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ALC Newsletter

April 15, 2022

This is our last issue of the departmental newsletter for the 2021-2022 year. Thank you to everyone who contributed, and I look forward to sharing a fresh round of your achievements next fall! Erin.

Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on the following achievements:

Pinderjeet Gill was recognized by the Sikh community of Michigan for being a role model to our youth and for her service, dedication, and commitment through teaching as an instructor of Asian languages. In a ceremony attended by over 500 people, this award was presented to Pinderjeet by the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, on April 3, 2022. Pinderjeet considers this an award for the entire department as we serve our community in various ways.

Dr. Gill and Governor Whitmer

Additionally, to celebrate International Mother Language Day, Pinderjeet was invited by the Consulate General of India in Chicago to present on the teaching of the Punjabi language. February 27, 2022. 

DGS Chris Hill also sends a list of numerous graduate student achievements this year:

Adelina Pinzaru and Raymond Hsu advanced to candidacy in FA21 and Jahnabi Chanchani passed her prelims and will become a candidate in FA22. 

Ruby MacDougall will intern with the National Humanities Alliance in summer 2022 and work for Ithaka as a consultant following her internship there in the winter term. Ruby also received a Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies Fellowship for Fall 2022.

Charlotte Yiu has received a Barbour Scholarship from the Graduate School.

Yucong Hao has received a postdoctoral fellowship at NYU Shanghai, starting in fall 2022.

Also, we celebrate our recent graduates once more: Eric Haynie received his Ph.D. in Fall 2021 after defending his dissertation in August, and Becky Bloom will begin full-time work as a museum curator in summer 2022.


The Record recently featured a lengthy article about Deirdre de la Cruz and Ricky Punzalan (co-PIs) and their ambitious project ReConnect/Recollect: Reparative Connections to Philippine Collections at the University of Michigan. Click on the above link to learn more about their game-changing vision and initiative that won a $500,000 grant from UM in 2021! For more information on the project itself, which collaborates across communities around the globe, check out its homepage.  


Read on to learn about special events in ALC classes and Programs.

The Japanese Language Program reports excellent results from the 27th Michigan Japanese Language Speech Contest, which was held online by the Consulate-General of Japan in Detroit on Saturday, March 13, 2022. Two students from the University of Michigan participated in the contest. Siyao Du won the Consul General's Award for her presentation entitled “Dialects in Japanese,” and Vishwaas Gangeddula won the Second-Place Award for his speech “Why Do I Continue Japanese.”

Siyao, a psychology major, gave her presentation about the various dialects of Japanese found throughout Japan. She first became interested in Japanese dialects when she found herself unable to follow what her friend’s parents were saying in the Kyoto dialect, despite understanding standard Japanese. From this starting point, she began to think about dialects from the viewpoint of her major field, psychology. In her presentation, she lamented the dwindling use of dialect throughout the world as language has become further and further standardized in the era of the internet, and she encouraged other learners of foreign languages to learn more about local dialects in order to gain deeper insight into local cultures.

Vishwaas, an LSA student, talked in his presentation about why he continues to study the Japanese language, despite its seeming lack of relevance to his dream of becoming a doctor. He came to think about this question for the first time because of this speech contest and found two reasons. One is his competitive spirit. Through his study of Japanese, Vishwaas has learned not to give up and has in fact become even more competitive. He now uses this competitive spirit as motivation to become the best in biology, Japanese, and anything he does. The second reason is his admiration for the concept of respect in Japanese culture. Through studying Japanese, he has learned to adjust the way he speaks to each situation he finds himself in, no matter the language. He has come to think more carefully about the importance of the person he is talking to, as well as the effect his words will have on others. Vishwaas concluded that learning Japanese has changed his life in a very positive way. His delivery of his speech was very passionate and engaging.

The speeches of these students were the culmination of their Japanese language study in the JLP. To our delight, a University of Michigan student has now won the Consulate’s speech contest for five years in a row. Every year we find ourselves humbled and gratified by our students’ attention to the finer points of the Japanese language, as Siyao’s speech demonstrates, and by their competitive spirit, as Vishwaas discussed in his presentation. We hope you will join us in congratulating this year’s contestants on their marvelous achievement!


Prepare to welcome our 2022 MICHHERS cohort to campus in June! This year’s students are Larissa Reddit (mentored by Dave Brick) and Sonia Singh (mentored by Youngju Ryu). There will be an online “social event” to welcome them prior to their arrival for any and all who are interested. Please stay tuned for details.

Vietnamese FLTA Nghia Bui writes in to share his online work with us. For those of us who missed (or just want to reexperience) the Vietnamese Corner virtual talk on April 6, Nghia has uploaded his presentation about different kinds of Vietnamese traditional music and instruments: You can also check out his guitar performance of Vietnamese traditional music for the presentation: (Additional previous activities of the Vietnamese language program can be found on his YouTube channel:

A reminder about the ALC workshop on Extensive Reading. The guest speakers are Ms. Atsuko Takahashi, senior lecturer of Smith College and Ms. Sharon Domier, East Asian Studies Librarian, University of Massachusetts Amherst, who have been working on Extensive Reading for a long time.

Apr 20, Wed 1:00 pm-4:00 pm
Zoom (A Zoom link will be sent after you register)

If you would like to attend, please register at this site by Apr. 15 (Fri)

Tenjin matsuri, Osaka, 2015
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University of Michigan Department of Asian Languages and Cultures · 202 S Thayer St Ste 6111 · Ann Arbor, MI 48104-5413 · USA

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