DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Global Asian Studies > About > Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight


Junhua Lin, International Studies major

Junhua 
Lin is a graduate of the International Studies program at DePaul and after serving in the Peace Corps in Jordan, in 2015 joined the Department of Justice - Criminal Division in the Office of International Affairs. He took a number of Global Asian Studies courses, including Asian Politics, Asian Political Economy, Japanese Politics and an independent study on Japan’s inward foreign direct investment to China under the supervision of Dr. Ibata-Arens, director of Global Asian Studies. Lin’s aforementioned research was published in the peer-reviewed LAS journal Students Creating Knowledge. 

Lin reflects: “Though I graduated before the Global Asian Studies program was fully developed I have taken many classes with the current director of the Global Asian Studies Program, Professor Kathryn Ibata-Arens. Dr. Ibata-Arens taught me a lot about the workings of the Japanese economy, culture and political situation and the way an economic system is shaped by these factors. Her greatest influence on me was that she presented me with an alternative to the economic schools that dominated modern discussion. Her guidance and support is what inspired me to hopefully get a doctorate in political economy in the future.”

Kaya Gross, International Studies and Japanese Studies & Global Asian Studies

Kaya Gross started out as an International Studies major but sought a program that was Asia-focused. The classes that caught her eye were Global Asian Studies (GLAS) courses, which ended up being perfectly complementary to her International Studies Degree. One highlight of her minor was Dr. Ibata-Aren’s Asian Political Economy course (PSC 343/AAS 342). The role of culture along with history and how it influences economies was something that has stuck with Gross since taking this course. Being around other students who also have an interest in Asia was something that greatly appealed to her.


In her own words: “The GLAS program is expansive enough to allow students to focus in on one particular country as well as multiple countries. My focus is primarily Japan and South Korea, but I've taken GLAS classes that have taught me quite a bit about Southeast Asia and other Asian countries that I normally didn't know too much about and probably would not have focused my studies on otherwise. I've also been able to meet so many wonderful students and professors through GLAS!”

The future is bright for Gross, as she won entry into the prestigious Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. This will send her to Japan to teach English. Afterwards, she dreams of teaching in South Korea. Eventually she would like to receive a Master’s degree in Asia or the United Kingdom focusing on national security issues. 
​​

Lillian Hart Public Relations/Advertising major, Global Asian Studies/Japanese Language minor

Lillian Hart began at DePaul with the intention of just completing a degree in Communications. As she prepares to graduate in June 2015, she remarks that it is evident that the Global Asian Studies minor she added her junior year was a necessity to her future success. Hart chose the GLAS minor after studying abroad in Okinawa, Japan in December of 2013. On the trip, she realized though she had been studying Japanese for 13 years prior to college, there was so much she had yet to learn. Not only was she able to dive deeper into Japanese culture through the GLAS minor, but was able to learn about other countries in Asia. Since this program is not centered on language learning, it gives the opportunity for a much larger student demographic to learn about Japan, China, India, Korea, Vietnam and other Asian countries. 

Studying abroad for the second time as a Kakehashi Tomodachi Inouye Scholar in June of 2014, her desire to learn more about the world was solidified. While at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, a man the group spoke to said, “individuals limit themselves by saying ‘I know’ about a given group of people, rather than observing and learning from their differences. In order to truly understand the world one has to realize they don’t know anything and just take things for what they are.” To Hart, this was the moment when the value of the Global Asian Studies minor was clarified. She has an obvious interest in Japanese culture, but wanted to learn as much as possible not only about Japan, but about how other societies operate. The Global Asian Studies program gives the opportunity to learn about many Asian countries. 

After graduating in June, Hart will be moving to Japan to teach English through the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Through this program, she will work for one of four Japanese government organizations. After one to two years in JET, she plans on moving back to America and working for an organization that strives to build a stronger relationship b be through a PR agency that represents Japanese brands, a government organization or a NPO. Reflecting back on her undergraduate education, she explains, “The GLAS minor was my gateway to realistically living and working abroad.”
​​​

Kate Montgomery, Political Science major, Global Asian Studies minor

Kate Montgomery’s interest in Asia began when she taught herself Chinese and studied abroad in Beijing in 2014. She claims that the Global Asian Studies (GLAS) program helped her explore many other subjects than she otherwise could have within her political science major. Though GLAS, she was able to broaden her area of study. She became equally as interested in Japan, and connected with Japanese studies faculty she would otherwise not have met. Coming from such a large major, Kate enjoys the smaller, close community of students and professors that GLAS has to offer. 

In her words, “I chose GLAS because I appreciated the broad scope of the program. While individual country departments like Chinese and Japanese studies are really useful, I liked that I could bridge all of my interests in East Asia in one program. I also really like the wide range of fields in GLAS, as the minor allowed me to take classes in literature, religious studies, and art history.” With academic achievement awards from Pi Sigma Alpha, Montgomery received the DePaul Summer Undergraduate Research Grant and was also published in DePaul’s undergraduate research journal, Students Creating Knowledge. 

Moving forward with her career, Montgomery was accepted into the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. After talking to GLAS faculty about her options for the future, also considering other prestigious scholarships she was awarded, she decided to accept the program. In July, she will be moving to Tokyo to teach English. In her words, “GLAS definitely played an instrumental role in helping me get into JET and actually make the decision to go.”

Kenji Negi, International Studies & Economics

Growing up with a Japanese mother and a Chinese father, Asia in a cultural sense always played an important role in DePaul graduate Kenji Negi’s life. It wasn’t until his junior year at DePaul, when he studied at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto through DePaul’s exchange program, that Negi developed a newfound understanding of the economic and social importance of Asia in the 21st century.

At Ritsumeikan, Negi enrolled in numerous courses that taught about the political, social, and economic landscape of Asia, as well as the emerging role the region played in the global context. It was at this time that Negi developed a deeper desire to return to Japan/Asia upon graduation to continue to learn about the influence of the region in the so-called “Asian Century.”

Upon returning to Chicago for his senior year, Negi assumed a program assistant role for the Global Asian Studies program. Although still a relatively new initiative at the time, the time spent with then-director Professor Elizabeth Lillehoj and Professor Kathryn Ibata-Arens helped reinforce the notion that understanding Asia in today’s world economy was imperative in becoming a global citizen.

After graduating in June 2013 with a degree in International Studies and Economics, Negi relocat​ed to Tokyo, Japan to join Rakuten, Inc., a national e-commerce company. At Rakuten, Negi worked in the cross border trading (CBT) department and consulted hundreds of US and Japan-based online retailers who sought to remain competitive in the globalizing e-commerce industry by strengthening their CBT efforts.

Negi moved back to Chicago in May 2015 to continue working for Rakuten, Inc.’s digital marketing division, Rakuten Marketing. He’s currently an active member of the Japanese American Citizens League and the US-Japan Council, both non-profit organizations that emphasize the preservation of Japanese and Japanese American interests. Negi plans to continue to be involved in the local Japanese American community to help foster US-Japan relations.