OSU Chinese Flagship Teams for 2010-15


2014-15 OSU Chinese Flagship Program Team

Nik Snyder

Adam Skov

Kristofer Sirevaag

2013-14 OSU Chinese Flagship Program Team

William Carr

Briun Greene

Tina Li

Mack Lorden

Nicholas Pochedly

Joel Poncz

2012-13 OSU Chinese Flagship Program Team

Erin Elsbernd

Emma Karp

Cassandra Olson

Michael Porter

Bradley Roberts

Joseph Sarver

Sterling Weiser

2011-12 OSU Chinese Flagship Program Team

Henry Abbott

Henry's Graduate Thesis was Chinese Urban Youths and Hollywood Blockbusters

Paul Case

Joseph Helbing

Joseph's Graduate Thesis was Internationalization of the Renminbi Currency : Economic Factors Analysis, a Comparison with the Yen and German Mark and America’s Supporting Role

Mary Kate Hill

Paul Mann

Paul's Graduate Thesis was Chinese Law Regarding International NGOs and Its Implementation: The Ford Foundation and Greenpeace

2010-11 OSU Chinese Flagship Program Team

Evan Brooks


Evan Brooks.

Hometown: Chillicothe, Ohio
Undergraduate College: The Ohio State University
Undergraduate Major: Journalism
Area of Interest: Chinese News Culture
Interests: reading, writing, kung fu, traveling

I didn't have much exposure to other cultures growing up in a small, southern Ohio town, but by the time I entered college, I encountered all the new experiences I could dream of. Nevertheless, I wasn't satisfied.

On top of pursuing an undergraduate degree in journalism at OSU, I decided to further cultivate myself by studying kung fu. Later, an academic advisor recommended taking classes in Mandarin. Although Chinese isn't easy to learn, it still intrigued me. I accepted the advice, because I figured at least it would help my understanding of kung fu. Also, I imagined myself in the future writing news about China.

After graduation, I taught English at Qingdao University for two years while trying to secure a reporting job on the Mainland. I didn't do my research, though. Becoming a journalist in China, especially a foreign reporter, involves a few more obstacles than writing news in the States. Subsequently, I returned to Columbus to become a reporter. Now the Flagship program is leading me to achieve goals that couldn't be farther away from a small town in southern Ohio.

Evan's Graduate Thesis was The Adaptive Media Strategy of Greenpeace in China.
Learn more about Evan from his LinkedIn Profile.

Alexandra Draggeim


Alexandra Draggeim.

Hometown: Falls Church, Virginia
Undergraduate College: University of Virginia
Undergraduate Major: Echols Interdisciplinary Major (philology), French minor
Area of Interest: Chinese linguistics, neologisms, Chinese dialects, Chinese linguistic geography, comparative linguistics (English-Chinese, Russian-Chinese, French-Chinese, German-Chinese).
Interests: swimming, piano, ballroom dancing, traveling

I studied Chinese for three years in high school and for three semesters at the University of Virginia before receiving the Boren Scholarship to travel to Beijing, where I studied during the 2009-2010 academic year at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP) at Tsinghua University. Over the course of the year, I not only studied Chinese intensively but also traveled widely to cities such as Xi’an, Harbin, Hohhot, Tianjin, Yinchuan, Chengdu, Changsha, Anyang, and Taipei.

I am interested in areas such as Chinese linguistics, neologisms, Chinese dialects, Chinese linguistic geography, and comparative linguistics. I hope to be able to use Chinese in my professional career.

I have a strong language background in several languages. Bilingual in Russian and English and fluent in French and German, I graduated from the University of Virginia in August 2010 with an Echols Interdisciplinary Major in philology, having taken two years of Latin, senior- and graduate-level courses in French and German, and several courses in linguistics.

In 2010 I worked as a summer intern in the Bureau International Informations Programs (IIP)at the U.S. Department of State. I worked for both the Russian and Chinese teams, writing articles on Russian-American relations which were published on the IIP website, updating the State Department’s Russian-language Facebook page, and contributing blog entries to IIP’s Chinese-language blog as a guest blogger.

English Resume [doc]

Alexandra's Graduate Thesis was Internet Slang and China's Social Culture: A Case Study of Internet Users in Guiyang

Erin Greenwalt


Erin Greenwalt.

Hometown: Chantilly, Virginia
Undergraduate College: University of Virginia
Undergraduate Major: Chinese Language & Literature
Area of Interest: Corporate Training
Interests: Languages, Music, Cooking, Sports

Different cultures and languages have always interested me; however I didn’t get the opportunity to study Chinese until beginning college. Once I began studying Chinese I was obsessed, fascinated not only with the Chinese language, but also with the culture and with China’s future. My studies in Chinese were interrupted for several years, but after graduation I was able to come back to China and teach English to university students.

While teaching in China for three years, I had numerous opportunities to travel around China, better understand Chinese culture, and especially better understand my students and how to improve my teaching methods to suit my students’ needs. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, I still was acutely aware that I needed more advanced training in the Chinese language and system if I wanted to integrate into Chinese society. I am particularly interested in education and desire to research education techniques in corporate training, specifically at joint-ventures in China.

English Resume [docx]

Alexandra's Graduate Thesis was Factors Influencing Chinese Consumer Choice of English Training Schools
Learn more about Alexandra from her LinkedIn Profile

David Young


David Young.

Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Undergraduate College: The Ohio State University
Undergraduate Major: Chinese, International Relations & Diplomacy
Area if Interest: China’s Contemporary Value Systems: Prospects for the Future
Interests: Languages, Cooking, Taekwondo, Kungfu, Guitar, and Reading

I started practicing martial arts from a very young age and quickly developed an interest in Chinese culture. However, I didn’t begin studying Chinese language until my second year in college. In addition, because of my interest in international diplomacy and peace studies, my interest Chinese language and culture only grew.

After studying Chinese for a year at the Ohio State University I was awarded the Boren Scholarship to travel to Taipei, where I studied during the 2008-2009 academic year at the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) at National Taiwan University. During the year, I not only rigorously studied Chinese but also was lucky enough to travel to cities such as Taichung, Tainan, Danshui, Kenting, and Kaohsiung. Afterwards I traveled to Qingdao’s Ocean University where I continued to hone my language skills.

I am currently enrolled in the NSEP Chinese Flagship Program at the Ohio State University studying intensive Chinese with an emphasis on researching China’s contemporary value systems and their social and political impact on China’s future.

English Resume [pdf]

David's Graduate Thesis was Confucian Thought In Contemporary China: Trends & Circumstance Xiandai Zhongguo Ruxue Sixiang Zhi Xiangzhuan Yu Qushi Yanjiu.
Learn more about David from his LinkedIn Profile.

Michael Hegedus


Michael Hegedus.

Hometown: Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey
Undergraduate College: The College of William and Mary
Undergraduate Major: Music, Chinese
Graduate College: The Florida State University
Graduate Major: Music Composition
Area of Interest: Arts Administration
Interests: Traditional Chinese Music, Writing, Cooking, Photography, Outdoors

My attraction to China and foreign culture in general is owed to my rich experiences growing up in the New York metropolitan area. I began Chinese language study as a prerequisite for a major in Spanish and liked it so much that I ended up minoring in Mandarin instead. My biggest passion aside from foreign culture is music. When I began graduate studies in music composition, I was thrilled to find out that there was a Chinese music ensemble. I immediately joined and have been studying the gu-zheng (a Chinese zither) ever since.

After obtaining my masters degree, I moved to Austin, Texas, and spent five years building a foundation of administrative skills on staff with Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services at the University of Texas. At the same time, I enjoyed Austin's vibrant arts scene and joined the music community as both an educator and performer. My eventual goal is to combine my background in organizational administration with my love for the arts and foreign culture. There is an increasing need for professionals in China capable of managing programs in cultural preservation and exchange, and I am confident that OSU's Chinese Flagship program will prepare me for this career path.

Chinese Resume [doc]
English Resume [doc]

Michael's Graduate Thesis was The Effect of Public Organizations in Developing the Ethnic Minority Folk Song of Guizhou, China.
Learn more about Michael from his LinkedIn Profile.

Jack Kamensky


Jack Kamensky.

Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
Undergraduate College: The College of William and Mary
Undergraduate Major: Government and Chinese
Area of Interest: The Effects of Urbanization in China
Interests: Martial Arts, Chinese, Exercise, Drawing, Traveling

I have been interested in China because of martial arts ever since high school, but I did not start studying Chinese language until my second year of university, and even this was entirely on a whim. After having the opportunity to study abroad in Beijing at Tsinghua University during the summer and fall semester of my junior year though, I became fascinated with both Chinese language and culture. This experience led me to pursue Chinese as one of my majors. In fact, this experience made me so captivated by China that I returned to Beijing the following year to teach English and travel. As I studied the language more, I only became more interested, and after graduation, I went to study Mandarin for a year at Sichuan University in Chengdu under a Chinese government scholarship. In Chengdu, I made big strides in both my Wushu and language abilities. With the goal of continuing to improve my Chinese fluency and attaining the capacity to work as a professional in a Chinese language environment, I am now currently enrolled as a student in Ohio State’s Chinese Flagship Program, with China’s urbanization as my domain area of study. Never before in history has urbanization occurred on the scale and speed at which it is happening in China, and I feel truly lucky to have this opportunity to research the effects that this is having on different aspects of life in China.

English Resume [doc]

Jack's Graduate Thesis was Research on the Protection of Chinese Farmers’ Land Rights During Land Expropriation

Simran Khaira


Simran Khaira.

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Undergraduate College: The Ohio State University
Undergraduate Major: Chinese
Area of Interest: Fine Arts (Painting)
Interests: Painting, Chinese Language, Martial Arts, Travel

Throughout my time as an Undergraduate student at Ohio State University, I was actively involved in the Dragon Phoenix Wushu Team, a student run martial arts club. I began taking Chinese language classes my sophomore year, because my interest in Chinese culture grew as I continued practicing wushu. Since then I have been taking Mandarin classes for almost 3 years total. I have also spent 3 months in China, travelling to Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, and various cities around Shandong Province. During the majority of this time I was intensively studying Mandarin.

Aside from Chinese language and culture I am also very interested in Chinese art, particularly painting. This comes from my own love of painting, and from spending 3 years working at OSU’s Fine Arts Library.

At present I am a member of the OSU Chinese Flagship Program, where I intend to further my knowledge of Chinese language, culture, and arts.

English Resume [docx]

Simran's Graduate Thesis was The Decline and Revival of Chinese Picture Books

Teresa Kim


Teresa Kim.

Hometown: Marysville, OH
Undergraduate College: Miami University (Oxford, OH)
Undergraduate Major: Political Science (Minor: Chinese)
Area of Interest: Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies:Sino-Japanese Relations
Interests: Foreign languages (spoken, film, and music), travel, learning, and comedy

My belief in diplomacy met my deep interest in East Asian cultures and languages when I began taking Mandarin courses my first year at Miami University. I had originally planned on furthering my studies in Spanish but after speaking with an advisor, I was alerted to the great need for proficient Mandarin and Arabic speakers in U.S federal government departments. Interestingly, all courses in Spanish or Arabic at my level were closed out during registration. I had no clue at the time what sort of journey I was about to embark on. Studying abroad in Beijing, China for a year through the NSEP David L. Boren Scholarship opened my eyes to a completely different world perspective.

I would like my studies and future career to contribute to cross-cultural learning. In today’s world with increasing interactions across borders, the importance of solving disputes and conflicts peacefully and in a mutually beneficial way is self-evident. I hope to help bring the Chinese and East Asian perspective on such issues regarding peace and conflict resolution to the existing dialogue.

Chinese Resume [docx]

Teresa's Graduate Thesis was Survey in Qingdao: The role of “Mianzi” (face) and “Renqing” (benevolence) in Sino-Japanese Relations

Lindsay O'Rourke


Lindsay O'Rourke.

Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Undergraduate College: Brigham Young University
Undergraduate Major: French Studies
Area of Interest: Cross-Cultural Communications: Specifically I am studying missionary efforts throughout history among minority groups as a case study for understanding cross-cultural communications.
Interests: Outdoor Sports, basketball, Volleyball, Piano, traveling, learning other cultures

During my undergraduate studies in French language and culture, I had the opportunity to understand the French though history, art, literature, drama, music, film, and the modern media. I had opportunities to interact with natives and spend my time performing in the culture. However it wasn’t just at school that I found myself in deep “studies” about the French. It surprised me to observe similar reactions to the word “French” from a wide range of people who knew little or nothing of the culture and yet could speak of it with such intensity of feeling. Needless to say, I have spent many breaths rescuing and interpreting the French for the unlearned. Though I do not agree with the French on everything, I can at least understand where they are coming from. Following such conversations I often thought to myself, if western people have this hard of a time understanding and communicating with each other, there must be a long way to go before we can adequately cross the cultural gap between the West and the East.

A mission I served in Kaohsiung and Taichung, Taiwan taught me just how great a gap really does exist between the West and the East. It seemed almost laughable at times, that a 21-year old, tall, white girl, relatively inexperienced in the world, and with limited Chinese ability could achieve success as a missionary in a predominantly Buddhist, Taoist culture. As the language became less of a barrier and more of a tool, people began to pay more attention to what I had to say, rather then how I said it. However, once I passed that hurdle, a new realization of a set of unfamiliar cultural patterns of behavior became important to my success. The obstacles for earning the trust of the people in spite of my ignorance were glaring to say the least, but lessened with the support of a native companion. The intimate cultural insights that I gained near the end of my mission from my native co-workers confirmed the necessity of not only speaking the language, but also the culture as well. Since returning from my mission, is has been my goal to refine my Chinese language abilities and understanding of Chinese culture in order to facilitate cross-cultural communications between China and the West.

English Resume [pdf]

Kevin Slaten


Kevin Slaten.

Hometown: Bainbridge, Ohio
Undergraduate College: The Ohio State University
Undergraduate Major: Political Science and Sociology
Area of Interest: Chinese Contentious Politics and Labor
Interests: Weightlifting, writing articles, reading, poetry

In the summer of 2005, before I began college, I read a book called The World’s Religions by Huston Smith. In one chapter, he detailed Confucianism’s tenets, rise, and influence on Chinese history. This chapter not only inspired me to be a better person, but it also piqued my interest in China sufficiently that I decided, at The Ohio State University, to take courses in Chinese history and Chinese language.

However, my primary majors at OSU were political science and sociology. In the former, I focused on international relations, and in the latter, I maintained a focus in social movement theory. The intersection of these majors and China came by way of trends. In my international relations studies, China was a constant factor in all future trends. Moreover, China is undergoing a rate of transformation hitherto unseen in world history. Taken together, this makes China a particularly important and interesting subject of study.

Based on this determination, I competed for and won a position as a Junior Fellow in the China Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from August 2008 until July 2009 in Washington D.C. During this year, I learned a great deal about Chinese politics and society. But just as importantly, I learned that to truly understand China, I needed to more fully learn to communicate in the culture.

Therefore, I applied for and was awarded a 2009-2010 Fulbright Grant to teach English in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Outside of my responsibilities as a teacher, my primary goal was to improve my Chinese through regular communication with locals and self-study. This was effective enough to gain me admission into OSU’s Flagship Program, where I am focusing in Chinese labor politics.

After the master program, I plan to pursue a PhD in Chinese Politics. Ultimately, I will work as a diplomat, where I hope to put my Chinese understanding to good use fostering better relations between our two great nations.

English Resume [doc]

Kevin's Graduate Thesis was Obscure Terrain: The Rights Defense of Qingdao Internal Migrant Workers
Learn more about Kevin from his LinkedIn Profile

Shu Yi Yuan

Nicholas Holtkamp

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio (俄亥俄州克利夫兰市)
Undergraduate College: The Ohio State University (俄亥俄州立大学)
Undergraduate Major: Economics (经济学), Chinese (汉语)
Area of Interest: Population Economics (人口经济学), Demography (人口学)
Interests: Making movies (拍电影), Playing the harmonica (吹口琴)

I first came to China through its language. I’ve studied a number of languages, with a focus on Latin and Italian, however it was only when I began to study Mandarin in college that I took a step outside of Romance languages. I chose to study Mandarin due to an attraction to the language itself, and a feeling that in my lifetime China was an important story to try to understand. To understand it though, I needed to first understand it in its own language, linguistically and culturally.

It wasn’t until I spent my first summer in China studying Mandarin that I discovered how hard it was to reach that understanding; I felt that I had landed in a gap of miscommunication. However, I also discovered that it was my opportunity to help sew the edges of that gap together.

I hope to do so by building on my background in economics and game theory to study China’s population trends. In addition, I hope to use my language ability to share my interests, such as making movies and playing the harmonica, with others so as to invite others to also share what’s important to them. Fundamental to achieving this goal is the ability to accommodate others before they need to accommodate me. I hope that my capacity to achieve this will continue to improve not only as I study within the Flagship Program over the next two years, but also wherever my Chinese studies take me afterwards.

我学习汉语是因为我喜欢语言。我学过很多语言,特别是拉丁语与意大利语,但是汉语是我学习的第一种 非罗马语。我选择学习汉语的原因有两个:第一是我 对汉语本身感兴趣,第二是我认为在我的生活中,了解中国、学习中国是很重要的。但是要实现这一目标,我必须先尝试了解中国的语言和文化。


我 希望能通过我的经济学和对策论的背景来研究中国的人口趋势,并借这个研究来消除隔阂。另外,我希望我能用汉语来跟别人分享我的爱好,比如拍电影与 吹口琴,同时也请别人跟我分享对他们很重要的事情。主要是我要具备在他人需要来适应我之前先去适应他人的能力。我希望这种能力不仅可以在我参与旗舰工程项 目的未来两年中得到改善,而且能在这之后学习汉语的过程中不断提高。

Nicholas' Graduate Thesis was China’s Economic "Imbalances" Through the Flow of Funds Tables, 2000-2009.
Learn more about Nicholas from his LinkedIn Profile.

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