Adriana Nelson ’19 has been selected to receive a prestigious Fulbright Fellows grant to study in China. Nelson is an English and East Asian Studies double major from South Euclid, Ohio. In the summer of 2017, Adriana traveled with faculty Paul Nietupski (Theology and Religious Studies) and Bo Liu (Art History) and four other John Carroll students along the China segment of the Silk Road. With her research beginning in this journey, Adriana will be returning to China to continue her research at the Yulin Grottoes.
JCU.edu caught up with Adriana following commencement to discuss her John Carroll experience.
Why did you chose JCU?
Funny enough, JCU was not my first choice. During my senior year of high school, I was battling between attending art school or university. I applied to more than 15 institutions, with John Carroll being my final application submission. When visiting the campus, I fell in love with the atmosphere! John Carroll was a much smaller university, where I felt that the class sizes would be more convenient for me. Not to mention the campus itself is gorgeous! When learning about the programs, I was surprised to see that the institution offered East Asian Studies, which had been one of my interests through high school. Moreover, students could double major. It turned out that JCU had just about everything that I wanted in a four-year university. After receiving acceptance letters from 14 of the 15 institutions, I went with JCU and do not regret this choice.
How did your experience at JCU prepared you for the next step?
Everything from my coursework, study abroad, to my involvement in campus organizations prepared me for the next step in my academic and professional journey. Taking interdisciplinary EAS courses, such as Asian and Comparative Philosophy, and Silk Road Art & Religion, introduced me to early Hindu and Buddhist concepts throughout South and East Asia, which continue to appear in my research for Chinese Buddhist art. Taking Chinese language courses enhanced my understanding of written and spoken mandarin used throughout mainland China. Alongside my major in East Asian Studies, majoring in English literature enhanced my skills in reading, writing and interpretation. I am able to read any one of the texts that correlates to my studies while understanding the connotation of the pieces. Attending the Silk Road Art and Religion Tour of 2017, funded by the Tuohy Foundation, was what sparked my research interest for Fulbright. When visiting caves and other historical sights throughout northern China, I fell in love with a particular cave and was interested in learning more about it, which is where I am today. Lastly, my involvement with Asian Pop Culture Club, Pre-Law Society and other organizations taught me the importance of team work and collaboration.
Who made the biggest impact on you during your time on campus?
No single person – a number of people made a large impact, including: the Departments of East Asian Studies, Classical and Modern Languages and Cultures, English, Theology and Religious Studies, Art History, and Economics and Finance; CSDI, Asian Pop Culture Club, Dr. Simran Kahai, Dr. Paul Nietupski, Dr. Bo Liu, Dr. Maryclaire Moroney, Dr. Yuh-Cherng Chai, Dr. Gloria Vaquera, Dr. Nathalie Nya, Dr. Debby Rosenthal, Dr. Yvonne Bruce, and Dr. Keiko Nakano.
What excites you most about the opportunities that come with the Fulbright Grant?
I am very excited about getting to work one-on-one with Dr. Ning Qiang! He specializes in the cave site that I am researching, so I am anticipating to learn much more from him. Living in the big city of Beijing will be an adventure on its own, but while I am in China I will be revisiting the cave (located in the farther northwestern Gansu province) as well as places in Tibet and Southern China for my research. My grant enables me to immerse myself into the country, more than I have during my previous visit.