Six Promising Young Scholars Bridge the Pacific

Welcome to the Asia Bridge Junior Fellows 2020-2021!

Now in its second year, the Asia Bridge Junior Fellowship program welcomes its newest cohort of six promising young scholars. Throughout the year-long program, junior fellows will have the opportunity to not only pursue research on an Asia Pacific topic of their choice but also participate in a variety of skills- and community-building activities to expand both their academic and professional experience.

Under the direction of the fellowship coordinator, Dr. Cynthia Schultes, fellows will learn skills that will serve them in their studies and beyond. Attending workshops on designing a research project, surveying academic literature, structuring and writing a research paper, reviewing and editing paper drafts and public speaking, fellows will hone their critical reading, thinking, writing and presentation skills–skills essential for academia as well as most careers today. Workshops will feature guest mentors and visits by USF students, faculty and staff, expanding the fellows’ network and engagement with others on campus who share their passion for Asia Pacific studies.

Zooming in from various locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and even Florida, the new fellows are undaunted by the enforced social distancing of the ongoing pandemic and are eager to extend their connections into the wider Asia Pacific community. This year they will have the opportunity to get more involved by not only attending Center for Asia Pacific Studies community events but also organizing one of those events themselves in the spring semester. And they’re looking forward to their first virtual community visit to the C. Laan Chun Library at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum in November. 

See what the members of this year’s Asia Bridge cohort have to say about their research interests and goals as they embark on their fellowship year:

Cyan Thea Marie Balantac is a junior in International Studies with an Asian Studies minor. Her field of interest is the decolonization of Filipino colonial mentality through the study of indigenous Filipino culture. As a junior fellow, Cyan says she looks forward to “further honing my research skills so that I can come closer to reaching my academic and professional goals.” 

Madison Burk is a junior in International Studies with an Asian Studies minor. She is a USF Admissions Office University Ambassador, Presidential Scholarship recipient, and a member of the Title 9 Sexual Violence Prevention taskforce on campus. As she says, “My passion for gender politics and community building has sparked an interest in researching how the new wave of feminist movements—such as the #MeToo Movement–have influenced gender politics and shifted the culture in South Korea today.”

Evan Chan is a sophomore in Asian Studies and International Studies with a minor in Chinese Studies; he is also the J. Paul Getty Scholar in the USF Honors College. As a junior fellow, he would like to explore the intersection of politics and social movements, specifically the feminist or LGBT+ movements in China. In his own words, “As a third-generation Chinese-American, studying the Asia Pacific is a genuinely fulfilling opportunity to learn about myself, my ancestors, and the shared cultural heritage we come from.”

Emily Chang is a junior in International Studies, with a double minor in Asian and Chinese studies. As a junior fellow, she hopes to focus on policy in East Asia, expanding her global knowledge and experience. As she says, “I’ve always had a passion for learning about other cultures and educating others along the way.

Frances Eusebio is a sophomore in Politics and International Studies. She’s interested in studying human rights issues in Southeast Asia, specifically in the Philippines. In her own words, “What I hope to gain from the Asia Bridge program is to not only learn the skills that will help me in my future career but also deepen my profound love and interest in Asia.”

Natalie Ortez-Arevalo is a junior in International Studies with a minor in Asian Studies. In her own words, “As a junior fellow, I am interested in learning more about how cultures evolve and societies change over time. I hope to gain a better understanding of other cultures and their histories.”