The Asian Languages and Cultures Graduation and Awards Ceremony was held this year on Friday, May 3 in the Rackham Graduate School. Over 150 faculty, staff, students, and family members attended to recognize those who were receiving department awards or graduated as part of the class of 2019.

The ceremony began by acknowledging promising students within each of our language programs. These students stood out amongst their peers in both their academic and extracurricular pursuits. The 2019 language award recipients were:


Chinese Language               

Donovan Orow and Sara Marietta Swords                       


South Asian Language

Ruma Deb (Bengali)

Stephen Vu (Hindi)

Camryn Gill (Punjabi)

Ross Bernhaut (Sanskrit)

Mishaal Yazdani (Urdu)


Japanese Language

Adam Bowen and Sakila Islam

Korean Language

Rachel O

Southeast Asian Language

Lloyd Mercier (Filipino)

Natasha Supatra (Indonesian)

Catalina Kaiyoorawongs (Thai)

Jennifer Nguyen (Vietnamese)



Department faculty, including Department Chair Susan Juster, were proud to announce the winners of the following awards:
  • The eighth annual Philip Thomas Lincoln, Jr. Memorial Endowment to Katherine Dimmery, a Modern Chinese Literature PhD Student. This fellowship is named for a 1963 LSA graduate, Philip Lincoln, Jr., who was a career diplomat with the U.S. State Department from 1966 to 1996. He dedicated his life to the betterment of relations between the United States and the countries of Asia, especially China. The Lincoln Fellowship is given to one ALC graduate student a year to assist in funding a proposed research trip abroad. This award is being used by Katherine to further assist her field work in Baidi to study the practices of the Naxi of Yunnan - specifically focusing on the difficult and charismatic dongba script. 
  • Danielle Sarns, a graduating Asian Studies senior, was recognized as the 2019 Charles and Myrl Hucker Essay Award recipient. The Charles and Myrl Hucker Award was created a tribute to the scholarly and collegial legacy left behind by Charles O. Hucker, a Professor of Chinese in the department from 1965-1983. It also recognizes the great support and friendship he received from his wife, Myrl. The Hucker Award is given annually for the best China-focused essay written in an Asian Languages and Cultures course.
  • Ruby MacDougall, a Chinese Performance Culture Ph.D. student, was recognized as the 2019 Charles and Myrl Hucker Research Award recipient. This award recognized a graduate student in the area of Chinese Studies. Ruby will use this award to conduct an innovative research trup to Yunnan, China to study how gender intersects with ethnicity and tourism, provincial and national identity, and multiple performance modes through studying contemporary dance practices in Yunnan and how they negotiate, destabilize, and complicate the dominant tourist driven aesthetic of the mainstream culture in Yunnan.
  • This year's ceremony saw the presentation of the fourth annual Kristin Carosella Memorial Fellowship. Kristin Carosella was a member of the University of Michigan's Class of 2013, earning bachelor's degrees from the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. Upon graduation, she pursued a career teaching English to school-age children in China before her death in September 2014. Through generous donations from the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies; the Center for Japanese Studies; the Nam Center for Korean Studies; the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures; the Department of Anthropology; and the Dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, this fellowship has been established in perpetuity to honor her life and to inspire other students to pursue service to others through teaching in Asia. The recipient of this year's Kristin Carosella Memorial Fellowship was Shauna Paulson. Shauna, an Asian Studies graduating senior, and an Undergraduate Fellow with the Nam Center for Korean Studies, will choose from several job offers to teach in Korea to pursue her goal of fostering a love of intercultural and plurilingual communication.

Our ceremony concluded by focusing on the graduating Asian Studies majors. This year's class of thirty-one graduates exemplified the diverse range of academic interests represented in the many areas of study our department offers. In the class of 2019, we are proud to have nine Chinese Studies graduates, thirteen Japanese Studies graduates, seven Korean Studies graduates, two South Asian Studies graduates, and two Southeast Asian Studies graduates. Two students achieved an additional designation of graduating with Honors, meaning they achieved a near flawless academic record, and completed a substantial thesis written under the direction of a faculty advisor. The attending students were called in succession to the stage and received a small gift from the department. Professor Juster encouraged them to live a life in which they give to others and reflect on their time at the University of Michigan fondly.

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures wishes to extend it's sincerest congratulations to all of our awardees and graduates this year. Thank you for taking part in this special day.