This semester was relatively quiet in the Chinese Studies program, but we did have one memorable career panel as part of William & Mary’s homecoming festivities. On the evening of October 13, two Chinese Studies alumni and two professionals working in China-related fields joined us for several hours to discuss their career paths, surprises they’d encountered since graduating college, and general advice for students about to set off into their post-graduation life. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from people at different stages of their careers and resulted in a very productive conversation. We were joined by Alex Bate (W&M ’18), Helen Taylor (WM ’07), Susan Jakes, and Graham Webster (and you can see their biographies below). Chinese Studies looks forward to hosting more events like this in the coming semesters.
Alex Bate ’18 is an Asia Analyst at Sayari Labs. Prior to Sayari, she worked in due diligence, open-source investigative analysis, and Chinese market research and policy analysis. She received a degree in International Relations and Chinese from William & Mary and has studied at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She speaks Mandarin and Spanish.
Helen Taylor ’07 is the Director of Grant Programs at the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery where she coordinates program design and oversees implementation of transformative projects. Helen previously conducted human rights policy advocacy at Physicians for Human Rights and the U.S. Department of State, where she also managed a $60 million grant portfolio. She holds a Master’s in Human Rights Law from Hong Kong University and dual B.A. degrees in International Relations and Chinese Studies from William & Mary. As a Fulbright Fellow and Gates Millennium Scholar, Helen conducted qualitative and quantitative research on marginalized communities in Latin America and East Asia.
Susan Jakes is Editor of ChinaFile and Senior Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations. From 2000-2007, she reported on China for Time magazine, first as a reporter and editor based in Hong Kong and then as the magazine’s Beijing Correspondent. She covered a wide range of topics for Time’s international and domestic editions, including student nationalism, human rights, the environment, public health, education, architecture, kung fu, North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and the making of Bhutan’s first feature film. Jakes was awarded the Society of Publishers in Asia’s Young Journalist of the Year Award for her coverage of Chinese youth culture. In 2003, she broke the story of the Chinese government’s cover-up of the SARS epidemic in Beijing, for which she received a Henry Luce Public Service Award. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications. Jakes speaks Mandarin and holds a B.A. and M.A. from Yale in history. Her doctoral studies at Yale, which she suspended to join ChinaFile, focused on China’s environmental history and the global history of ecology.
Graham Webster is a research scholar and editor of the DigiChina project at the Stanford University Cyber Policy Center and a fellow with New America. A joint effort of Stanford and New America, DigiChina is a collaborative project to translate, contextualize, and analyze Chinese digital policy documents and discourse. Webster also writes the independent Transpacifica e-mail newsletter. He was previously a senior fellow and lecturer at Yale Law School, where he was responsible for the Paul Tsai China Center’s U.S.–China Track 2 dialogues for five years before leading programming on cyberspace and high-tech issues. In the past, he wrote a CNET News blog on technology and society from Beijing, worked at the Center for American Progress, and taught East Asian politics at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. Graham holds a master’s degree in East Asian studies from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He is based in Oakland, California