Knox Senior Chosen for Language Scholarship Program

March 21, 2013

Shaun Kelly '13Knox College senior Shaun Kelly has been selected for the highly competitive Critical Language Scholarship Program, part of a United States government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.

An Asian studies major from Columbia, Missouri, she will study Japanese and live in Himeji, Japan, through the CLS Program.

Kelly became fascinated with Japanese culture and the Japanese language as a youngster while watching anime that had been dubbed into English. "There was always this idea that I wanted to know what they were saying in the original," she said.

She began studying the Japanese language as a high school student and has continued to develop her skills at Knox. She participated in Japan Term, an interdisciplinary program that integrates coursework at Knox with a two-week trip to Japan, and she studied abroad in Japan during her entire junior year. (Photo above: Shaun Kelly in the plum tree garden outside of Osaka castle in Japan during her study abroad year. Photo below: Shaun Kelly with other Japan Term students.)

"Being able to go on Japan Term was just a really awesome experience," she said. "(It allowed me) to see a lot of different places in Japan and interact with the history and the culture and the language all at once."

Kelly said that Knox faculty members have been especially helpful to her. For example, she learned about the CLS Program through Orna Shaughnessy, visiting instructor in Japanese.

Kelly also cited her academic advisor, Associate Professor in Asian Studies Mat Ryohei Matsuda, as "a huge resource."

"Every time I meet with him, we speak in Japanese," she said. "I get a lot of different cultural insights from him."

Kelly, who is minoring in gender and women's studies, also is conducting a senior research project: She is translating a Japanese author's 180-page book about changing notions of masculinity.

Kelly hopes to pursue a career as a translator.

Shaun Kelly '13 on Japan Term