In Spring 2019, 21JPSI launched a new “Student Ambassadors” program in response to student demand. Student Ambassadors help promote 21JPSI programming to fellow students and support 21JPSI staff organizing events, inter alia. As the program expands, they will also mentor their “kohai.” Our inaugural Student Ambassadors—and the brains behind the original program proposal—are Evan Wright and Summer Snyder, both of whom are students in the Hamilton Lugar School’s EALC Department. In AY 2019-2020, the program expanded to welcome three new Student Ambassadors, including its first graduate student ambassador.
Inaugural Student Ambassadors (since AY2018-2019):
Evan Wright (B.A., Class of 2022) is double-majoring in International Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) with a focus on Japan. His research interests include security, politics, immigration, and the U.S.-Japan alliance. Evan is from Greenwood, Indiana and first got interested in Japanese culture hearing his grandfather’s stories of working there as an engineer during the 1980s. Upon seeing an exhibit on Indiana-Japan relations at the Indiana State Fair in 2010, he developed an academic and intellectual fascination with Japan. Evan's personal connection to Japan and his initial interest led him to pursue Japanese language courses and to conduct research on Japanese history and politics. A formative experience was his participation as a high school student in the Reischauer Scholars Program (organized by Stanford University’s Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE)). His research project was ultimately published by SPICE in 2018. At IU, Evan serves as a student ambassador for 21JPSI and the Hamilton Lugar School, writes for News Decoder on foreign news, and founded the Reischauer Ambassador’s Initiative. He is considering a career in academia, the intelligence community, or consulting.
Summer Snyder (B.A., Class of 2022) is double majoring in East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) and Economics/Political Science, with a minor in Southeast Asian Studies. In her academic studies, She is interested in global development, trade policy, and security affairs in the Indo-Pacific. In 2016, Summer—who hails from Carmel, Indiana—became interested in Japan after she participated in the Japanese Exchange Program (JEP) through Carmel High School. After hosting a student from Carmel’s sister city (Kawachi-Nagano in Osaka prefecture), she decided to learn Japanese to be able to better communicate with her host-sister and to prepare for her three-week trip to Japan through JEP. After returning from her high school exchange, during which she discovered a passion for Japanese culture, Summer (self-)studied Japanese intensively. She made a second trip to Osaka in 2017 through Indiana University’s Honors Program in Foreign Languages. Studying abroad in Japan opened Summer’s eyes to new opportunities at IU, of which she has taken advantage. Outside of class, she serves as Vice President of the IU Japanese Student Association, an executive board member of Liberty in North Korea’s (LINK) education committee, Student Ambassador for 21JPSI, and a Japanese tutor for the company Owl Tutors. Summer’s career aspirations include work in the intelligence community, academia, consulting, and NGOs. In her free time, she enjoys studying Japanese and long-distance running. She has passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2 and has run two full marathons.
Student Ambassadors since AY2019-2020:
Alex (Alessia) Cherici is a Ph.D. student (EALC Department) in Chinese Linguistics. She was born and raised in Italy, where she earned her BA and MA in Chinese Language and Culture (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice). In 2009, she moved to China, where she worked until 2017 as a language teacher and school manager. Here at IU, her Ph.D. studies focus on Chinese linguistics, with a minor in Second Language Studies. She has very diverse academic and intellectual interests, including East Asian languages, comparative morpho-syntax, and language acquisition. Her experience as an Associate Instructor for (21JPSI Director) Prof. Adam Liff’s “Rise of China” course in Fall 2018 piqued her interest in U.S.-East Asia relations and politics, and she became a very active participant in 21JPSI events and programming. In her new role as 21JPSI’s inaugural graduate student ambassador, Alex serves primarily as a liaison to the graduate student community.
Daniel Robinson (B.A., Class of 2021) transferred to Indiana University with an associate degree in Information Technology Support. He majors in East Asian Languages and Culture (EALC), with a primary focus on Japanese language and a secondary focus on Chinese language. His main interests include Japanese and Chinese Foreign Policy. His interest in policy stems from participation in high school debate competitions while at Ivy Tech Community College, but his interest in foreign policy and East Asia came after graduation. Daniel’s primary area of Interest is in US-Japan-China trilateral relations, especially the role of history in shaping their current policies. Daniel hopes to one day pursue a career in the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer or as a scholar of East Asian security affairs.
Sasha Matsuki (B.A., Class of 2023) is double-majoring in History and Political Science and double-minoring in Spanish and Japanese. Her Japanese heritage is the original source of her academic interest in Japanese politics, culture, and language. She hopes to become fluent in Japanese so she can learn more about the culture of Japan and perhaps conduct research in the fields of Japanese history and political science. Although Sasha is still finding her specific research field of interest, she is looking forward to exploring the various academic pathways that IU offers within its History and Political Science departments. Her co-curricular activities include being a Student Ambassador for 21JPSI, sitting on the Student Editorial Board for the Humanities within the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research, and being a part of the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program. Outside of class, Sasha is an active member of the Asian American Association and the Indiana University Equestrian Team. Her career aspirations are to work in academia and conduct historical research.