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Alumni Voices

Emerson James, B.A. in East Asian Languages and Culture: Korean and B.S.B. in Finance

I originally came to KU to study medicine before a joke in a class led to me flying across the ocean to spend a year in Seoul, Korea. Fast forward three years and I have attended three separate Korean universities, worked for the premier magazine publisher in Korea, am currently in China studying Chinese at a school for Korean students and have a great job lined up for when I return to the USA this summer. I say this so that I can also say that none of it would have been possible had it not been for the great faculty and resources available to students in the EALC department.

Speaking to future students, make sure to take advantage of everything the department has to offer - great teachers, great students, scholarships, study abroad and more. No one is going to just hand you opportunities, but there is an overwhelming amount of support for those students working hard to create their own. Make sure you are the students taking advantage of that support by developing relationships with professors, studying that which interests you and not giving up when everything seems too difficult. Your success will be the result of a team effort, and KU’s EALC department is more than willing to help you succeed as long as you are working hard as hard as they are.


Tito Huynh, EALC B.A., Korean, 2013

"Taking Korean language and culture class at KU is actually how I learned about being an ESL teacher in Korea. My studies at KU help in many aspects in my career. My studies have helped me convey lessons to my students easily and to interact with my coworkers and bosses in an appropriate manner. Only a few students who excel at English so the use of Korean is often needed in the rural area. A piece of advice to current students is to put your full effort into your studies. You never know when the knowledge you have access to now will be useful to you in the future."


Sarah Bregman, EALC B.A., Korean with Honors, 2013  

"Studying Korean at KU provided me with many opportunities for academic and personal growth. The EALC department, as well as affiliated faculty, provided continual support and encouragement, providing a firm foundation for my aspirations to pursue graduate study. As a non-traditional student, I completed three undergraduate research projects, including an honors thesis, presented at numerous undergraduate symposia and conferences, and was fortunate to receive funding to support my travel and studies. Directly after graduating from KU, I taught Introductory Korean to high school students through Upward Bound and the Math and Science Summer Institute during an intensive five-week college preparatory program. Recently, I moved with my husband and young daughter to Cambridge, Massachusetts to begin a master's program, Regional Studies -- East Asia, at Harvard University, with the support of a fellowship through the National Science Foundation. I aspire to research and study in Korea as I prepare for doctoral studies. I am immensely grateful to all of the faculty and staff in and affiliated with the Korean program at KU, which is truly exceptional."


Joseph Dennison, EALC B.A., Chinese, 2011

"I came to college to learn Chinese, and -- ask anyone who is even slightly familiar with it -- and they will tell you it doesn't come from innate ability or fancy teaching methods; it comes from hard work and self-discipline.  If it wasn't for Deborah Peterson [instructor of Intermediate Chinese]  I would have never become the student I am today; I would not be in Beijing studying at Beijing University."


Bryce Clarke, BA in EALC (Japanese) 2010

"I graduated from Sophia University's Graduate Program in Global Studies in 2012 with an MA in Japanese Studies. Since then I have worked for the past 3 years at Fujifilm where I translated quality control documents, manuals, and reports both into English and into Japanese and interpreted at monthly meetings (via conference call) with Europe and the US as well as interpreted during printer technician training sessions.  I will be quitting at the end of September 2016 to pursue a freelance writing/translation/interpretation career. I have been able to find a range of work as a freelance translator and writer. I work for several different websites where I translate comic books and news articles and just about anything you can think of.  I  recently started working as a writer for a travel magazine where I will be introducing people to what to look out for/do while they are in Japan. I wrote, co-edited, and co-produced a documentary film titled Garage Rockin' Craze that will premier in Tokyo in January. It will be distributed nationwide and will get a DVD release. The trailer can be found here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FNukfLBvALc"


Jay Ellis, EALC B.A., Japanese, 2010

"After graduating with a degree in East Asian Languages & Cultures, a degree in Journalism, and a Master's degree in Social Work Administration, I am now working in healthcare administration. I am the Director of the Sleep Disorder's Center at Harrison Medical Center and Practice Administrator at Kitsap Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine in the greater Seattle metro area. With so many Asian cultures converging on the Pacific Northwest, I often am able to utilize my knowledge of Asian history, art, and literature to connect with so many people every day. Still today, I look back at my four years at KU in EALC department with fondness, joy and great memories."


Magdalena Lam, EALC B.A., Japanese, 2010

"I am studying Occupational Therapy at KU Med now. Having majored in Japanese language & culture really helps me to appreciate and see the beauty in foreign cultures more. Being in the healthcare field, I think this is important. At KU Med, we have had a few assignments and lectures about cultural diversities. In OT school, we have always been learning how to be client-centered. As a therapist, it is important to develop intervention plans that are compatible to clients' values and cultural background."

Dave Cornelius, EALC B.A., Japanese, 2009

"I’m working for ForTrade International in Lawrence, a company provides US procurement services for Japanese, Singaporean and other foreign customers.  My degree is incredibly pertinent to my everyday work.  Employers who work with Japanese customers recognize the very deep divide between American and Japanese business customs and seek out employees who have a cultural sensitivity towards the Japanese, because those employees will better understand how to accommodate the customer's needs and will tend to be more patient with the idiosyncrasies of Japanese business culture."


Brian Devine, EALC B.A., Korean, 2005

"After graduating, I moved to Seoul Korea and began working as an English Teacher. Living in the society that I studied throughout my time at KU and putting my language training to use, my undergraduate EALC education has been of great importance to me for sure. During my second year of teaching in Korea I continued to teach English and also took a position training other teachers how to connect with their students and adapt to their lives living in Korean society. After three years in Seoul, I have decided to take some time for myself to learn more about Asia by traveling through it. I have backpacked through China, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and I am on my way to India and Nepal in the coming months. Before I set out on this epic journey, I submitted applications to graduate programs at USC, Seattle University and University of Washington. I hope to return to America to begin a Master's program in Urban Education this Fall with intent to eventually promote cultural awareness in public schools."


Diana Buie, EALC B.A., Chinese, 2005

"I graduated in '05 with a BA in East Asian Language and Culture with an emphasis on Chinese. I taught English and continued to study Chinese in Shenzhen, China, for a year, did some traveling around Europe, and returned to China to find work in Beijing. I worked for Ludus Tours as a translator and tour guide during the 2008 Olympics and the months leading up to it. I am now back at the KU School of Education getting my license to teach Chinese."


Tarah Herrington, EALC B.A., Japanese, 2005

"During my senior year, I applied to the JET program to teach English in Japan and am proud to say I was accepted. I taught English for one year in Tomioka-machi, Gunma-ken. I then came home and did sales for a small start up company in Lawrence called "Thinkgeo". It is a GPS mapping and tracking company. I then decided I was ready to try a new adventure and move to a city in the US which happened to be Boston. I am now a "Tour Consultant" for EF Smithsonian Student Travel. I love giving students the opportunity to travel and possibly change their life forever!"


James Miller, ECON/EALC B.A. with Honors, Japanese, 1995

"I have specialized in technology and law, with experience and skills in U.S.-Japan public policy and business. I am now an Attorney Advisor in the Office of Engineering and Technology at the Federal Communications Commission focusing on wireless and internet regulatory matters. I am also an Adjunct Professor of Law of American University, Washington College of Law, 2004-2006 Mansfield Fellow, and past JET Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) Rotary Youth Exchange Fellow. I publish and do public speaking in Japanese and English for bureaucrats, "bengoshi" lawyers, and engineers alike on topics of technology, law, and international relations.

My work at the FCC focuses on with the regulation of spectrum, Internet policy, and emerging technologies. I have rulemaking experience in spectrum matters related to non-geostationary orbit fixed satellite service, terrestrial fixed and mobile services, software-defined and cognitive radio, and part 15 device certification, and intentional and unintentional radiators. I was a member of the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force, and has a strong legal background in copyright law and continues research in the area. As a Mansfield Fellow, I explored Japanese regulatory policies for the information society, particularly focusing on legal and regulatory reforms and spectrum policy, in the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Radio Policy Bureau (MIC), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Office of Senior-Vice Minister Yoshitaka SAKURADA, and the Tokyo District and High Court's Administrative Litigation and Intellectual Property Sections. I a graduated cum laude from the Washington College of Law, American University . I am bilingual in English and Japanese and live in Alexandria, VA with my wife and two children."


Chip Miller, M.A. in East Asian Studies, Chinese, 1986

Chip earned a PhD in marketing at the University of Washington, Seattle, 1990, and is now an international marketing professor at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

 


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