by Emily Wilcox
The W&M 2012 graduating class boasted a stellar group of seniors in the Chinese Program. Three students received High Honors for senior honors thesis projects advised by Chinese Program faculty, and more than eighty-five percent studied abroad in China at least once as part of their undergraduate experience. Students double-majored in Chinese and a range of other fields, including Chemistry, Government, History, International Relations, Management, Marketing, and Mathematics.
Now, six months after their graduation, graduates in the 2012 Chinese Program class are thriving in jobs, internships, and scholarships related to their Chinese studies. The following is a sampling of some of the exciting work these students are doing today. Support and skills gained at William and Mary played an important role in achieving these successes; for most, foreign language proficiency specifically was a key criteria in the application and selection process for the jobs and scholarships in which they are now involved.
Congratulations to all of our talented 2012 graduates!
Kate McGinnis (W&M Chinese Major ‘12)
Intern, National Committee on US-China Relations, New York
I am currently interning at the National Committee on United States-China Relations, a non-profit that focuses on bettering the US-China relationship through exchanges and dialogue. In 1971 the National Committee hosted the historic Ping Pong exchange, kicking off the era of ‘ping pong diplomacy’. Today, they continue to host the exchange of teachers, policy leaders, government leaders, and youth. It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to work with this organization. So far, I have worked with the development team on our annual Gala Dinner, held at the Plaza Hotel, which raised 1.4 million dollars for the National Committee. In the four weeks I worked on the fundraising campaign I personally raised $78 thousand. I helped compile a briefing book for Navy Officers in preparation for our three-day educational conference on contemporary China. I am so thankful to the W&M Chinese program for giving me a strong foundation in Chinese language and culture, which has allowed me to thrive at the National Committee. I often find myself recalling experiences from my W&M study abroad trip in Beijing when we meet Chinese delegations stopping in at our New York City office. Most importantly, I appreciate the fantastic faculty at W&M who encouraged my interest in all things Chinese.
Timothy McDade (W&M Chinese Major ‘12)
IT Program Manager, Microsoft, Washington State
I graduated from W&M in May 2012 with dual majors in Chinese Language & Literature and Applied Mathematics, and am now working at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. I’m in a leadership training rotational program within Microsoft’s internal IT department, which allows me to experience the breadth of what a global company has to offer. My Chinese major has precipitated all of this – I got my job because of my language skills and travel experience. I plan to continue studying the language and culture in the future, and hope to spend a considerable amount of time working in Beijing and Shanghai. My mentors from the W&M Chinese department provided guidance and support during my job search. My international background and language skills have served me well so far, and will continue to ensure that I have a competitive edge as I move forward in the business world.
Lydia Fairfax (W&M Chinese Major ‘12)
Marketing Specialist, Registrar Corp, Newport News
After graduating from William and Mary, I was hired as a marketing specialist at Registrar Corp in Newport News. Registrar Corp assists companies in the Drug, Medical Device, Food and Beverage, and Cosmetics industries with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory compliance. The firm is headquartered in Hampton, Virginia, and has assisted over 22,000 companies in more than 150 countries, with 19 regional offices in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.
This year, I was working at trade shows in Washington DC and Baltimore when I was unexpectedly approached by representatives from Chinese companies who did not speak English. Although I had to improvise on the spot, I was able to present our company’s services and explain their questions using the Chinese I learned at William and Mary! The background in Chinese language and culture that I gained in the W&M Chinese Program helps me to understand other cultures, which is extremely important in my job due to the international nature of our company and our work. I got my job because of my ability to speak multiple languages. With so many international clients and offices, language abilities are essential in our company.
Stephen Hurley (W&M Chinese Major ‘12)
Boren Scholar, Beijing University, China
I started studying Chinese as a freshman at William and Mary in the fall of 2008. I studied abroad at Peking University through the W&M program in my junior year, and I have since returned to Beijing on a Boren scholarship to continue my Chinese studies. Currently, I am taking a classics course with a philosophy professor from Beijing University — this week we are covering the The Analects — and otherwise I am studying Chinese all the time. Tomorrow I will attend a job fair to get some practice networking, and we have an activity on Friday with the Beijing Film Academy. On my way to class one day, I was browsing the posters outside the campus amphitheater when I was shocked to see an advertisement for The Red Detachment of Women, a revolutionary ballet from the 1960s that we had discussed in my Chinese popular culture class last year. Needless to say, I immediately bought a ticket, and am very excited to see the performance next week.