Introducing: Emma DeBow, Class of 2022

Center for Asia Pacific Studies 2020-2021 Undergraduate Merit Fellow

Majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Environment and Development and a minor in Asian Studies

Even though Emma DeBow and her older sister only have a four-year age gap, Emma felt like they were worlds apart. That is, until her older sister introduced her to anime and manga. After that, both sisters were hooked! For Emma, what began as a fun act of sisterhood bonding through Japanese arts and media turned into a deep academic interest once she started college. From her initial forays specifically into learning about Japan, at USF Emma began exploring the economies, histories, cultures, and religions of many of the surrounding countries in the Asia Pacific region through her coursework in International Studies and Asian Studies. 

As a member of the Honors College, Emma is taking a broad array of coursework that covers these topics. She is currently taking Asian Philosophy (taught by Geoffrey Ashton, whom the center has previously profiled) and loves learning about Hindu philosophy, Chinese philosophy, and Buddhism. She has also taken East Asian Civilizations (with Uldis Kruze) and a special topics class called “Asia: Pasts & Futures” (taught by Sadia Saeed and Stephen Roddy) which have given her a broad survey of the histories of early East Asia, as well as important parts of contemporary Asian history that typically get limited academic coverage. 

In recent years, Emma has become especially enthralled by Korean language and culture. She was fortunate enough to take a course in Korean Studies at Sogang University in Seoul just before the pandemic in the Fall 2019-Spring 2020 semester, where she took intensive language courses and Global Korean Studies. Emma also imagines additional studies in Korea as part of her academic future, and aspires to attend the esteemed master’s program for International Studies at Korea University in South Korea after she completes her undergraduate degree at USF. 

I am hoping to get a broader understanding of foreign affairs and urban planning as well as expand my Korean language abilities!

Of the many future careers she has imagined, the one that most excites her at the moment is working for the Department of State as a foreign service officer. She was also recently accepted to the 14th Korea-American Student Conference, where she will be representing America through the American Delegation in roundtable talks and panels to improve ROK-US relationships this summer (July 2021).

Overall, Emma feels fortunate for the support of the center’s fellowship as she continues her education and prepares for her future, and is grateful to have attended educational and practical lectures like the 2018 lecture on the future of the Japanese economy.

One of my favorite things about the Center for Asia Pacific Studies is the guest lectures they host… Guest lectures are an incredible opportunity to make the most of our tuition and education by hearing from professionals in our field on a specialized topic.

For our part, we at the center are certain that Emma will make the most of the remainder of her time at USF, and will do the same one day when she starts that master’s program in Korea!