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Studying Chinese Language Helps Connect Adoptee with Her Roots
Hannah Kelly-Quigley '20

May 07, 2018

Hannah Kelly-Quigley '20 has always been fascinated with Chinese culture—an interest encouraged and cultivated by her adoptive parents.

"My parents tried to educate my sister and me about our heritage, which not only normalized my adoption, but created an interest in Asian culture and learning Chinese," she remembers.

"When Mandarin was offered at my high school, I jumped at the chance to take it. As I learned more about the language, my initial curiosity that stemmed from being adopted faded, and I came to appreciate the language itself," Kelly-Quigley adds.

Unable to fit Chinese classes into her first year, Kelly-Quigley continued her studies as a sophomore. She was encouraged by Karen Mura, Ph.D., associate professor of English and the faculty fellowship adviser, and E Li, assistant professor of Chinese, to apply for a Critical Language Scholarship Program to study abroad in a language intensive environment that also allows for cultural immersion. In March 2018, she was awarded the scholarship and will study for eight weeks this summer in Xi'an, China.

Kelly-Quigley, a neuroscience major, hopes to teach English in China for a year following graduation and eventually combine her love of language and her neuroscience major to work in the medical field.

"I'd like to help bridge the language gap between English and Mandarin speaking countries, so that the trade of information and technology is easier," she says. "I think the ability to speak another language is an asset to science as it would break language barriers that prevent advancements."

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