On April 28, 2022, the department gathered in the Vandenberg Room of the Michigan League to celebrate our 2021-2022 graduates and awardees.


The ceremony began with opening remarks from Director of Undergraduate Studies, Juhn Ahn, about the great accomplishments of all students that were recognized. Our first awards acknowledged achivement within each of our language programs. These awardees stood out amongst their peers in both their academic and extracurricular pursuits. 


The 2022 language awards recipients were:

Chinese Language Japanese Language
Nicole Jiang-Kong and Arthur Mengozzi Maya Simonte and Andrew Urabe
  Korean Language
South Asian Language Saloni Singhal
Mariya Tasnim Jahan (Bengali) Southeast Asian Language
Ariel Halpern (Hindi) Shane Yamco (Filipino)
Ryan Raybuck (Punjabi) Alana Vang (Indonesian)
Hamza Khan (Tamil) Austin Killam (Thai)
Allezah Gul Manzoor (Urdu) Tiffany Le (Vietnamese)

Back Row (L-R): Rae Adigun, Ryan Raybuck, Kevin Yan, Aleezah Gul Manzoor, Arthur Mengozzi, Andrew Urabe, Shane Yamco


Front Row (L-R): Saloni Singhal, Hamza Khan, Maya Simonte, Tiffany Le, Nicole Jiang-Kong, Alana Vang

Following the language awards, additional departmental awards were presented by members of the department faculty to honor hard work and passion among undergraduate and graduate students.

  • The eleventh annual Philip Thomas Lincoln, Jr. Memorial Endowment was presented by Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Chris L. Hill to Raymond Hsu, a Doctoral Candidate in Asian Languages and Cultures. This fellowship is named for a 1953 LSA graduate who was a career diplomat with the U.S. State Department form 1966 to 1996. Lincoln 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 with funding a proposed research trip abroad. Raymond will be using this award to conduct fieldwork in Chaozhou, Wanjin, Kapuland, and Garanpau to benefit his dissertation Historical Narratives, Material Mediums, and the Reinvention of Ethnic Communities in Modern Taiwan that centers on the Makato, an Austronesian aboriginal people that are advancing a political campaign for official recognition by Taiwan's Council of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The Charles and Myrl Hucker Essay Prize is 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. This prize is given annually for the best China-focused essay written in an Asian Languages and Cultures course. Kevin Yan was presented the award by Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Juhn Ahn, as the 2022 recipient of this award for his Honor's Thesis entitled Exploring the Versatility of the Sword as a Metaphor in Early Chinese Discourse through Xunzi and the Zhuangzi. This thesis analyzes the sword as a less studied symbol rooted in Chinese literary culture with a rich history and varied cultural utility that allow it to tackle a diverse range of topics.
  • The sixth annual Kristin Carosella Memorial Fellowship named in honor of a 2013 graduate in Asian Studies and Anthropology who, following graduation, 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. Dr. Masae Yasuda presented the award to Rae Adigun who hopes to move to Japan following her 2025 graduation in order to teach English as a second language and connect people of different ethnicities to create a global community.

Following the presentation of awards, our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Juhn Ahn, recognized the hard work of the seven students graduating from the Asian Studies major with Honors. Graduating with Honors not only requires completing the major with stellar grades, but also working closely with a faculty member to complete an Honors thesis. The 2022 ALC Honors graduates were:

  • Margaret Burmeister Japanese Colonial Architecture in Korea
    • advised by Professor Se-Mi Oh
  • Molly Cooke Angry Young Men Go to the Polls
    • advised by Professor Youngju Ryu
  • Marissa Dearfurff "Don't ask" Murders: Narrating Motiveless Crimes in South Korean News Media
    • advised by Professor Youngju Ryu
  • Francesca Duong "Yeet Hay, 上火 and 熱氣: the Mysterious Ailment and its Cultural Contexts
    • advised by Professor Miranda Brown
  • Augusta Guo
    • advised by Professor Miranda Brown
  • Brian Tran The Era of Convergence: K-Pop and Gaming Industries through Augmented Reality
    • advised by Professor Youngju Ryu
  • Kevin Yan Exploring the Versatility of the Sword as a Metaphor in Early Chinese Discourse through Xunzi and the Zhuangzi
    • advised by Professor Sonya Ozbey

(L-R): Director of Undergraduate Studies Professor Juhn Ahn, Margaret Burmeister, Marissa Deardurff, Molly Cooke, Brian Tran, Francesca Duong, Department Chair Professor Markus Nornes

Department Chair, Professor Markus Nornes, then addressed the 2022 graduates, expressing pride for their success at completing their degrees in such uncertain times.

In 2021-2022, nineteen students graduated with an Asian Studies major, exemplifying the diverse range of academic interests represented in the many areas of study our department offers. This year's graduating class comprises of 6 Chinese studies students, 6 Japanese studies students, 6 Korean studies students, and 1 South Asian studies students.

Chinese Studies Japanese Studies Korean Studies
Xin Rong Dong Alisa Kong Kiira Billeck
Francesca Duong Arabelle Konrad Margaret Burmeister
Augusta Guo Hannah Miller Molly Cooke
Alison Li Alexander Mostovoi Marissa Deardurff
Naomi Ng Violet Needham Jonathan Downs
Kevin Yan Andrew Urabe Brian Tran
  South Asian Studies  
  Devashree Patel  

We also recognized four PhD candidates who defended their dissertations this academic year. These students are:

  • Rebecca Bloom Pictures to Live By: Uncovering an Iconography of the Tibetan Buddhist Monastic Code  - Advised by Donald S. Lopez, Jr.
  • Katherine Dimmery After Words: Literacy and Historiography in 21st-Century China - Advised by Miranda Brown
  • Yucong Hao Acoustics of Emergency: Sound Culture and HIstorical Upheavals in Mid-Twentieth Century China - Advised by Christopher Hill and Emily Wilcox
  • Eric Haynie The Great Perfection of Kham: Dzockchen Monastery and the Assembling of Buddhist Tradition in Seventeenth-Century Tibet - Advised by Professor Donald S. Lopez Jr.

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