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Five UK Graduate Students Share Research at Shanghai University

by Derrick Meads and Sarah Geegan

Five UK graduate students recently attended the 2013 International Graduate Student Conference at Shanghai University. The UK American Studies Center at Shanghai University selected the students to represent the University of Kentucky.

The conference aimed to promote an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue about Asia’s past and present. The UK graduate students presented papers that explored specific interrelationships between Asia and the United States.  A banner for the American Studies Center at Shanghai University

The five students who attended were:

·         Hui Chu, a doctoral candidate in social and developmental psychology

·         Melinda Lio, a master’s student in ethnomusicology

·         Richard Parmer, a doctoral student in English

·         Ralph Schoellhammer, a doctoral student in political science

·         Kristen Wallitsch, a doctoral candidate in educational policy and evaluation

The UK students presented with 65 students from international universities such as Shanghai University, National Taiwan Normal University, Hankuk (Korea) University, University of Macao and National University of Singapore.

Hui Chu earned second place for her paper, “Korean American Adolescents and Their Parents: Intergenerational Differences and Its Consequences,” which explores how differences in the acculturation of adolescents and their mothers predict outcomes, such as intergenerational cultural conflict and psychological distress for the adolescents.

Chu made several connections at the conference that may help her apply her research to other countries in Asia and was inspired by the interdisciplinary nature of the event.

“We made friends with scholars in other disciplines at home and abroad, and are now sharing our research and developing new ideas and opportunities,” Chu said.

Kristen Wallitsch earned a third place prize for her paper, “Chinese Students in American Universities: Current Trends and Challenges.” Wallitsch’s paper explores the demographic threads of Chinese graduate students who study abroad from a cross-cultural perspective.  

“The conference provided unique opportunities to share research from both interdisciplinary and global perspectives,” said Wallitsch. “I really enjoyed engaging with students from other disciplines and other countries.”

Richard Parmer’s research explores perceptions of the environment in early American writing, however his interest in Appalachian culture inspired his paper “Toxic Pastorals: Examining the Class-Marked Terrain of Nature in ‘Burning the Future’ and ‘The Warriors of Qiugang,” which compares two documentary films.

Parmer’s paper explores how the coal industry in Appalachia and a chemical company in China negatively affected local communities and how it took reaching out through the documentary films for any change to occur.

The UK American Studies Center at Shanghai University is a partnership between the University of Kentucky and Shanghai University in China to establish intercultural understanding.  Like theConfucius Institute at the University of Kentucky, the American Studies Center seeks to foster an ongoing exchange of ideas, culture, history and art. Through symposia, student and faculty exchanges, and other related events, the American Studies Center at Shanghai University will bring a unique American perspective to Shanghai.