a state-owned newspaper.
Instead of a cushy bachelor's pad in New York or Beijing, Qin lives in an old house in Hejiashan village, putting up with rain from a leaky roof and noisy rats at night. His monthly salary is 1,450 yuan, about $233. The villagers respectfully call him "Brother Yale."
As the first and the only Ivy League village official in China, Qin has lately found himself under a media spotlight – but Qin doesn't want that kind of attention. He recently posted a message on Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, saying that he was "very grateful for the [Chinese] media's attention . . . But my job is to provide a good service to the villagers, not to tell my stories. I have a lot of work to do, so I don't have enough time and energy to accept interviews, please understand."
Qin's behavior is a sharp contrast from leadership in some other villages, and state-run media is lauding the Yale grad as an antidote to widespread local corruption.
In 2005, Qin graduated from Chongqing Nankai Secondary School, passed the SAT with high scores, and got full marks on his TOEFL exam, a widely used English-language exam. Then he received a scholarship offer from Yale University, according to a report from the Yangcheng Evening News, a newspaper based in Guangzhou, in southern China.
During his four years at Yale, Qin decided to pursue public service as his future career. Inspired by news stories of Chinese college graduates working as village chiefs, Qin thought that being a village official would be a good opportunity to understand and serve the rural areas. In 2011, he became an assistant to the director of the village committee in Hejiashan village.
"Among so many officials that came to our village in the past years, I admire Qin most," says the village head, Hu Chuanjia, who has worked for the village for more than 20 years. "He solved many difficult problems after he came here," Hu adds in an interview with Yangcheng Evening News.