You Meet the Most Interesting People at Chinese School

Talking to students at the Chinese School is always interesting and often surprising. They come from many different backgrounds and are pursuing a wide variety of goals. For some, learning Chinese is necessary in order to pursue their particular career plans, which often involve living in China or working closely with Chinese people. Others have a particular interest in Chinese art, literature, or history—or perhaps they just want to understand the Chinese people and culture better. Whatever their motivation, they are determined to master the Chinese language, and they are prepared to work hard to do it. Here are a few of the students who attended the Chinese School in 2017.

Fernando Braga is an Iraq War veteran and an inaugural graduate of the Veterans Posse program at Vassar College. Holding a degree in international studies with a minor in Chinese, he is pursuing a career that will enable him to help shape U.S. conflict-prevention policies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Kathleen Devlin recently graduated with a master’s degree from Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Her areas of expertise include quantitative research methods and U.S.-China economic relations. Kathleen previously worked as a research analyst at the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project and as a Fulbright grantee in Malaysia.

Mollie Gossage is a PhD student in cultural anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is preparing to conduct fieldwork on tourism and visual culture in northwest China as a means to better understand Chinese spirituality, modernity, and multiculturalism.

Nicholas Kline recently obtained his master’s degree in Chinese politics from Tsinghua University, where he studied the interaction between China’s local court systems and its growing legal profession. He will study law at Cornell Law School and, after graduating, intends to find work in legal-development organizations in China.


Clayton Yates is a former U.S. Army infantry officer who recently left active duty to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs at Texas A&M University. After completing his degree, he hopes to join the U.S. Department of State and work toward improving U.S.-China relations.

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