The Asian Studies Department Congratulates December 2018 Graduates!

Asian Studies students Fahim and KaylaIn December 2018, two of our students will celebrate the end of their Berea College journeys:

Fahim Baig ’18 (minor in Asian Studies, major in Economics) is exploring a number of postgraduate potions, one of which is developing his own freelance photography career. You can see Fahim’s work on his Instagram page.

Kayla Santos ’18 (major in Asian Studies) plans to return home to Portland, Oregon and seek employment while applying to Korean language schools in South Korea (where she studied at Berea’s exchange partner, Keimyung University) to increase her fluency in Korean. She has applied for a Critical Language Scholarship to support her continuing Korean language training.

We wish our December 2018 graduates nothing but the best.  さようなら! 작별! 再見! Farewell!

Dylan Hunziker ’14 Becomes Diplomat in Beijing

Dylan Hunziker ’14 Headshot

Dylan Hunziker ’14

The Asian Studies Department recently heard from Dylan Hunziker ’14, who has just received his first posting as a diplomat with the U.S. State Department: the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China!  Dylan, who traveled the Chinese-speaking world as a Watson Fellowship winner and completed his M.A. in Taiwan on a full scholarship after graduating from Berea, is excited about this auspicious beginning to his diplomatic career.  “In 2009, I got on my first plane to go to Beijing on scholarship to learn Chinese. My very first day there I lost my passport, and had to go to the U.S. Embassy to get a new one. I felt scared, stupid, and pathetic. Still, I remember as I left the embassy, I thought to myself that one day I would be back, working there,” says Dylan.  “Nine years later, it looks like that promise is coming true. Beijing has changed a lot over the past nine years; I have changed even more. I am excited to take on Beijing once again. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way.”

Aaron Meadows ’12 Studies Acupuncture in China

Aaron Meadows ’12 Studies Acupuncture in China

Aaron Meadows ’12 Studies Acupuncture in China

The Asian Studies Department recently heard from Aaron Meadows ’12, who now is enrolled in Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s graduate program in acupuncture. Prior to this, Aaron served in the U.S. Peace Corps in China for two years. In addition to studying for his master’s degree as an acupuncturist, Aaron also teaches English and edits Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Quarterly, an online publication devoted to promoting Chinese medicine and culture abroad. “I would be happy to assist current Berea students who may want to study abroad here,” says Aaron. “My school is very interested in jumping over the Great Wall that divides China form the West.”

Joseph Leis ’18 Connects Japan and America

Joseph Shinji

Joseph Shinji Leis ’18

The Asian studies Department recently heard from Joseph Shinji Leis ’18, who now works for Goken America, which serves clients in the automotive and aerospace industries, notably Honda Motor CompanyAlthough he originally was hired as a Japanese/English technical translator, his Portfolio has since expanded to include simultaneous Japanese/English interpretation, online journal writing, directing the company’s Japanese program, and teaching Japanese language. “My lack of engineering background and the industry jargon was a difficult hurdle to overcome in the beginning,” says Joseph, “but I now enjoy the more inter-relational aspects of my job, as I get to meet new people at every meeting at which I interpret and teach different business people who are preparing to go to Japan. I am grateful that I have a job that is related to what I studied, pays decently, impacts other’s lives for the better, and allows me to utilize my Japanese background.”

Joseph does not plan to remain in this field for the long term, however. With his brother, Benjamin Takeshi Leis ’22, Joseph has inaugurated a podcast about anime and manga entitled Tachi Yomi, which may be  heard on a variety of platforms such as iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. He also has developed an interest in chronicling the Japanese diaspora through a documentary film that will explore what it means to be “Japanese” through the eyes of ethnically-Japanese persons all over the world. Look for more news about this exciting project here over the next year or so!

Olivia Cundiff ’18 Puts Her Language Skills to Work

Olivia CundiffThe Asian Studies Department recently heard from Olivia Cundiff ’18, who has accepted a Japanese-speaking staff position with Kakou USA in Lexington, Kentucky. “The most important aspect of my new job is that I’m in an environment where I get to hear and speak Japanese daily, while also using my background in office work and sales,” says Olivia. “I really enjoy it!”

Molly Baker Halstead ’11 Returns to Campus as Curator

Molly Baker Halstead '11 (Dec. 2017)

Molly Baker Halstead ’11

The Asian Studies Department is delighted to welcome back to campus Molly Baker Halstead ’11, who will serve as Assistant Curator of the College Art Collections and Manager of the Doris Ulmann Galleries throughout the 2018-19 academic year.  Molly, who double-majored in Asian Studies and Art History, studied in Japan through the KIIS program and assisted visiting scholar Dr. Sandy Kita in cataloging rare Japanese items in the College’s Asian art collection during her years at Berea.  After three years of professional experience as Curator and Art Gallery Manager at Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia’s David L. Dickirson Gallery in her native West Virginia, Molly returned to Kentucky to complete her M.A. in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Kentucky.  We’re so happy to have you back, Molly!

Remembering Nobuko Patton

Professor Nobuko Patton speaking into a microphone

Professor Nobuko Patton

The Asian Studies Department is sad to report that former professor Nobuko Toda Patton, who taught Japanese at Berea College from 2009 to 2012, passed away on August 4, 2018 after a long illness.  She is survived by her husband, Professor Nathan Patton, her successor as Japanese language instructor at Berea.

Throughout her life, Patton-先生 went to extraordinary lengths to promote Japanese studies and instill a love of language, learning, and travel in students.  Her first profession was that of a distinguished and nationally-known radio and television presenter in her native Japan, but she later established a very successful second career as a teacher of Japanese language and culture.  Her joyful dedication and zest for life inspired countless Japanese language learners at Berea as well as at the University of Kentucky, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, and Jessie Clark Middle School and Scott County High School in Georgetown, Kentucky, where she and her husband made their home.  With her husband, she co-authored the acclaimed textbook, Beginning Japanese: Your Pathway to Dynamic Language Acquisition (Tuttle, 2010).

Her impact on Japanese studies in Kentucky and elsewhere was enormous, but perhaps nowhere more so than at Berea, where she played a crucial role in keeping the Japanese language program alive at a difficult and critical moment in the history of Berea’s Asian Studies Department.  At one point, she even offered to teach without receiving a salary if that would guarantee continuity of opportunity for Berea students to learn Japanese.  Fortunately, other means of preserving the program were found – again, largely as a result of her efforts.  Her loss is tragic and heartbreaking for all whose lives she touched, but her legacy is rich and enduring.

In honor of Nobuko Patton’s many contributions to the study of Japanese language at Berea, a memorial fund has been established.  Contributions to this fund will be used to continue and deepen her commitment to promoting Japanese studies at Berea.

There are two ways to contribute to the Fund.  Memorial donations may be sent by check to:

The Nobuko Patton Memorial Scholarship Fund
Berea College
CPO 2216
101 Chestnut Street
Berea, KY 40404

Donations also may be made online via the Berea College giving portal.  (Be sure to check “Other” under “What would you like your gift to support?” and enter “Nobuko Patton Memorial Scholarship Fund” in the space provided before completing the donation process.)

おくやみ もうしあげます。The faculty, students, and alumni of the Asian Studies Department offer their sincere condolences.


Kelly Williams ’07 Puts His Degree to Work in Asia

Kelly Williams '07 (Singapore, 2018)

Kelly Williams ’07

Kelly Williams ’07 has accepted a position as Head of Sales, Asia Pacific region, for the Switzerland-based industrial equipment company Proceq.  Currently, Kelly is pursuing his Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Manchester (England)’s Alliance Manchester Business School.  He expects to complete his MBA in December 2018 and remain based in Singapore, where he has lived for the past several years after relocating there from South Korea.  “I’m learning a lot,” says Kelly. “Not just commercially but [also in terms of] stakeholder management and working with diverse colleagues.” Congratulations on putting your Asian Studies degree to work so spectacularly, Kelly!

The Asian Studies Dept. Congratulates the Class of 2018!

Collage of Asian Studies Major Graduates

Asian Studies majors and minors graduating in May 2018 represent the largest and most diverse single cohort of such students in the history of the Asian Studies Department!  10 majors and 3 minors will leave us soon.  Here are their stories:


Elaine Barkley ’18 has accepted a position as an English language teacher with the highly competitive Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, following a long line of Berea College graduates in Asian Studies who have successfully competed for positions with JET.

Olivia Cundiff ’18 will spend this summer teaching English in China with Shinyway Global.  Afterwards, she plans to prepare for the GRE and graduate school in either Chinese or Japanese studies.

Regan Edonmi ’18 will return home to Knoxville, Tennessee to reunite with her beloved cats.  Having been awarded the Sarah Fuller Smith Prize Loom in recognition of her weaving skills this spring, she plans to set up her loom and start weaving.

Joseph Shinji Leis ’18 (double major in English) has accepted a position as a Japanese/English translator and interpreter with Goken America, in which capacity he will work with clients such as Honda.  After a few years, he plans to pursue graduate studies in International Relations, a field about which he became passionate as a result of his term of study abroad at Keimyung University in South Korea last year.

Morgan Lester ’18 plans to relocate to Buffalo, New York, seek employment there, and eventually pursue an academic career in Asian Studies.

Trisha Lucas ’18 (double major in English, minor in studio art/ceramics) will apply to Master of Fine Arts programs in ceramics and obtain her driver’s license.  She hopes to work in a ceramics studio in Japan someday.

Alexia Morris ’18 will return home to Childersburg, Alabama and seek employment there while reflecting upon her future goals and serving her community as a volunteer.

Lilia Mundelius ’18 will spend this summer mentoring high school students and teaching introductory Japanese language as a Tutor Counselor with Berea College’s Upward Bound program.  Afterwards, she plans to relocate to Boston, Massachusetts and work in the TESL field.

August Nye ’18 (double major in English) will return home to Brevard, North Carolina to work for a year before beginning graduate studies in library science.

Dylan Usher ’18 plans to take a year or two off to work, save money for graduate school, and think carefully about what he would like to do and where he would like to go with his education.


Tomas Flores ’18 (major in Chemistry) will return home to Loudon, Tennessee, obtain his driver’s license, and seek employment as a chemist before applying to graduate programs in Chemistry as well as the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

Hannah Musick ’18 (major in English) will return home to St. Louis, Missouri to pursue a career in convergence journalism while completing graduate studies in that field at the University of Missouri.

Jacy Stanford ’18 (major in English) will return home to Birmingham, Alabama.  She hopes to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.

We wish our 2018 graduates nothing but the best. さようなら!  작별!  再見!  Farewell!

Bereans in Asia, Summer and Fall 2018

BC in Asia with globeThe exodus of Bereans to Asia continues throughout this summer and into the fall!

  • 18 Berea College students, including Asian Studies majors Myles Crain, Dakota Martin, and Victoria Phillips as well as Asian Studies minor Rusty Dotson, will participate in the KIIS Japan program this summer with Professors Lauren McKee and Jeff Richey.
  • 2 will complete summer internships at the Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP) in Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture.
  • 5 will study in China, India, Japan, Malaysia, or Thailand this fall, including Asian Studies majors Jesse Paul, who will study in Shanghai, China, and Alyssa Vinson, who will study at Kansai Gaidai University in Ōsaka, Japan.

Many thanks to Ann Butwell and the Center for International Education for making our students’ dreams of studying and interning in Asia come true!  Congratulations and safe travels, everyone!