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!

Elaine Barkley ‘18 Accepted by JET Program

Elaine Barkley

Elaine Barkley ‘18 in Japan

Elaine Barkley ’18 has accepted a position as an English language teacher with the highly competitive Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program! Since 1987, nearly five thousand college and university graduates from all around the world have taught their native languages in Japan through the JET Program, which is administered by the Japanese government in cooperation with 38 other national governments.  Elaine, who spent her junior year studying at Kyūshū University in Japan, will join fellow Bereans Emerald Flannigan ’17,  Thaddieus McCall ’09, Sarah Resnick Reid ’11Nick Riley ’15Daniel West ’12, and Noah White ’13, all of whom also competed successfully for a position with JET.  Congratulations and おめでとう, Elaine!

Erica Berejnoi ’16 Wins Phi Kappa Phi Award

Erica Berejnoi

Erica Berejnoi ’16 is one of 100 recipients of Phi Kappa Phi’s 2017 Love of Learning Awards. These awards, bestowed by the United States’ oldest and most selective academic honor society, help fund post-baccalaureate professional development for active Phi Kappa Phi members. Erica, who studied in China during her undergraduate years at Berea, now is pursuing Ph.D. studies in Sustainability at Arizona State University. Congratulations, Erica!

Bereans in Asia, Spring 2018

BC in Asia with globe

The exodus of Bereans to Asia continues next term!

  • Dominique “Domo” Jenkins will continue his academic year at Kyūshū University in Japan.  Also in Japan next term will be Anthony Gluck at USAC Nagasaki as well as Ben Hall and Oscar Villalva-Camacho at Kansai Gaidai.
  • Next door in South Korea, Dorothy Coe and Kayla Santos will continue their academic year at Keimyung University.
  • Just a bit further away in China will be Katie Thompson, who will study in Shanghai next term.
  • Wade Rutherford will spend spring 2018 studying at Payap University in Thailand.

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

The Asian Studies Dept. Congratulates Samantha Blankenship ’17 and Tiara Washington ’17!

Samantha Blankenship ’17 (double major in Asian Studies and History) and Tiara Washington ’17, each of whom completed an internship at the Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP) in Japan during her time at Berea, are the Asian Studies Department’s December 2017 graduates. “Sam” plans to teach English in East Asia after first “taking a few months to catch [her] breath.” Eventually, she hopes to pursue master’s-level studies in creative writing and author and publish novels.  Following some time off, Tiara — who also completed one term of study at Keimyung University in South Korea — plans to attain business-level fluency in Korean and Japanese language through master’s-level studies in order to pursue her interest in international business opportunities related to South Korea and Japan.  We wish Sam and Tiara nothing but the best. さようなら! 작별! 再見! Farewell!

Jarrod Brown awarded three-year grant for SARI Project

Visiting professor and 2004 alumnus Jarrod Brown has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to support his research on environmental and agricultural ethics in Việt Nam’s Hòa Hảo Buddhist tradition.  Over the next three summers, Professor Brown, who is completing his Ph.D. in Asian philosophy at the University of Hawai’i and has been teaching at his alma mater in a sabbatical replacement capacity since fall 2015, plans to investigate Hòa Hảo Buddhist moral reasoning about environmental and agricultural issues, develop an environmental history of the three distinct Vietnamese communities that he studies, and produce an interactive map of the area based on interviews, photography and videography, high-resolution satellite imaging of changing land use patterns, and intensive field work.  “Happily for me,” Brown says, the project “allows me to seamlessly marry philosophy, religious studies, the study of Southeast Asia, and develop new pathways in the digital humanities.”  The project website may be visited at:

Bereans in Asia, 2017-18

So many Bereans will spend some or all of 2017-18 in Asia!

Dominique “Domo” Jenkins and Samantha Blankenship will intern at the Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP) in Japan this summer, after which Domo will spend the next academic year at Kyūshū University.

They won’t be the only Bereans in Japan this summer – Becca Sizemore and Dionysus “Dio” Yearout will study there with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies.

Next door in South Korea, Kayla Santos will spend the academic year at Keimyung University, to be joined in the fall term by Dorothy Coe and Eden Morley.

Brandon Pollock will study in China during fall term 2017, and the Berea College Country Dancers will tour China this summer.

Finally, both Layne Sinkhorn and Courtney Combs will study in India – Courtney this summer and Layne in the fall.

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

Bereans in Asia

The Asian Studies Program congratulates its graduating class of 2017!

Chantelle Bottom (major in Asian Studies) will pursue an M.S. in Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Ultimately, she hopes to work in a rural public library.

Taylor Brown (major in Asian Studies) plans to work in Berea for a little while after graduation.  She would like to give back to her community, whether it’s here in Berea or back home in Birmingham, Alabama.  Her long-term goal is to live somewhere where the snow never gets higher than her ankles and land a job that will allow her to travel fairly often.

Emerald Flannigan (major in Asian Studies) has accepted a position as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.  By helping young Japanese learners of English, she will immerse herself in Japanese society and serve as a cultural ambassador between Japan and her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.

Ethan Johnson (double major in Asian Studies and History) will pursue a J.D. at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, having received a full scholarship to study there. After completing his legal studies, he plans to use the intercultural communication skills he developed at Berea to help develop new ideas about the Appalachian region and its place in the world.

Shadia Prater (double major in Asian Studies and Computer Science) plans to remain in Berea for a year after graduation in order to save money in preparation for relocation to Japan, where she hopes to teach English for a time.  Her long-term goals include pursuing a graduate degree in Museum Studies and finding employment as a curator of Asian art and artifacts.

Logan Smith (double major in Asian Studies and Peace & Social Justice Studies) will relocate to Iceland shortly after graduation.  In addition to improving her Icelandic, she hopes to continue her work to combat human trafficking and aid refugees.  Her long-term goal is to establish her own organization that helps survivors of trauma.

(Note: every single one of these graduates studied in Asia during their Berea years.)

We wish all of our May 2017 graduates nothing but the best. さようなら!  작별!  再見!  Farewell!

Bereans in Japan, Spring 2017

KG students, Spring 2017As fall term 2016 nears its end, 5 Berea students are preparing to travel to Japan.  Trisha Lucas, Hannah Musick, August Nye, Jacy Stanford, and Dylan Usher all will study at Kansai Gaidai in Ōsaka during spring term 2017, making next term’s complement of Bereans there unusually large.  The Asian Studies Program is proud of these students and faculty and grateful for the invaluable assistance provided to them by our campus’ Center for International Education!