Meet Our Students & Alumni

photo of Edan QianMeet Edan Qian
Graduated 2014
Majors: Chinese; human physiology

The emphasis on professional-level Chinese language development attracted Edan Qian to the University of Oregon Chinese Flagship Program. He graduated in summer 2014 as a Chinese Flagship Scholar with a double major in Chinese and human physiology. Edan found the Flagship Program challenging, but his language proficiency grew to the point that he was able to learn neurobiology in Chinese without problem.

The most rewarding part of the program for Edan was going abroad to Nanjing University for a term and then interning in a Chinese skateboard company for a term. “This was another offer from the Chinese Flagship program that I could not pass up. It turned out to be one of the most fulfilling years of my college experience,” he says.

Edan urges other students to take advantage of the experience abroad by immersing themselves with Chinese locals in the community. “Find a hobby and then locate someone in the city who shares the same interest. You can both perfect language skills and develop lifelong friendships,” he recommends.

photo of Katriel PerryMeet Katriel Perry
Current Student
Majors: Chinese literature; Asian studies

Katriel Perry is a senior in the Chinese Flagship Program majoring in Chinese literature and Asian studies. Katriel is currently completing her Capstone year of study abroad at Nanjing University. She is directly enrolling in courses related to her major and living with a Nanjing roommate and tutor within her chosen academic field. Later this year, the Flagship Nanjing Center will work with her to arrange an internship that fits her profile and professional goals.

“I am really excited!” Katriel says. “At the UO Flagship, I see Capstone returnees coming back and sharing their experiences abroad. I am amazed by how fluent their Chinese becomes. They always emphasize how much the Nanjing program helps in improving their language skills quickly.”

Three things Katriel likes most about the Flagship Program are the opportunities for outside-of-class language support, the fun Chinese-related events, and the interesting course topics.

photo of Erik ThorbeckMeet Erik Thorbeck
Current Student
Majors: Chinese; Planning, Public Policy and Management

Erik Thorbeck was drawn to the Chinese Flagship Program’s emphasis on real-world linguistic and cultural skills. “I knew that the only way Chinese could truly be advantageous to a professional career was if I was fluent in it,” Erik says. In addition to his academic work in Chinese language and culture, Erik is double majoring in Chinese and Planning, Public Policy and Management.

Erik received a Boren Scholarship to support the Capstone yearlong study abroad at Nanjing University where he learned and studied alongside native-speaking peers. “It was great to live on my own in a large Chinese metropolitan environment. I had time to cultivate lasting friendships and really get to know Nanjing,” says Erik. In addition to his academic coursework, Erik also completed an internship as a marketing and communications intern with the British Chamber of Commerce in Southwest China at the main Chengdu office.

As a Boren Scholarship recipient, Erik will fulfill the service requirement for the scholarship upon graduating from the UO. He hopes to serve as a Foreign Service Officer for the State Department or work as an analyst for the Department of Defense. “I’m not exactly sure about a dream career, but I’d love to work somewhere where I can help grow the popularity of action sports like skateboarding, mountain biking, and skiing in China.”

photo of Stephanie CollinsMeet Stephanie Collins
Current Student
Major: Chinese

 Chinese Flagship student Stephanie Collins earned a competitive and prestigious Critical Languages Scholarship (CLS) to study Chinese for eight weeks in Beijing in summer 2015.

The Critical Languages Scholarship Program is offered by the U.S. Department of State to dedicated individuals wishing to study and improve their language skills for languages that are deemed “critical.” Stephanie went through a rigorous application and interview process to earn this scholarship which provided full funding for her eight-week course in Beijing.

Becoming an advanced Chinese speaker is critical for her career goals of working for the government or for a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving limited opportunities for the blind in China.

Stephanie studied Chinese in high school and entered the Chinese Flagship program at UO in 2013, completing an intensive first- and second-year Chinese program in one year. Now, as a UO junior, she is performing at the fourth-year Chinese level. One of Stephanie’s favorite aspects of Flagship is being part of Banzhang leadership and helping plan and execute Flagship events such as visiting the Shanghai tunnels in Portland.

photo of Megan GarlandMeet Megan Garland
Current Student
Major: Chinese; international studies

Megan Garland was among the first forty students enrolled in the Portland Public Schools Chinese immersion program and chose to continue her Chinese language and culture studies at the UO Flagship Program. When Megan arrived as a freshmen, she tested into fourth-year Chinese courses.

Megan received a prestigious Boren Award for International Study to fully fund her Capstone year at Nanjing University. She is currently spending half the year taking classes, some with other American students and others with Chinese students, and will then complete an internship for the remainder of the year.

She is planning a career in foreign relations, hopefully with the United Nations, focusing on international development or environmental aid. But before that, she’s got her eye on a tour in the Peace Corps, followed by graduate school.

The Boren award comes with a requirement that recipients spend at least one year working in government service. She thinks the Peace Corps would fulfill that requirement, but that’s not why she wants to do it. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. Forever,” she said. “It’s made for me.”