Asian studies

Class of 2005

JIM NAGLER

I am working for Wang Wei who guided the Bates trip to Xinjiang and Tibet in the fall of 2003. At that time I became good friends with him but we first met in 2002 (my freshman year) after his fascinating slide show of Chinese wildlife in Pettengill Hall. Also during my freshman year I studied Chinese language with my advisor Professor Shuhui Yang. I took classes with him every semester of college except one (while studying in Beijing) and learned as much about Chinese culture as I did about the language. Prof. Miao taught me to love Beijing food though I have never had a jiaozi (dumpling) that compares to hers, even in Beijing. Everything I learned is valuable now and certainly makes like in China a breeze. Back to the story, I am currently working on a joint project between China Adventure Travel, Conservation International, and The Chinese Ministry of Forestry to develop ecotourism in a remote mountain forest in Sichuan Province. The place has been identified as one of 25 of the world’s most biodiverse and endangered ecosystems and is an underdeveloped Chinese national forest. I just returned from a trail mapping expedition to Sichuan last week. Maggie Maurer-Fazio has a deep understanding of this project and helped originate it.

In my free time I am working on freelance journalism projects with an old friend from Indiana. He is the journalist and I take photographs to accompany his stories. Next week we will visit one of China’s most famous, cheapest, and classic Baijiu (Chinese call wine but is in fact ―white liquor‖) factories. We hope to trace this iconic ―Er Guo Tou‖ liquor to the source. In the future I hope to open up a tiny burger joint here in Beijing that specializes in making authentic and affordable Indiana hamburgers for the masses to enjoy.

Class of 2003

KELLY OGDEN-SCHUETTE

I graduated from Bates in May of 2003 with a BA in East Asian Studies (focus on China). I actually left Bates earlier than that and finished in Adelaide, Australia at Flinders University with course work in Southeast Asia and Modern Politics, as well as Quantitative Methods in Economics and Educational Theories. I have been working as a research tech intermediate since November 2002 for the American National Election Studies at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor; www.electionstudies.org). I have also assisted two professors with research in macroeconomics and survey research on race relations and the Detroit race riots. In the fall of 2007, I will be entering a Masters in International Affairs program at Columbia University in New York City. My concentrations will be international security policy (specifically conflict resolution and negotiation), human rights, and social policy, as well as a regional concentration on Europe and Eastern Europe.

Many of the interests I had in China and group dynamics and cultural affairs are continuing, with a shift of emphasis to Post-Soviet states and European Union interest. While I have not used my Chinese language skills of late, I do hope to restart my studies at some point in the future. At the moment, I am studying French, soon to begin Russian. I found that the general theories and investigative techniques taught in my coursework at Bates have been useful for considering matters of international affairs and cultural relations, and I expect they will inform my work at Columbia. The most helpful advice I can give to all undergraduates, Asian studies majors or not, is to take advantage of time and study abroad, particularly in places very different from the United States. Even my time in Australia was profound in its exposure to new theoretical frameworks and attitudes. I particularly found a short-term volunteering trip to Peru in March of 2002 to be important in putting life and American life in a new perspective.

After graduation I expect to work with NGOs and similar organizations. I am interested in immigration and refugees, as well as EU member relations, especially with Post-Soviet states.

MAYUKO TOSHIDA

After graduating in the summer of 2003, I participated in The Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American studies, a program jointly administered by Nanjing University and The John Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in the fall. I highly recommend this program to all the students who are studying Chinese at Bates! I then started my first job at Deloitte, Touche, Tohmatsu in Shanghai doing tax filing for Japanese expatriates. I worked there for a year and I moved to Hong Kong last year. I now work for Canon doing sales. Now I’m learning Cantonese!

I was very happy to receive this letter because I wanted to re-connect with Bates and help the current students if I could, but I couldn’t find a way to do so, partly because I’ve always lived in this part of the world. However, this thought was always at the back of my mind.

This opportunity is especially exciting as it allows me to relate to Bates and the students in an area I am most interested in. Bates is the place where I developed my passion for China and it is my turn to help others!

Class of 2002

JULIE AVERY

I have been an M.A. student and teaching assistant in the program of Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Massachusetts for the last four years. (I like to take my time). I hope to graduate in December with both my Master’s degree and my license to teach Chinese as a foreign language for grades 8-12. Currently I am finishing up my thesis, which is an annotated translation of a siege diary written in 1206. My academic interests lie mainly in the diplomatic and military history of the Southern Song. I tentatively plan to complete my student teaching at Quabbin Regional High School (in Barre, MA) this fall, and will then be looking for a job teaching Chinese (any new of New England area job openings are most welcome!). My current dream is to pay off my school loans and save enough money so that I can bicycle in China from Vietnam to Mongolia. During the summer of 2005 I gained some ―practical experience‖ by biking approximately two-thousand miles through Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Chongqing, and Hubei.

I would be happy to respond to any of today’s students-particularly any of those interested in the Chinese/Japanese M.A. programs at the University of Massachusetts. The program here is really one of our field’s best kept secrets-it offers a high quality, yet low cost education (I have been fully funded for four years!).

JOSHUA DENONCOUR

I spent the three years after graduating Bates in 2002 in Japan on the Jet Program. Then the next years, in New Hampshire, teaching Elementary School, while I applied to graduate programs. I am currently working on my MA in Japanese Literature at The Ohio State University, focusing on children’s literature and childhood memoir literature.

CHRISTOPHER HOOVER

I graduated with the Class of 2002, having doubled-majored in Japanese and Music Composition. Shortly before finishing up my tenure at Bates, I applied to, interviewed with, ad was accepted into the JET program as an Assistant Language Teacher. I taught in several junior high schools in a city called Marugame, which is located in the smallest prefecture in Japan, Kagawa-ken, on the island of Shikkoku. As a regular 01’ working foreigner, I was able to use my Japanese on a daily basis, and often received compliments about my fluency. One of my favorite memories is a conversation with a Japanese friend I had there. We were driving to go see a movie, just chatting about whatever, and she turned to me (keeping one eye on the road!) and said in native tongue, ―Are you sure you’re not Japanese? We’re totally talking normally and I can’t tell the difference between you and my other friends.‖ That moment was so nice and really made me feel like all of my hard work had paid off.

After leaving Japan, and returning to Chicago, late in the summer of 2003, I had various part-time jobs and attended a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at Loyola University Chicago. One of the jobs was working at a retail store, and on a number of occasions I had the opportunity to help Japanese customers. I had to keep the conversations about Where’d you live? And What’s your favorite place? to a minimum because I was, after all, on the clock. But those experiences reminded me that anywhere I go I’ll be able to use the unique skills I have, and being fluent in Japanese is certainly unique.

I’m happy to say that I have just successfully completed my second quarter of medical school (Rush University, Chicago). Interestingly enough, one of my classmates is also fluent in Japanese, as he lived and worked in Japan for a couple of years directly prior to coming to medical school. We were introduced to each other by a professor who had read-up on our profiles, and I remember our first conversation in Japanese: in the Gross Anatomy cadaver lab. Needless to say the rest of our classmates were a little taken aback. It was probably the first time many of them had heard Japanese; it was most likely the first time any of them had seen two white guys speaking in Japanese to each other; I can safely say none of them had ever heard

Japanese spoken in a cadaver lab before (neither had I!). I guess you never know when you’ll get to use your skills, and who might share your same interests!

I’ve been back to Japan several times since 2003, to visit friends and see new places back this winter for a snowboarding trip, since one of my good friends (from Bates, nonetheless!) will most likely be returning.

Class of 2001

JANEL IPPOLITO

After Bates, I lived in Japan and worked as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) as part of the JET Programme. I was placed in a small town called Wadomari on Okinoerabu-jima. Okinoerabu is a small island, surrounded by coral reef, which is a part of the Ryukyu Islands just north of Okinawa. In an amazing apartment that sat on the top of a hill overlooking the ocean, I spent a year riding my scooter to Elementary and Junior High Schools helping to turn English into a ―living‖ language for all students. Outside of work, I joined a tennis team with whom I eventually traveled with to a neighboring island for a tournament; practiced Eisa drumming with local children and adults; studied calligraphy in a community center class; learned how to cook many Japanese dishes; ate fresh sashimi and local fare at all of the restaurants on the island; snorkeled with turtles; ran a half marathon; etc… My list goes on and on as the experience that I had on the island was unforgettable and so enriching. Being a part of that small Japanese community was rewarding not only for improving my language skills and understanding of their history and culture, but also for creating wonderful friendships. I strongly recommend this program for not only students studying Japanese, but for any student interested in an amazing cultural experience.

While I am looking forward to using my Japanese again in the future, currently I am living in the French Alps and studying the French language. I have always enjoyed learning languages and traveling and have been very fortunate to have the opportunities to do both.

Class of 1999

DANIELLE DIMONDA

I graduated in 1999 with a major in East Asian Studies. I hope everyone is well… It is such a wonderful idea to connect all of the ―Asianists‖. I think it will be a success and hope it will be helpful for fellow students and other graduates.

I am living in New York City, my home town. Unfortunately, I am not working directly in Asian affairs or speaking any of the Mandarin I learned (I should have studied harder in Yang Laoshi’s classes). I am, however, a licensed social worker in an adoption agency helping families adopt from China and Vietnam. So I still have an affinity for Asian culture. Everything I learned in my Asian studies courses has been extremely beneficial.

I don’t know how my journey led me from East Asian Studies to social work, but there must be some connection. After working in the non-profit, mental health field for a few years after graduation, I decided to get my master’s degree in social work. I graduated in 2004 from Fordham University School of Social Service and received my NY state license. I am planning to get my doctorate at some point, but I am not ready just yet. I have been working in adoption for 2 years and it has been an exhilarating experience. I am the next in line in my agency to travel for work to China again and I cannot wait!

CLASS OF 1998

GWENN DREPEAU

I graduated in 98 with a BA in East Asian Studies. I am now in my last year of a nurse practitioner program at the University of Washington in Seattle, with a focus on adult acute care. Not a whole lot to do with my undergraduate degree, but since graduating, I have traveled in Taiwan, and have had some interaction with patients who speak Mandarin. While my medical terminology in Mandarin is limiter, actually, non-existent, it’s often comforting for patients or family members who speak no English to have a health care provider recognize the difficulty with language barriers in the health care system, and also provide some support and sensitivity to cultural difference and needs. Some of these comforts come in the form of asking in their language even simple questions, like how are you doing?

CLASS OF 1993

ANNA LOUISE ENGLUND

I live in Portland, Maine and have been a stay-at-home mom of my 2 children (Caitlyn-6 and Teddy-3) since 2001. I coached XC skiing to middle school kids for the last 5 winters; beginning in the fall, I will be working at a children’s program. In my former life, I used my Japanese working at L.L. Bean – in Customer Service, Japan Retail, and best of all, in leading occasional Japanese groups to Northern Maine (Katahdin, winter camping, etc.). I ended my days at L.L. Bean with a job in loyalty marketing—albeit not speaking Japanese.

Although my skills are rusty, I am still very comfortable speaking in Japanese. I am in close contact with my wonderful host family from Osaka who visit me annually. When they visit or call, we speak only Japanese and it feels good. I have taught about Japan at my daughter’s school, joined the local Japan America club, and enjoy chatting at the sushi bars. But otherwise, I have not found a way to use my Japanese in a relaxed setting. Regardless, I am glad to have an appreciation and understanding of a fascinating culture and dear friends with whom I can communicate. I have great memories of Bates classes and my Bates trips to Japan (Kansai Gaidai and Ohkubo Internship).

CLASS OF 1989

ELEANOR J. HOGAN

I graduated from Bates in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Japanese Studies (Interdisciplinary). I taught in Japan on the JET Program for a year after graduation, and then began graduate school at Washington University in St. Louise in fall of 1991. I obtained a Master’s degree in Japanese Literature, followed by a PhD in Comparative Literature in 2001. (My degree was completed 2.5 years after starting a tenure track job, and is something I’d recommend for future scholars). During my years as a graduate student (1991-2001) I spent a year at the Stanford Center in Yokohama studying to become more proficient in Japanese language and two summers at Middlebury language school. I also spent over a year at Kokugakuin University in Tokyo conducting research for my dissertation.

As a graduate student I was able to teach in various settings. I was a teaching assistant in Japanese language courses at University of Missouri in St. Louis in a program administered by Washington University for several years. I also taught intensive Japanese language at Washington University in their summer program. For a semester in 1998, I taught Japanese language and literature at Bates. My classroom for JPN 101 was the same one I had been taught in back in spring of 1986.

Currently I am the co-chair of Asian Studies at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA. Our department is just 4 years old. I received tenure in December 2005 and am currently an Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Literature. My primary work thus far is on the write Nogami Yaeko and women’s writing during the 1930’s. My new avenue of research is modern women’s science fiction. I would be happy to respond to student questions about my career path or graduate school.