Junior Fellows Explore Their Passion for the Asia Pacific

Welcome to the Asia Bridge Junior Fellows for 2021-2022!

The Center for Asia Pacific Studies is excited to introduce its newest cohort of young scholars eager to explore research projects on an Asia Pacific topic of their choice as well as to participate in a variety of skills- and community-building activities to expand both their academic and professional experience.

Throughout the year-long fellowship program–and with the guidance of fellowship coordinator, Dr. Cynthia Schultes–junior fellows will learn skills that will serve them in their studies and future careers. This semester, our new cohort have been designing their research projects, surveying academic literature, and learning best practices for structuring and writing a research paper. Next semester, their 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.

This year’s junior fellows have enjoyed being back on campus, taking advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the Asia Pacific not only from our research workshops and the range of academic lectures sponsored by the center but also from the simple pleasure of sharing a cup of boba tea with fellow students out on the quad, a class on how to make miso ramen, and a visit to the teamLab: Continuity exhibition at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

As our new junior fellows start their fellowship journey, we asked them to share their research goals and aspirations:

Celeste Baird, Sophomore, International Studies

Photo of Celeste Baird“I believe a deeper understanding of other cultures and societies can build meaningful relationships across peoples and help solve global issues. Being adopted from China, as well as a K-12 Mandarin Immersion Program student, I have not only had an academic connection with Chinese and Asian culture, society, history, and policy, but also a personal connection. The topic I would like to explore is China’s current policies encouraging citizens to have two or three children, specifically how this affects young women’s roles in Chinese society.”

Eshita Kalidindi, Sophomore, Psychology

Photo of Eshita Kalidindi“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about great change especially in the education sector. A large number of students going to school have not been able to do so for the past year and a half. Many schools have quickly adapted themselves to the new normal and started online education to bridge this gap. While this use of technology can be seen as a great leveler, a vast majority of children going to school in India don’t have access to online education. I see that lack of access to technology is widening the gap between the rich and poor. I would like to do further research and learn about this issue that has been created due to the pandemic.”

Sally Yang, Senior, Psychology

Photo of Sally Yang“Growing up in the SF Bay Area, I have a deep-rooted interest and connection to the Asian populations in San Francisco. I want to do research about how the underserved SF Asian communities are coping with issues of mental health and domestic violence. Many Chinese immigrant families in San Francisco are less inclined to reach for therapy. They believe that they lose face, which results in vulnerability and shame. My goal is to become a licensed clinical psychologist in hopes of destigmatizing mental health issues and stereotypes within these underserved Asian American communities.”

The center welcomes these exceptional young scholars into its Asia Bridge community and looks forward to seeing how their projects develop as we move towards 2022!