Molly Bradtke graduated summa cum laude from UMBC in December 2014 with degrees in Asian Studies, History, and English. She now works as a Program Associate at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) in Washington, D.C. and assistant to ASPI Vice President and former Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler. The Asia Society Policy Institute is a branch of the Asia Society focused specifically on international policy issues relating to Asia. In her role, Molly provides program and research support for the Institute’s initiatives on Asia-Pacific trade and gender issues and assists in coordinating ASPI’s operations and events.
Before joining Asia Society, Molly worked as a Research Analyst with the United States Agency for International Development’s Center for International Disaster Information. As part of USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, she conducted research in support of outreach and disaster education programs with diaspora populations throughout the United States. Prior to her work with USAID, Molly interned with the Asia Society Policy Institute. She has interned with the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, conducting research on developments in U.S.-China relations.
While at UMBC, Molly focused her research on U.S.-China relations and minored in Chinese language. As a student, she twice traveled to China to study Chinese language and culture, including as a participant in the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program in Guangzhou. She was able to make use of her language skills by serving as a Mandarin interpreting intern at the Longwood Senior Center in Columbia, Maryland, an internship offered through the Asian Studies program at UMBC.
Vadim Rubin, B.A., Asian Studies (2013)
After graduating from UMBC (Spring 2013) with a B.A. in Asian Studies, I traveled to China for three months to continue studying Mandarin in Nanjing, China and to teach English. While in Nanjing I studied Chinese, formally, for more than 20 hours/week and was immersed in the language every single day. This trip continued to build on the intensive exposure to Mandarin that I gained during the summer of 2012, when I held a Taiwan Ministry of Education Huayu Scholarship, for which the Asian Studies Program had nominated me.
Upon my return from China in the fall on 2013, I began teaching Mandarin as an after-care program at The New Century School (TNCS) in Baltimore’s Fells Point for about five months. TNCS is a Montessori-inspired K-5 school that applies a multi-lingual curriculum (Mandarin and Spanish). When the lead Mandarin instructor at the school caught wind of my ability to not only speak, but also to teach, Mandarin, she asked me to be an assistant teacher for TNCS’s summer STARTALK Mandarin Immersion program. Our program was a three-week intensive Mandarin course for 40 students, ages 6-10, with language skills ranging from novice low (complete beginner) to intermediate low (some Chinese experience).
After the STARTALK program, The New Century School hired me as a full-time assistant Mandarin teacher and Mandarin curriculum developer. Currently, I work with 3-5-year-old students in the Montessori classroom, where I speak with them in Chinese and work with them on Chinese Montessori materials that the lead Mandarin instructor and I have created. During the afternoons I assist the lead Mandarin instructor in creating Elementary curriculum and lessons, preparing for the 2015 STARTALK program. For this program I will be the Lead Teacher, and instructing 1-5 grade classes.
I have plans to a return to Taiwan at the end of this year to become a full-time TESOL/ESL/EAL teacher, and in the near future I would like to attend graduate school either for a Masters in Chinese, Second Language Acquisition, or both!
Yasmin Radbod, B.A., Asian Studies (2012), writes from Nepal, where she is teaching 6th-8th graders as part of the Fulbright Program
“The Fulbright ETA program is an incredible experience because it is humbling and eye opening. It’s not just because I’m traveling abroad. I see the impact I have on my students every day in class. I see their smiles and their excitement to learn, whether it’s dance class after school or arts and crafts or making toilet paper mummies for a Halloween celebration. And I live with a very traditional Nepali family, which has been a great experience. It has made me appreciate my family so much more and it’s made me cognizant of how much more I need to be there for my own family. Of course I have breaks and I travel everywhere in Nepal. I have been rafting on crazy rapids, hiking in the Annapurna mountains, and I leave next month for a safari and a visit to Buddha’s birthplace. It’s a lot of up and down but above all I remember I’m here for my students, not only to teach English, but to give them a role model and provide them with different and new ideas of learning and teaching. I love my students and they motivate me on the tough days when I feel like nothing is going right.“