Careers for Asian studies students
Recent Calvin graduates with majors or minors in Chinese, Japanese or Asian studies have found careers in a number of fields in Japan, China, the United States and elsewhere. Six of our students who graduated in May, 2013 have taken English teaching positions at various universities across China, in the cities of Harbin, Qinhuangdao, and Yancheng. Four of our graduates are currently in Ph.D. programs related to Asian Studies, including programs in Chinese Language and Literature at Princeton University, Chinese History at University of California, Japanese Language and Culture at the University of Michigan, and Japanese Anthropology at the University of North Carolina.
Jobs in Japan
A small number of Calvin students have taught in Japan through the JET Program or similar programs and have then found other employment in Japan after their contracts expired.
Kory DuPilka spent three years as a JET teacher and then found a job as a translator with Toyota in Nagoya, Japan. He then got an MBA from Michigan State University and now works as a junior executive for United Technologies in Orlando, Florida.
After teaching for three years with JET, Tim Veltman found a job in Hikone, Japan, for a non-profit organization that helps foreigners adjust to life in Japan. Tim has created a web site service that provides all the helpful information a foreigner might need to adapt to life in Japan, and answers questions daily from foreigners who need advice on various matters pertaining to daily life in that very different culture.
Michael Huissen lives in Hamamatsu, Japan, with his Japanese wife and two lovely children. After graduating from Calvin, Michael got a Ph.D. in Asian History from Harvard University. Michael has taught English and American literature at several universities in Tokyo and Hamamatsu for many years now.
A handful of our graduates from Calvin Theological Seminary have found jobs with the Christian Reformed World Mission in Japan, working in the Tokyo area as ministers and missionaries. A few, like Larry Spalink and Richard Systma, have served the Church in Japan for as long as several decades.
Jobs in China
Michael Brasser majored in computer science at Calvin and went on to get a master’s degree in Computational Linguistics from U.S.C. He now is the first foreigner to work for a major Chinese computer company in Beijing. His wife, Christie, works in Public Relations for the largest Christian church for foreigners in Beijing.
Jared English majored in Asian Studies at Calvin and then went on to get an M.B.A. He is now the General Manager of an automotive supply manufacturing plant near Shanghai, producing high quality precision plastic components for automotive customers around Asia.
Jacob Schenkel, a 2000 graduate of Calvin, has been appointed to a factory manager’s position with Delphi Automotive in Shanghai.
Jobs in America
After four years of Chinese language study at Calvin, Gary Mersberger was hired by the Kohler Company in Wisconsin. The company hired Gary in part because of his knowledge of Chinese, which Gary is already putting to good use in his job as Kohler expands its business in China.
Anna Nielsen was hired by Johnson Controls in Holland, Michigan, partly on the basis of her knowledge of Japanese. Johnson Controls designs and makes car interiors for most of the major Japanese auto companies. They are always interested in hiring Calvin graduates with a background in Japanese language.
Nathan Scott was given a fellowship at the University of Michigan to obtain a Master's in Japanese, after spending three years as a JET teacher in Japan. As part of this fellowship, Nate was given a full tuition waiver plus a living stipend of $14,000. He then went on to obtain a Law Degree from the University of Michigan, and is now practicing immigration law in the United States.
Michael Wright studied four years of Chinese at Calvin, then obtained a Master's degree in Chinese from the John Hopkins Center for Chinese Studies at Nanjing University. After getting a law degree from the University of Michigan, Michael now practices international law with a top firm in Chicago.
Josh Gilliland received a scholarship to enter Ohio State University, to study for a master's in Chinese. He was the only non-native speaker of Chinese to be given a teaching assistantship in Chinese at Ohio State University.
David Bratt received a fellowship to do graduate work in Chinese history at Stanford University, after having studied Chinese for three years at Calvin and participated in our Beijing Semester Program.
Michael Brasser, received a fellowship to completely finance his graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley in Computational Linguistics. Michael combined his knowledge of both computers and Chinese in his work as the only foreign computer scientist at a private computer company in Beijing, where he worked for three years.
Calvin graduates from the Asian studies program have found positions in the following fields:
- International Law
- International Relations
- Intelligence work for the U.S. Government (CIA, NSA)
- Mission-International NGO (e.g. World Vision)
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Department of Defense
- U.S. Department of Energy