Asian Studies - Alumni and Student Spotlight

Carolyn Greene ’11
Majors: Chinese Studies and Art History

Extracurricular Activities: Tour Ambassador, Senior Gift Committee, Student Alumni Association, Inter-Residential Housing Association, Head Start, Study Abroad Beijing Fall 2009

Have you studied abroad in Asia? If yes, what was the most important thing that happened to you abroad?During my time at Fairfield I spent countless academic hours studying Chinese history, literature, religion and language. This exposure to diverse traditions and unique perspectives made me want to study abroad in China and experience the culture first hand. While living in Beijing, China during the fall semester of my junior year I was able to develop a far more extensive understanding of the Chinese culture I was so interested in learning about at Fairfield. My educational experience in China went beyond a purely academic viewpoint. Transitioning from discussion in the classroom to actively living those experiences in China only made my passion for Chinese Studies grow.

The more time I spent in China the more connected I felt to the people and places I visited. While traveling to Xi’an to explore the tomb of China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, I not only had the opportunity to see the vast army of terra-cotta warriors but also to interact and converse with the local population. Being able to utilize the Chinese language skills I had first learned at Fairfield really emphasized how far I had come in my language acquisition. By being immersed in the Chinese culture I was able to enhance my language capability to a level that I never could have achieved without my study abroad experience.

What have you been doing following graduation? Does it connect to Asian Studies? After graduating from Fairfield, I further pursued Chinese Studies and have since obtained a Masters from the University of Pennsylvania in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Since entering the working world I have used my knowledge of Asian Studies on a daily basis, working at Christie’s in New York City with East Asian clients. Having the ability to utilize my expertise in East Asia and specifically China, has allowed me the opportunity to communicate easily with clients as well as bridge any cultural gaps that may be experienced throughout the work day.

cas_wattsArturo Jaras Watts '14
Major: Economics
Minors: Mathematics, Asian Studies

Extracurricular Activities: Founder and President of the Proactive Investment Club, Resident Assistant, Champions Mentoring Program, Campus Sustainability Committee.

What has been your favorite Asian Studies class and why? My favorite Asian Studies course has been “Buddhism” with Dr. Ronald M. Davidson. This course was absolutely filled with intellectually stimulating ideas about life and existence. It was the most successfully interdisciplinary course I’ve ever taken, integrating insight from fields of anthropology, history, art history, physics, philosophy, religious studies, sociology, and so on. This course introduced me to a wide variety of perspectives that challenged my worldview and permanently altered my thinking. Put simply, this course embodied everything a liberal arts education ought to offer.

What do you plan to do following graduation? Will it connect to Asian Studies? After graduation I plan to delve into the world of social business. I believe that socially oriented businesses have great potential to address our world’s most pressing challenges. I am particularly interested in the intersection of financial investments and social change, which is why I started the Proactive Investment Club on campus. I plan to pursue graduate studies in finance and economics with a focus on socially impactful investing - and given the increasingly globalized financial markets of the world, there is a very good chance that this will connect to Asian studies. A better understanding of world cultures and economies will absolutely help me serve as a more effective agent of change in society.

cas_cunicoJulia Cunico '05
Asian Studies

"When I started in the politics program at Fairfield University, I took courses in American government, based on my high school experience with Junior State of America and summer university-level courses. Soon after, I enrolled in Intro to European Politics, which opened the door to a new interest - international politics. Since then, my focus has shifted to Asian studies, now my second major. As president of Fairfield University's Model UN Team, I use my coursework to defend my arguments and challenge points of view. After I graduate, I'll pursue advanced degrees in political science or international relations, with a concentration in Asia. The courses offered in the Asian Studies Program have challenged me to think critically and have reshaped the way I look at the world."

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