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East Asian Studies

Alumnae in Focus


Michaela Kelly '03

Michaela Kelly graduated with a degree in EAS (self-designed) in 2003. Influenced by her experiences in Japan as a child and on AKP as well as by coursework offered by her advisor at Smith, Dr. Suzanne Gottschang, Michaela is currently completing her dissertation in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Tokyo. She is exploring contemporary motherhood, social networks and women's skillful negotiation of social capital in Japan. In 2011, she also earned her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Tokyo. She is the recipient of several research grants and has been a member of two Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) research grant teams. Along with her graduate work, Michaela's research on motherhood, childrearing and the fertility rate drop in Japan has been published in both popular and scholarly texts.

During her time at Smith, Michaela studied on the AKP, was a member of the swim team, a HONS, and HCA and loved her continual introduction to ideas and critical perspectives by fellow students and lecturers. After graduation, Michaela taught for five years on the JET Programme in Northern Japan before receiving a Japanese Ministry of Education Scholarship and passing the entrance examinations for the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Most recently, she worked as an editor and translator in Japan and as an ethnographic researcher for a market research firm in the U.S. Michaela is eager to assist Smithies as they develop their careers and lives beyond Smith.

Jennifer Hammond ’90

Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Deerfield Academy

Jennifer Hammond ’90 lives in the Pioneer Valley and is currently the Associate Director of Alumni Relations for Deerfield Academy, where she organizes programming for Deerfield alumni around the country and plans reunion events. Prior to coming to Deerfield Academy, she served as the Director of Alumni Affairs for Abington Friends School in Greater Philadelphia, where she acted as a point of contact for all alumni and directed an all-alumni outreach initiative. At Abington Friends, she also presented and lectured on topics such as post-Tokugawa Japan and transracial adoption.         

After graduating from Smith, Jenny spent a year teaching English as a Second Language at Doshisha Girls’ Junior and Senior High School on the recommendation of her Smith EAS Advisor Professor Taitetsu Unno. After moving to Tokyo, she spent two years at NTT Telemarketing where she worked as a translator and interpreter as well as ran English as a Second Language workshops. The following nine years she taught a full range of English, mathematics, social sciences, religion and music at a range of Japanese elementary and middle schools in both Tokyo and Okinawa. Upon her return to the States, Jenny taught Social Studies and served as Assistant to Development and Admission at Greene Street Friends School in Philadelphia.

 At Smith, Jenny planned on doing pre-med, however, after taking Japanese as a class to branch out she found herself bitten by the East Asian Studies bug. She found her experiences at Smith to be transformative on both personal and professional levels, finding that as a Japanese American adoptee her intellectual experience resonated with a part of her heritage and led her to find a piece of herself she had not known before; furthermore, her EAS background led her directly to Japan, where she spent twelve years teaching and working. The liberal arts background she obtained here has inspired her to continue thinking across disciplines and imbued her with a love of learning: at present, she is in the process of teaching herself Chinese and Korean in her spare time.


Kerianne Panos '98

President, MCML Consulting Services

Kerianne Panos '98 lives in the Boston area and is the President of MCML Consulting Services, an international educational organization she founded upon returning from Japan. Drawing on her experiences working in communications as well as her extensive language skills, she works closely with international students and professionals, offering mentorship and coaching to assist with adaptation to life in the United States. She also works with the Boston Red Sox as an Asian language specialist, using her knowledge of Chinese and Japanese to improve cross-cultural communication within the team.

Between 2002 and 2005, Kerianne directed the Japanese government’s international communications platform for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. Working in six different languages, she briefed government officials on the status of the project as well as oversaw the translation of materials sent to national governments.

Kerianne obtained her MSc in Development Studies at the London School of Oriental and African Studies in 2002. Prior to graduate studies, she worked with the Japanese government on the implementation of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

At Smith College, Kerianne majored in East Asian Studies, then a self designed major. She formed part of the faculty search committee for the final member of the East Asian Studies program, and acted as the first student liaison. She especially enjoyed the study of both Korean and Japanese as well as Professor Dennis Yasutomo’s government classes, and spent her junior year abroad at the Associated Kyoto Program (AKP).

Kerianne’s interests also lie in second language acquisition and is conducting research into how different languages process information and the role that these similarities and differences play in communication. In her spare time she enjoys learning how to row on the Charles and studying her eighth language, Arabic.


Carolyn Hsu ‘03

Voting Rights Fellow, Asian Law Caucus

As the Voting Rights Fellow at the Asian Law Caucus (ALC), the nation’s first legal civil rights organization serving low-income Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, Carolyn Hsu conducts legal advocacy to local and state officials to expand and protect the voting rights of the AAPI communities and to ensure the full participation of all eligible voters in the electoral process.  Additionally, Carolyn frequently collaborates with multi-ethnic and multi-racial community based organizations to ensure that the votes of people of color and LGBTQ communities are not divided or diluted and provides legal support on a civil lawsuit against San Mateo County challenging its racially discriminatory electoral system.

Prior to working at ALC, Carolyn was an Immigration Staff Attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Carolyn received her J.D. from the University of California, Davis, where she was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr., Public Service Award for her commitment to communities that are underrepresented and disenfranchised.  During law school, Carolyn worked on a variety of civil rights issues at the U.C. Davis Immigration Clinic, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union.  Prior to law school, Carolyn served as a Program Associate at Human Rights in China, a non-profit focused on advancing the rule of law in China. 

At Smith, Carolyn majored in East Asian Studies and minored in Government. The classes she took on Asian politics as well as Asian American studies have influenced her career by providing insight into the Asian diaspora and the diversity of the Asian American community; she also greatly enjoyed the study of Mandarin Chinese.  Her time at Smith was valuable for not only experiences in the classroom but also outside: as she writes, “what I learned outside of the classroom from my Smith peers was equally important and influential in my life... self-awareness about the privileges that we may bring to the table, respect for the communities you work with or serve, and the importance of multi-ethnic and multi-racial collaboration.”  She encourages current Smithies to study abroad as well as to take advantage of internships; her advice is to allow personal growth to both guide and follow career advancement.


Maho Saito ‘03

Consulting Manager, Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai

Maho Saito ‘03 lives in Shanghai and is the Consulting Manager for Ogilvy & Mather’s Shanghai office, where she leads Shiseido China’s crisis communication business and provides strategic marketing plans and China industry analysis to companies interested in entering China market.

Prior to moving to Shanghai, Maho was one of the founding members of Ogilvy Public Relations in Tokyo, Japan. She worked in account management and execution of strategic public relations counseling for both Japanese and foreign clients such as Ogilvy's global accounts UPS, Lenovo, IBM, Dell, Ajinomoto, RBS, UNHCR, Clinton Global Initiative, and Lance Armstrong Foundation. In Tokyo, she received Ogilvy’s Red Champion Award for outstanding crisis communication service, and the Professional Achievement Award for Global Campaign of the year for her work on the Clinton Global Initiative.

Maho came to Smith from Doshisha International High School in Kyoto, Japan. At Smith, she majored in East Asian Studies and Government, and spent a semester at the University of California, Berkeley. While at Smith, she has fond memories of studying US-Japan relations from Professor Dennis Yasutomo and Robert Eskildsen. Maho lived in Albright House and was the President of Sazanami, as well as member of ISO, Ski Club, and Jazz Ensemble. Her advice to current EAS majors is to work hard on keeping up with your Chinese or Japanese as it is very useful for career purposes and it difficult to find a chunk of time to focus on it once you start working, to enjoy the beautiful seasonal changes on campus, and to cherish every second you have with your fellow Smithies!


Fiona Danaher ’05 (nee Somers)

Fiona Danaher lives in New York City and is finishing up her final year of medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She will graduate in May 2012 with a dual M.D./M.P.H. degree, and will be moving to Boston in June to start her residency in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital. She hopes to continue working in primary care and public health, and notes that although her current career may not relate directly to East Asian Studies, it was East Asian Studies that set her on this path.

After graduating from Smith in 2005, Fiona received a Fulbright fellowship and spent the year teaching English to children in indigenous villages in Taiwan. While there, she was struck by the health disparities and public health issues facing the children and how those issues impacted both their access to education and their lives in general. Upon her return to the States, she therefore decided to complete a post-baccalaureate program at Mount Holyoke College to fulfill pre-med requirements, then spent a year working for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and attended medical school.

At Smith, Fiona started out as a Neuroscience major, but enjoyed her Chinese classes with Zhao laoshi so much that she decided to switch to East Asian Studies. In her senior year, she wrote her honors thesis on Ye Shengtao, a Chinese children’s author whose work informed her decision to teach in Taiwan. Fiona studied abroad at both the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and the Associated Colleges in China in Beijing, and finds that her time spent immersed in another language and culture have been helpful in understanding the experiences of her patients, who come from many different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Although her path from East Asian Studies to medicine was not linear, her college major continues to inform her motivations. Her advice to current East Asian Studies students is to view their time at Smith as a unique opportunity to find their passion and see where it leads.