Student Awards

The East Asian Language and Culture Department gives out four awards annually at the Department Graduation Ceremony to those students who best exemplify scholarly achievement in their target languages. The Department considers the academic performance, variety of Asia-related content courses, and depth of intellectual pursuit as manifested in research projects, such as honors theses and capstone essay. Additionally, the Department considers leadership roles and active participation in program activities, organization and clubs, and study abroad as part of their criteria. For the Liu Family Distinguished Achievement Award, all of the above is taken into account, as well as the student’s exemplary commitment to Asia and Asian Studies within the Department.

Award Recipients for the 2017-2018 school year are as follows:

The Liu Family Distinguished Achievement Award in Asian Studies: Ethan Clendening



Ethan was a winner of Provost Scholarship and was on the Dean’s List Fall 2013–Spring 2016. His GPA of 3.98 is outstanding. For all eight semesters at Notre Dame, he has been a Chinese language student, starting as a true beginner at first year level. His overall Chinese GPA is 4.0. He has been recognized for his advanced pronunciation and conversational skills through invitation to participate in the China Bridge speech competition three times. He won the contest twice and placed second at the regional contest. Ethan has taken multiple Asian literature and culture courses at Notre Dame, and so far holds a 4.0 GPA in those courses as well. His semester in Beijing helped him to advance his language abilities and cultural competency. While in Beijing, in addition to language training, he took a class on Modern Chinese television, which helped him understand how modern Chinese approach daily life. He has been an active participant in all extracurricular activities organized by Chinese program. He performed violin at multiple Asian cultural events and served as the MC of the Chinese New Year program this spring.


Ethan also received the Robert D. Nuner Award for the highest GPA of any full major in any language.


Distinction in Chinese: Shinaola Atoro


Shinaolo is another non-heritage student who had the determination and perseverance to take Chinese every semester at Notre Dame. He has an excellent 3.80 GPA with a 4.0 in his Chinese major. Even as a triple major in International Economics (Chinese concentration), Chinese, and Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, he has excelled in a rigorous and challenging Chinese language curriculum. He won the third place in both Notre Dame’s Annual Speech Contest and the US Midwest Annual Speech Contest in 2015. In his junior year, Shinaolo was a student worker in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. In that capacity, he updated and edited the department’s website, trained the video-recording team for the 2015 Annual Midwest Chinese Speech Contest, wrote 3 news articles to promote major departmental events and programs, and prepared 50 certificates for graduating seniors. In Spring 2016, he studied abroad at East China Normal University in Shanghai, where he successfully completed the China in a Global Context program and obtained 90 hours of Advanced Level of Chinese language training. He has participated and helped organize many events hosted by the Chinese Program.


Excellence in Japanese: Emily Campagna


Emily majors in Accountancy, Music Theory, and Japanese. Her overall GPA is 3.874, with a 4.0 GPA in Japanese. As a triple major, she is an incredibly hard worker. She is consistently one of the top students in every Japanese language class she has taken at Notre Dame, from first to fourth year level. She participated in the Hokkaido International Foundation’s intensive language program in Summer 2014. She was selected as one of the first interns to work at Japan Oracle in Summer 2015. She appeared in the Arts and Letter’s video on the Oracle internship in Fall 2015 and helped to promote the Japanese program. She possesses an aptitude for Japanese language learning.  In addition, she is willing to help others and is very patient, and always volunteers for various extra-curricular activities. She has been serving as one of the CSLC’s peer tutors in the past two years and serves as an excellent role model for beginning level students.







Distinction in Korean: Weiyi Zhao


Weiyi has been studying Korean language and culture for about four years now. Her GPA in Korean minor is a perfect 4.0 GPA and her overall GPA is a 3.820. She always brings energy, enthusiasm and insight with her to class. She thinks critically about reading materials regarding Korean history and societal issues and has a special ability to interpret logically the materials she encountered and analyzes the issue with concrete evidence. In addition, Weiyi participates enthusiastically as a volunteer in cultural events in the Korean program such as the Korean Thanksgiving Day and Journey into the Korean Tradition celebrating Korean New Year’s Day.