Welcome to the Asia Bridge Junior Fellows 2019-2020!

The USF Center for Asia Pacific Studies launched the new Asia Bridge Junior Fellowship in Fall 2019. The program is in its pilot year with a cohort of four promising young scholars. Throughout the year long program, fellows will have the  opportunity to pursue research on Asia on a topic of their choosing. Under the direction of the Center’s postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Christopher Laurent, fellows will learn skills that will serve them in their studies and beyond. Workshops are created to mentor students in designing a research project, surveying academic literature, structuring and writing a research paper, reviewing and editing paper drafts and public speaking. These will help hone undergraduate students’ academic writing, revision and presentation skills. Moreover, these skills translate beyond academia as critical reading, analytical thinking, and structured writing is essential today in most careers.

The program strives to create a community of students that share a passion for Asia at the Center for Asia Pacific Studies. In addition to the workshop, the program has held activities on and off campus that included a Japanese dinner, lectures organized by the center, Korean movie night, and a Pomodoro study session. Future activities planned in tandem with the center will be a visit to the Asian Art Museum, a Chinese New Year celebration, a visit to the Cherry Blossom festival and an Asian cooking workshop. So far, community building-activities have brought the fellows closer together as a cohort and encouraged their involvement in the activities of the Center. 

The fellows selected this year are a very diverse group of students with overlapping interests in Asia. Here is a brief introduction of the members: 

Sunshine Batasin holds a sophomore standing in USF’s Nursing program and is a NASPA certified health educator. She is interested in the cultural components of cancer treatment in the Philippines. In her own words: “I decided to join the program because I was interested in combining my hard science based major with cultural anthropology so that it would give me a better understanding of patients I might treat in the future.”

Craig Okahara-Olsen is a sophomore in History and a USF presidential scholarship recipient. He is interested in examining the causes behind the early Japanese migration to Hawaii. In his own words: “I have always had a keen interest in history and this program gave me the opportunity to gain research experience and learn about my family background.”

Audrey Tran is a junior in International Business and a member of the Tzu Chi humanitarian organization. She is interested in researching the emergence of corporate social responsibility in China. In her own words: “Since the Center for Asia Pacific Studies’ goal is to bridge cultures, I hope that my research can contribute to bridging contemporary gaps so that countries can collaborate on even ground.”

Yoogyeon Hwang is a junior in Asian Studies and a recipient of the Daniels Scholarship. She will focus her research on the causes behind the current Korean boycott of Japanese goods. In her own words: “I thought it might be interesting to pursue research on something that has a direct impact on my life.”