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Mississippi College

Four Mississippi College Graduates Win Scholarships to China

July 26, 2011

Beijing’s cultural attractions, a visit to the Great Wall, and sightseeing near the Himalayas are a few of the things awaiting four Mississippi College graduates in China.

But they will also hit the books over the next three years as they pursue master’s degrees at Central China Normal University thanks to full scholarships from the Ministry of Education of China.

The recent MC graduates join students from such elite schools as Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and the University of California who annually receive such awards from the Chinese government.

“I’m thrilled to be going to China,” said 22-year-old Daniel Jones of Bossier City, La., who received his bachelor’s degree in international studies at MC in May with a minor in Chinese. “China is so different from the United States. Every day is a different story,” he said as he reflected Tuesday on a trip to China two summers ago. “Their culture is opposite of ours.”

In a country with more than 1.3 billion people, Jones will live in the same dormitory with the other MC scholarship recipients, Betty Moore, Caleb Wilkinson and John Mark Kolb. The Mississippi College delegation will arrive in China in September.

Moore and Wilkinson received the Chinese Government Scholarship. Jones and Kolb were awarded the Sino-America Cultural Exchange Scholarship in response to President Barack Obama’s proposal last year to send 100,000 American students to study in China within four years.

Learning Chinese at Mississippi College, Jones said, “has opened up another side of the world to me and created a future in one of the most important fields of study for the next generation.”

Kolb, a 22-year-old Hoover, Ala. resident, said Chinese instructor Ran An deserves much of the credit for making the scholarships possible.

From assisting with scholarship applications to writing letters of recommendation to his superb teaching skills in classrooms on the Clinton campus, An made things happen.

“Ran An did a phenomenal job. He started the Chinese program at MC,” Kolb said.

Kolb received his bachelor’s degree in modern languages at Mississippi College. He completed nine credits in Chinese at MC, and six credits in Chinese during the Christian university’s study abroad program. Jones and Kolb will pursue their master’s degree in Chinese language and literature.

After earning his graduate degree, Jones says he’s considering the business world where his knowledge of Chinese, the culture and economy of China would be an asset. He’s also weighing a career as a college professor.

Kolb is eyeing a career as a translator, professor or business executive.

Mississippi College is making this an annual event with its Chinese scholarship winners. Last summer, 22-year-old Clint Myers of Laurel was awarded the prestigious Chinese government scholarship to obtain a master’s degree in biology at Central China Normal University through July 2013.

The newest scholarship winners, An said, “are all good students. They deserve it.” He’s hoping more MC graduates will add to their numbers next summer.

Beth Stapleton, who chairs MC’s Department of Modern Languages, was delighted to hear the news. “Each was an outstanding student in our department with high grades and honors,” she said. “I’m more than excited – I’m thrilled they are earning their master’s degrees.”

Jim Brackenridge, the executive director of Office of Global Education at MC, added his congratulations. “I’m so proud of the American students that have stepped out of the traditional curriculum to embrace the language and culture of China.”

Going to China for three years “will provide experiences that will impact them forever,” Brackenridge said.

A Jackson resident, Wilkinson became the first MC student in school history to minor in Chinese when he received his bachelor’s degree in December 2010. He will pursue a degree in international relations at the university in China. Moore, a resident of Austin, Texas, completed 18 credits in Chinese and graduated in May 2011.

Located in Wuhan, China’s third largest city, Central China Normal University enrolls 23,000 students.

Photo: Daniel Jones and MC instructor Ran An