Ellen Bielmann ('06) was recently awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship for Asian Studies. Ellen graduated from Millsaps with a B.A. in Anthropology and Religious Studies and a minor in Faith and Work. Immediately after graduating from Millsaps, she taught at Wuhan University of Technology in Wuhan, People's Republic of China. She is now in her first year of Master's work at Michigan State University.
FLAS is supported by the U.S. Department of Education and is awarded to both Undergraduate and Graduate students. According to Michigan State University, the FLAS Fellowship program is designed to meet critical needs for specialists in American education, government, and other services of a public and/or professional nature who will utilize their skills in training others and in developing throughout the United States a wider knowledge and understanding of other countries and cultures. Asian Studies FLAS Fellowships are awarded to students enrolled in programs combining the study of a modern foreign language with advanced training and research in an academic or professional area with an Asia focus.
Ellen's proposed research involves notions of identity and religious conversion with Chinese youths. For her research, she will need to be proficient in Chinese language. She believes these elements were an important reason she was selected to receive funding. Ellen will attend the Nankai University College of Chinese Language and Culture in Tianjin, China for ten weeks of language classes this summer.
When asked what she particularly looks forward to about her studies in China, Ellen said, "I'm excited to be going back to China having already completed a year of language classes. Mastering the tones of the Chinese language is particularly difficult, so I'm looking forward to working on my pronunciation. I'm also looking forward to making contacts for my own research and the food. Oh man, I'm excited about street food!"