Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Alumna Profile: Laura Dow

Laura Dow
HNC MAIS Program
Class of 2012

Kittery Point, Maine

Previous Education
University of Massachusetts
B.A. in Economics & Legal Studies

Previous Work Experience 
After graduating from UMASS, I worked as a Human Resources Director for one year.  I left that position to join the Peace Corps, where I served as a volunteer English Teacher in Sichuan, China from 2006 - 2008.  After the Peace Corps, I worked in Resource Management for the Department of Defense.  

Chinese Language Study Prior to the Center
I learned all of my Chinese while in the Peace Corps, during which time I diligently studied every day.  I never took one Chinese course during my undergraduate studies! 

Center Activities 
I participated in Dragon Boat, and it was a wonderful way to foster team-building skills between international and Chinese students.  Our boat came in 3rd place, and we received the best time in HNC history!   I also volunteered with an organization called the Five Project, which works with Chinese individuals with disabilities and their families to promote self-help and self-advocacy skills.  Volunteering with the Five Project basically consisted of monthly social activities, where I interacted and became friends with many disabled individuals in the surrounding Nanjing community.  Other Center activities included many different ways to keep fit and healthy, including, hip-hop and belly dance classes as well as participating in the Great Wall half-marathon with other Center classmates!  

Favorite Course at the Center
International Political Economy with Professor Shu Jianzhong
Cold War History with Professor Ren Donglai

Thesis Topic
China's Soft Power Educational Strategy in Africa: The Influence of Confucius Institutes and the Hope Project

Current Position
Program Manager, Human Rights in China

Why did you choose to attend the Center?  
The Hopkins-Nanjing program provided the perfect combination of language and cultural immersion, along with a top-notch MA program.  

How would you sum up your experience at the Center?
Going to the Center was definitely one of the best decisions of my life.  I received a quality education with reputable professors - but this is only half of it.  The other half is the unique opportunity the Center provides to meet and study with brilliant students from around the world.  The student body is eclectic and diverse; we learn so much from each other simply through our daily interactions. But we are also all drawn together by the same interest in studying and improving U.S.-China relations.  It is nice to be surrounded by classmates who also recognize the importance of the U.S.-China relationship and who feel as passionately about the topic as I do!