Alumni Video Project

Year of China Digital Presentation Project

Several East Asian Studies alumni created short videos to share what they are doing now, after Brown, and how their experiences in EAS shaped their lives. Although these particular alumni have just started their careers, their Chinese studies at Brown influenced them in a multitude of ways. Brief biographies of alumni participants are included below each video - enjoy!

Jack Cossman | 高杰 | Class of 2010

I am originally from Philadelphia, but have been living in Providence for the past six years: first for undergrad, and now for medical school. Luckily I still have some time for extracurricular interests, namely baking and eating, but also photography and karate. More relevantly, although my concentration was biology, my major interests were in Chinese language and culture, only discovered a little late. I spent a great amount of time learning the language, traveling the country, and even exploring traditional Chinese medicine. Unfortunately, the demands of med school now distract me from further learning Chinese, but I'm lucky to have many Chinese friends around me, giving me the chance to practice and stay connected. I spent several months learning acupuncture, cupping, herbal prescriptions, and traditional diagnosis at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, via an exchange program through Brown. Though I'm more inclined to do surgery, the TCM experience has shaped my thoughts on healthcare and will certainly impact my practice, whatever it may be, in years to come. I'm not sure what my future holds, but I know that my Chinese experiences will always remain a central part of my life. 

Charlie Custer | 葛亚辉 | Class of 2008

Charlie Custer lives in Beijing with his wife, where he works as a blogger for Penn Olson, in addition to writing freelance news pieces for a variety of publications and producing video segments on China's social media for Link TV. He's also working on a documentary film about kidnapped children in China called Living with Dead Hearts, and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the China current affairs blog ChinaGeeks

Aaron Halegua | 何宜伦 | Class of 2004

Aaron Halegua graduated from Brown in 2004 with an A.B. in International Relations.  He spent the next two years living and working in China: first, as a Fulbright Scholar at Peking University studying the use of mediation to settle disputes; and next, as a Research Associate with Yale’s China Law Center working on various rule of law projects.  In this time, he also developed an expertise in Chinese labor law.  Mr. Halegua spent the next three years at Harvard Law School and earned a J.D. in 2009.  Since then, he has been a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society in New York City, where he represents Chinese immigrants in wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation and unemployment insurance cases.  He also consults on Chinese labor law projects for the International Labor Rights Forum and Asia Society.  Mr. Halegua has published articles on mediation, migrant workers and Chinese labor and employment law in the Berkeley Journal of International Law (2008), Harvard Law & Policy Review (2007) and Hong Kong Law Journal (2005), and has been quoted in publications such as the New York Times.

Michael Keefrider | 季迈柯 | Class of 2004

Biography forthcoming.

Erica Dieselman Pollard | 狄瑞和 | Class of 2006

During her time at Brown, Erica studied four years of Chinese and studied abroad, in Beijing, with the Associated Colleges of China program.  She graduated from Brown in 2006 with a B.A. in Education Studies.  Upon graduation, Erica began teaching Chinese at a high school in Massachusetts, and later earned an M.A. in Chinese Language Pedagogy from Middlebury College in 2010.  Teaching Chinese has provided Erica with many wonderful experiences, including working alongside many esteemed colleagues, opportunities to travel to China with her students, and returning to Middlebury this past summer to teach beginning-level Chinese.

Alex Richardson | 李云行 | Class of 2007

I grew up in Canada, and came to Brown after visiting a class on Sanskrit with just four students. Sanskrit itself wasn't as important as the idea that Brown was a place that strongly encouraged intellectual curiosity. At Brown, I concentrated in East Asian Studies with an emphasis on Chinese history and language. While there, I was also actively involved in the men's crew and rugby teams, as well as the program house system and intramural sports. Following Brown, I spent a year with the IUP language program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, during which time I also interned with a Chinese investment bank and acted in a comedy TV series. After the year at Tsinghua, I worked for 3 years as a management consultant in Shanghai, primarily engaged in healthcare strategy and private equity due diligence services. Until 2013, I am pursuing a dual degree MBA/MA program through the Wharton School and Lauder Institute at U. Penn, majoring in finance and international studies. I am happy to continue to be in touch with the Brown community. Current Brown students can feel free to reach me through my alum address: richardson@alumni.brown.edu

Cecilia Springer | 韩西亚 | 2011

Originally from Dallas, Texas, I studied Environmental Science at Brown with a focus on environmental health and toxicology. I also took Chinese classes for all four years while I was at Brown. During the summer after my sophomore year, I participated in the Princeton in Beijing intensive summer language program, which was my first time spending a significant amount of time in China. Although PIB was grueling, I had a wonderful experience and decided to continue studying Chinese at Brown, with the goal of going to China after I graduated. During my senior year at Brown, I combined my interests in China and the environment by creating a Group Independent Study Project with several classmates called "Modern Issues in China's Environment." Through my involvement in this course, I learned about "eco-cities" in China, environmentally friendly cities being planned by the Chinese government. I wrote a proposal to study the development of an eco-city outside of Tianjin, China, and applied for the Fulbright grant, a one year government-funded research fellowship. I was fortunate to receive this fellowship, and am now carrying out research in Tianjin. I am affiliated with Nankai University, where I audit classes and work closely with graduate students. After this year, I would like to return to the States and attend either graduate school or medical school. Although I have not settled on a specific occupation, I know that I would like my future work to involve China. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about the Fulbright program, environmental research in China, and so on.