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We are pleased to introduce our 2024-2025 Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship recipients! This year, the Carolina Asia Center awarded a total of 15 recipients including 5 graduate and professional students and 10 undergraduate students for the study of Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Sanskrit, Korean, and Indonesian.

The goals of the FLAS program are to assist in the development of knowledge and resources for modern foreign language and area/international studies, to stimulate the attainment of foreign language acquisition and fluency, and to develop a pool of international experts to meet national needs. The Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships are generously funded by the U.S. Department of Education.


Applications for FLAS fellowships are available in the fall. For more information about FLAS, please visit



Julia Arciola Hier (She/Her), from Boca Raton, Florida, is an incoming second-year master’s student in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. By studying Mandarin during her FLAS grant, she will be able to dive deeper into her research, which focuses on the phenomenon of “language clash” that occurs when comparing English versions of Chinese texts to their original counterparts and vice versa. Ultimately, these opportunities will shape her future experience as a foreign service member.

Arciéne Bonner (she/her) from Charlotte, North Carolina, is a senior studying Global Studies and Medical Anthropology, with a minor in Health & Society. During her FLAS grant, she will study Mandarin Chinese, which will help build her career in global health. The immersive language study will develop her conversational skills, ultimately aiding her future communication with community members, patients, and colleagues from diverse backgrounds.
Wilma Casey, a Charlotte native, is in her first year of undergrad in the Global Studies department. She is excited to utilize the FLAS grant to enhance her proficiency in simplified and traditional Chinese, specialized language of U.S. relations in Asia, and cultural literacy that will hopefully culminate in a federal service career. John D’Amico (He/Him), from Waxhaw, North Carolina, is a junior studying Biology and Asian Studies, with a focus in Japanese. His goal is to attend medical school in Japan to both create a continuous flow of ideas and methods between the U.S., Japan, and other foreign nations and help improve upon the healthcare system in the U.S. As a FLAS fellow, John can advance his Japanese proficiency to the level needed to pursue post-graduate studies in Japan and begin to work towards his goal of providing the best care to his future patients.
Dani Dalton (She/Her), hails from Boston, Massachusetts, and is in her second year of the Global Studies Masters’ program. As a FLAS fellow, she is pursuing both Sanskrit and Hindi/Urdu to advance her understanding of South Asia. The intensive language study will aid her in addressing international and national needs, as well as thesis research and writing during her final year at UNC. Annika Deshpande (She/Her), from Davidson, North Carolina, is a rising junior studying Global Studies and Economics. She will be studying Indonesian over the summer. In the future, she hopes to have a career in international affairs that will lead her to working in Indonesia. The language skills she will develop through FLAS will be crucial for that goal.
Raymond Dokupil, from Kent, Washington, is a second year Masters student in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department. Through continuing his study of Chinese on a FLAS scholarship, he will continue to deepen his perspective and understanding of the world. Rhys Gilliam (He/Him), a Chapel Hill local, is in his junior year at UNC-Chapel Hill, and studies Computer Science, with minors in Music and History. As a FLAS recipient, Rhys will further his Japanese language and cultural proficiency to better bring cross-cultural connection to the Japanese and American tech industries.
Lasya Kundukuri (She/Her), is a Sophomore Neuroscience major and minoring in Chemistry and Creative Writing. As a FLAS fellow, she will be studying Hindi for two months in Jaipur, India this summer. This immersion experience with bring Lasya one step closer to her dream of working in India to improve health equity. Kelsey Mueller is a Sophomore from Raleigh, North Carolina, double-majoring in Global and Asian studies, with a Chinese concentration. The FLAS fellowship will help her pursue a career in immigration and refugee justice to provide comfort and safety for families and communities impacted by global crises.
Caroline-Skye Rice (She/Her), from Clemmons, North Carolina, is in her third year and pursuing Biology and Korean Studies. As a FLAS recipient, she will be able to receive a personalized education based on her area of study and use what she learns in my future profession. Caroline’s goal is to work as a dentist in South Korea. Katelyn (Kit) Shadowens (She/Hers), from Hickory, North Carolina, is a first year Master’s student in the Global Studies program with a focus in Asian geopolitics. The FLAS fellowship will prove pivotal in advancing her career goals by bringing her to professional-level proficiency in Mandarin and deepen her understanding of East Asian geopolitics. Ultimately, these experiences will culminate in a future role in Intelligence, where Kit can use her language skills and regional expertise to inform U.S. policy-making.
Mihir Sharma (He/Him), from Seattle, Washington, is a current Freshman studying Computer Science and Math. His study of Hindi through a FLAS grant will allow him to build technological products that can accommodate non-western cultures and customers. Jack Snyder (He/Him), from Cornelius, North Carolina, is a current Sophomore studying History and Asian Studies. He hopes to advance his Japanese fluency through the FLAS fellowship by studying abroad. In his future career, Jack hope to communicate Japanese-speaking people and organizations.
Jim Sojourner, from Colorado Springs, Colorado is a fourth year History PhD student. As a fellow, Jim will utilize the FLAS scholarship to help him complete his dissertation research on China’s Hainan Island and further his goal of teaching Chinese history.
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