Sona Apbasova ’15 Wins Scholarship to Study in Germany and Georgia

Sona Apbasova

Sona Apbasova ’15 with Turkmenistan flag shirt.

Congratulations to Sona B. Apbasova ’15, who has been awarded a prestigious Deutscher Akademischer Austasch Dienst (DAAD) scholarship to pursue graduate studies in Germany and Georgia!  In partnership with the Civil Society Leadership Award (CSLA) scholarship program, DAAD is fully funding Sona’s intensive German language studies in Berlin this summer before sending her to Tbilisi, Georgia to complete CSLA’s Summer School program at Caucasus University.  At summer’s end, Sona will return to Berlin for more German language training and then begin her two-year master’s program in international relations at Katholische Universitaet in Eichstätt, Germany.   Sona’s deep interests in Central Asia, cross-cultural exchanges, and Europe’s connection to regions further east will be well-supported by these opportunities.  The Asian Studies program is very proud of your accomplishments and excited about your future, Sona!

Bereans in Asia in 2016-17

BC in Asia with globeAs the 2015-16 academic year draws to a close, 17 Berea students and 1 Berea faculty member soon will be either traveling to or from East Asia, including many Asian Studies majors and minors! As Emerald Flannigan ’17 and Logan Smith ’17 return from their year of study at Kyūshū University in Fukuoka, Japan, Elaine Barkley ’18, Regan Edonmi ’18, and Lilia Mundelius’18 will be heading off to take their place as Berea’s exchange students there for the 2016-17 academic year. In spring 2017, they will be joined in Japan by Angela Reinhard ’18, who will study at Kansai Gaidai in Ōsaka, just as Shadia Prater ’17 has been doing throughout spring 2016.  Olivia Cundiff ’18 will spend more than half of 2016 in Japan – first by interning at KEEP in Yamanashi Prefecture, and then by spending fall term studying in Akita.  Also traveling to Japan this summer are seven Berea students, including Asian Studies majors Chantelle Bottom’17, Taylor Brown ’17, and Morgan Lester ’18, as well as Professor Jeff Richey, all of whom will participate in the KIIS Japan program.  Finally, two students will spend fall 2016 in South Korea: Nancy Gilliam ’18 at Konkuk University in Seoul and Joseph Shinji Leis ’18 at Keimyung University in Daegu.  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 and Office of Internships!

Congratulations, May 2016 Graduates!


AST Class of 2016 collageThe Asian Studies Program congratulates its May 2016 graduates!

Jennie Adams (major) plans to take a year off from formal studies while continuing to develop her Japanese language skills. By the end of that year off, she hopes to be working in Asia or enrolled in a graduate program.

Erica Berejnoi (double major with Business Administration) has been accepted by the M.S. program in Sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU), where she will begin her graduate studies in fall 2016. At ASU, she will serve as a research assistant, helping to implement sustainability practices and enhance quality of life in underdeveloped neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona as well as in her native Bolivia. She also plans to continue her Chinese studies at ASU with the goal of returning to China following graduate school in order to help implement sustainability practices there.

Christine Gilbert-Crawford (double major with Sociology) plans to defer enrollment in graduate school in order to polish her Japanese language skills and pursue employment opportunities in the field of international education. Within one year, she hopes to be working in Asia or preparing for entry into a master’s program, either of which should help prepare her for career success in a culturally-diverse environment.

Emilee Rubio (double major with Psychology) is in the process of applying for case management positions in the field of disability services. In the near future, she hopes to relocate to Columbus, Ohio and find work with a non-profit organization in order to gain more experience and broaden her interests before undertaking graduate studies.

Derek Thompson (double major with Computer Science) is seeking employment opportunities related to computer hardware repair or programming. After a year of working stateside and saving money, he hopes to relocate to Japan or South Korea to teach English for a time.

Haleigh George (minor; major in Computer Science) is seeking employment in the fields of computer security or software engineering, preferably in a city located on the East Coast. There, she plans to live happily with her sister and her kitten.

James Sickels (minor; major in Music) plans to relocate to Colorado, where he will dedicate the next year to gaining work experience, traveling, and discerning his next move in life. His eventual goal is a master’s degree in music.

We wish all of our May 2016 graduates nothing but the best. さようなら! 작별! 再見! Farewell!

New Professor of Chinese Joins Faculty

Dr. Jianfen WangThe Asian Studies and Foreign Languages programs are delighted to announce that Dr. Jianfen Wang will join our faculty in fall 2016 as an assistant professor of Chinese and Asian Studies.   Dr. Wang, a native of China’s Hunan province, recently completed her Ph.D. at Ohio State University, whose Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures is well-known for its excellence in the field of Chinese language pedagogy.  In addition to teaching Chinese language, Dr. Wang will offer courses on Chinese culture, including a course on Chinese mythology during the fall 2016 term.  Huānyíng欢迎 and welcome to Dr. Wang!

Daniel West ’12 Accepted by JET Program

Daniel West

Daniel West ’12 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.  Daniel has been teaching English at private institutions in Japan since 2013, so he will bring a great deal of hard-won experience and expertise to his work with JET.  He will join fellow Bereans Celeste Lee ’04, Nick Riley ’15, Amber Welch ’14, and Noah White ’13, all of whom currently hold appointments as English teachers in Japan.  Congratulations and おめでとう, Daniel!

Aja Croteau ’16 Finalist for JET Program


Aja Croteau '16Aja Croteau ’16 has been offered an interview for a position with the highly competitive Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program!  Since 1987, approximately 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.  If successful, Aja will join more than 2,600 Americans (including several Berea College graduates) who have successfully competed for positions in Japanese schools with JET.  Congratulations, Aja!

Tristan Lee Riven ’06 Gets His Game On

Video game designer and entrepreneur Tristan Lee Riven ’06 and his Korean collaborator, artist Kim Minho, recently released their first jointly-designed video game.  It’s a horror-themed survival adventure that is set in a South Korean high school and entitled The Coma. You can purchase the game online from Steam. Tristan remains active in the video game industry from his current home base of Kota Kinabalu in east Malaysia. Congratulations on this exciting new venture, Tristan!

The Coma, Tristan Lee Riven

Ken Johnson ’09 Joins Defense Department

Ken Johnson '09Ken Johnson ’09 has accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Contract Management Agency, in which he will help manage contracts related to the U.S. Army. As of October 2015, he will be based in the Fort Lee, Virginia area.

Ken, who earned a J.D. at the University of Kentucky and taught English as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia following the completion of his Berea education (which included study abroad in East Asia), says, “The hiring supervisor told me that she chose me for my background as a whole. So my law degree was likely instrumental, but so were my Fulbright and undergrad term abroad experiences…. [W]hat opened the door to law school (and by connection, Fulbright) was the critical thinking and writing skills development that I learned in Berea. That helped me compete, and do fairly well, in a law school class where my standardized test score was below the 25th percentile for my entering class.”

Congratulations, Ken!  It’s great to watch you succeed.

Emily Morgan ’11 Returns to China

Emily MorganCongratulations to Emily Morgan ‘11, who has accepted a position with an educational venture in historic Xi’an, China (capital of 13 ancient dynasties)!  Emily previously taught English in nearby Yuncheng and recently has been employed by Weiming Education Group, a U.S.-China partnership that places Chinese students in American high schools in order to help them prepare for admission to U.S. colleges and universities. Gōngxǐ gōngxǐ 恭喜恭喜!

Nicole Watson ’15 to Work with Chinese Students

Nicole WatsonCongratulations to Nicole Watson ‘15, who has accepted a position with the Weiming Education Group, a U.S.-China partnership that places Chinese students in American high schools in order to help them prepare for admission to U.S. colleges and universities!  Nicole will serve as a resident assistant working with approximately 70 students in Troy, Michigan.