Featured Students and Alumni

Special congratulations to the following 2021 Graduating Seniors!

Phi Beta Kappa:  Folarin Bandele, Atia Cole, Mobin Hedayati, Ellen Larson, Hannah Lyons, and Ling O’Donoghue.

Distinction in Asian Studies:  Christy Graber, Mobin Hedayati, Grace LaNasa, Hannah Lyons, Max Sheck,  and Nina Vang.

Distinction in Chinese:  Folarin Bandele, Jade Larson, Anna O’Donoghue, Michelle Phung, and Maxwell Rubin.

National Collegiate Chinese Honor Society: Emma Boyer, Duyen Ha, Jade Larson, Ling O’Donoghue, Xiu Ling Stein-Leonard, Eh Hser Nay Taw, Henry Wortman, and Dezra Young.

Japanese National Honor Society: Rin Culhane, Christy Graber, Hannah Lyons, and Max Sheck.

Recent Student Achievements

Hana Anderson ’20 has won a James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for Japan.  She is the first Ole to win one of the twelve coveted positions that are awarded annually.  Kudos to Hana!

Emily Cerimele ’23 and Mila New ’22 have received the Critical Language Scholarship for Chinese study in 2021.  Gus Emmons ’23  and Gkao Xiong ’23 have been selected as alternates.  CLS is a highly competitive national award for intensive language study, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, and these four outstanding students have earned our congratulations!

Jay Xiong ’10  serves in the Minnesota House of Representatives representing district 67B.  Graduating  with  an  Asian  Studies  major  from  St.  Olaf,  he has  been  an  important   advocate  for  his  Asian  American  constituents.

Alison Curry ’19 is conducting air quality research in Beijing, China, with support from the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE). To learn more about her research, click here.

Kyle Oberman ’14 is a conservation photographer and author who has produced a stunning spread in The National Geographic in which he speaks about China’s national park system and the difficulties of balancing conservation and the tourism industry.

Accolades to the following students who are pursuing further graduate studies and internships!

  • Grace LaNasa ’21, Asian Studies/History majors, will begin a Masters of Film Studies program at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Hana Anderson ’20, Chinese, Japanese and Political Science majors, has won the Gaither Junior Fellowship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for Japan in 2021.
  • Christopher Steene ’20, English/Women and Gender Studies majors (Japanese Studies concentration), will join the JET program in Japan for a year and has been accepted into a Ph.D program at the University of Chicago.
  • Sofia Reed ’20, Chinese/Women and Gender Studies majors, will begin a Masters program in International and Regional Studies at the University of Michigan.
  • Shuqing Guo ’20, Asian Studies/Economics majors,  will begin a Masters program in East Asian Studies, Duke University.
  • Shan Chen ’20, Japanese/Math majors, will begin a Masters in Science , Computational Linguistics program at Brandeis University.
  • Jiashan Song ’20, Asian Studies/Japanese/Economics majors,  will begin a graduate program at the University of Washington.
  • Hans Shen ’20, Asian Studies/Chinese majors, will begin the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
  • Camille Gonzalez ’20, Asian Studies/Sociology-Anthropology/Art History majors, will begin the International Chinese Language Program at the National Taiwan University.
  • George Arbanas ’20, Asian Studies/Japanese majors, will begin a LABO Internship in Japan.
  • Hannah Sorenson ’19, Chinese/Political Science majors (Asian Studies concentration), will begin a Masters program in International Studies at John Hopkins-Nanjing.
  • Adam Weiss ’19, Political Science major, will begin a Masters program in Social Sciences at the University of Chicago.
  • Keya Yan ’18, is pursuing a Ph.D. in Chinese Art History.
  • Serena Calcagno ’17, Biology major, has received a Huayu Fellowship to study Chinese in Taiwan.
  • Meena Wainright ’17, will begin a Masters program in Linguistics at the University of Hawai’i.
Fulbright Grantees

Congratulations to the following students for recently receiving Fulbright awards!

  • Julianne Stewart ’20 (Alternate): She majored in Asian Studies and Chinese at St. Olaf.
  • Jamie Mosel ’12:  Second Fulbright to study ecology at the University of Hokkaido.  She majored in Biology and History (Japanese Studies concentration) and is about to finish her Ph.D in the Natural Resources Science & Management Program at the University of Minnesota.
  • Melanie Thompson ’19: Fulbright to do research in China on the environment with Renmin University of China.  She majored in Asian Studies with a Film Studies concentration.
  • Joseph Janik Miller ’19:  Fulbright English  Teaching Assistant in Indonesia.  He was an economics and political science major.
  • Teiana Nakama ’19:  Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Taiwan.  At St. Olaf, she majored in race and ethnic studies and religion with a concentration in educational studies.
  • Chamee Vang ’19:  Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Tailand.  She majored in English with concentrations in education studies, race and ethnic studies and linguistics and holds a ESL license ad TEFL certificate.
  • Maddie Maccam ’18:  Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Laos.  She majored in instrumental and vocal music education at St. Olaf and plans a career in education or law.
  • Olivia Sullivan ’18: Study/Research Award in China. Sullivan will investigate possible correlations between prenatal maternal behaviors and risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) development in children in Tianjin, China. She will join an existing research team analyzing data from Tianjin Women and Children’s Health Center, and will use observations, interviews, and data analysis to fill the research gap that exists on ASD in Asia. Sullivan was a Chinese and biology major with an education concentration.
  • Serena Calcagno ’17: English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan. Calcagno was a biology major.
  • Mari McClelland ’16: Study/Research Award in China. McClelland conducted research on forest tenure and national forest policy in China. In 2015, she was named a Udall Scholar for demonstrating leadership, public service and commitment to the environment. McClelland was an Asian Studies and Environmental Studies major.
  • Cameron Rylander ’16: English Teaching Assistant in South Korea. He furthered his experience by engaging in K-pop dance performance and studying traditional Korean cuisine. Rylander was an Asian Studies major.
China Fellows

Aubrey Olson ’18 and Hannah Matecko-Conti ’18 are this year’s China Fellow Interns, serving as college-level English instructors at East China Normal University in Shanghai. They write: “Our classes are going great so far! We are all settled in (paperwork/legalities included). We have also been keeping in touch with the St. Olaf students [studying abroad] here, and they seem to be doing well.” Olson was a biology major and Chinese Studies concentrator and Matecko-Conti was a Chinese major.


Alumni: we want to hear from you! Please fill out this short survey about your time since graduation.

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Through the Piper Center, students can find more information about life after graduation from St. Olaf. They have prepared resources profiling recent alumni from the Asian Studies program, including representative First Destinations and alumni contact information.

See below for some information on what Asian Studies alumni have been up to since their time at St. Olaf.

Alumni By Decade


Above: Asian Studies alumni meeting up in Tokyo, 2017

See what Asian Studies department graduates have been up to in their careers!