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Confucius Institute at George Mason University
Foreign Language Professor
Dr. Monika Hoffarth-Zelloe has been a foreign language professor for more than two decades.
She received her Ph.D. in Foreign Language Teaching from the University of Würzburg, Germany, in 1988, and is currently a German Language Proficiency Examiner at the Goethe-Institut Washington.
She has traveled to all seven continents. After her first trip to China in 2010, Dr. Hoffarth-Zelloe decided to study Chinese (Mandarin) as her seventh foreign language at the Confucius Institute at George Mason University.
Since then, she has dedicated much of her time to the Institute, facilitating positive dialogue between China and the United States. Dr. Hoffarth-Zelloe also works as a cross-cultural outreach consultant and is incredibly passionate about cultural exchange between people of different countries.
Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University
High School Senior
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Samantha Vaughn is a senior at the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Vaughn has developed an interest in international relations over the years, attending statewide conferences with mock government processes. She became involved with the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University, where she developed a curiosity for all things Chinese.
She is now serving as a Presiding Officer for the Kentucky Youth Assembly, leading thousands of students in these conferences.
Samantha also loves to volunteer, planning events with children who have Down Syndrome and teaching at local learning centers. She also has a heart for Christian missions, recently going with her church to Kabik, Haiti, to support a local church. She participates in research with a psychology professor at Western Kentucky University, learning about Teacher-to-Student Relationships.
Vaughn is extremely interested in design and architecture, dreaming of a career in Lego design.
Samantha has a bucket list as long as the Iliad and her dreams are bigger than Mount Kilimanjaro, but many of her hopes and dreams involve revisiting and further discovering China, a place that will always have a soft place in her heart.
Confucius Institute at UMass Boston
Retired Administrative Judge
Douglas McDonald is a retired administrative judge from Boston, MA who has recently joined the Confucius Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Boston to tackle yet another language.
A life-long polyglot, Doug is proficient in several languages, including Latin, Greek, French, and German. For two years he lived in Baghdad, Iraq, where he taught sociology at Al-Hikma University, and studied Arabic.
Doug believes that learning a language is critical to understanding a culture. He has been heavily involved in his Confucius Institute, attending the 2018 National Chinese Language Conference in Salt Lake City, UT, and several other local CI initiatives.
Learning and becoming proficient in Mandarin has been a lifelong ambition for Doug, and the Confucius Institute at UMass Boston is providing a solid foundation.
Confucius Institute at North Carolina State University
High School Senior
Saluda, North Carolina
Sadie Allen is a seventeen-year-old student, writer, and artist from Saluda, North Carolina.
She is currently a rising senior at Polk County High School, where she just completed her sixth year of studying the Chinese language and culture through her school system in partnership with the Confucius Institute at North Caroline State University.
When she is not in the classroom, you can find her volunteering at her local library, where she is the president of a Teen Advisory Group and a sitting member on the Friends of the Library Board.
She has also run a personal blog for the past four years, where she writes about her travels, experiences, and anything else she finds fascinating.
Sadie has participated in the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio to better her poetry writing as well. She fills her leftover time with playing guitar, painting, and enjoying the world around her.
Sadie hopes to major in Journalism or International Relations and minor in Chinese language when she attends university next fall.
Confucius Institute at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln
High School Junior
Trinity Lewis, 16 years old, attends Omaha Northwest High Magnet School.
She has studied and admired Chinese culture for most of her life and seeks to be fluent in Mandarin Chinese before her scheduled trip to China next year with the Confucius Institute at The University of Nebraska.
Trinity is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo, practicing the art since she was 6 years old. She is also an accomplished clarinet player, performing with many honor bands and receiving multiple All-City awards.
Trinity is president of her high school DECA club and is a candidate for state leadership. She is a member of the student council as we as a member of the National Honor Society.
Recently, Trinity was accepted into the world-recognized Henry Dorley Zoo Academy, where she will attend classes and work hand-in-hand with zoo officials to protect and preserve endangered wildlife.
She plans to use the years of wildlife training to assist Chinese zoos and wildlife preserves in finding a way to save species, such as the Leaf Turtle, from extinction.
Confucius Institute at SUNY College of Optometry
High School Biology and Chemistry Teacher
Marlton, New Jersey
Kayla Raden is a high school biology and chemistry teacher from New Jersey.
Kayla spent a year teaching science at an international high school in Shanghai, China and traveled to several cities in China during her time abroad.
While in China, she fell in love with the Chinese language and began to study the characters and learn conversational Chinese from friends.
Upon returning to the United States, Kayla joined the Confucius Institute at SUNY College of Optometry and found her Shanghai here at home. She has studied and passed HSK levels 1, 2, and 3 in under 6 months.
In the future, Kayla hopes to use her passion for language learning and science to continue teaching students from around the world.
Confucius Institute at Pace University
Associate Professor of Economics
New York, New York
Throughout her outstanding academic and professional career, Anna Shostya has come to call China her second home.
She is an Associate Professor of Economics and Assistant Chair of the Economics Department at Pace University, where she teaches undergraduate economics courses, including several courses in the China Economic Studies track.
For 10 years, she was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, developing a deep appreciation of the Chinese language and its people.
She led a group of American college students to Shanghai and Beijing to introduce them to the wonders of Chinese culture and the opportunities of the Confucius Institute at Pace University.
Dr. Shostya received her Ph.D. in Economics from the New School and MA in Economics from the City University of New York.
She is also an avid photographer and has organized numerous photo exhibits with her students, including two on China.
Confucius Institute at Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, Connecticut
Dominique Biraga is an undergraduate Junior pursuing International Studies at Central Connecticut State University. Her program concentrates on East Asia and Chinese language and culture.
Her interest in China began four years ago when she joined her school’s Confucius Institute. Since then, she has been passionately discovering the riches and diversity of the country, its language, its culture, and its people.
In 2016, Dominique was selected as a finalist for the 11th Chinese Bridge Competition for U.S. High School Students, sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters.
Encouraged by her language teacher at CCSU, Dominique also participated in the 17th Chinese Bridge Competition for College Students in April 2018. She was selected by the jury committee as one of six cultural ambassadors and invited to participate in a cultural exchange program at the Renmin University in Beijing in June 2018.
This summer, Dominique will intern at Shandong Normal University in Jinan.
Dominique aspires to become a Chinese language teacher and, by sharing her passion and knowledge, to inspire more students to embark on this life-long journey of discovery.
Confucius Institute at San Diego State University
Kamila Carter is a conscientious twelve-year-old student finishing the sixth grade at Tierra Del Sol Middle School in Lakeside, California.
She has been learning Mandarin Chinese for seven years since entering kindergarten at Riverview Elementary school.
One of her greatest accomplishments to date has been winning first place at the Chinese Bridge Competition, sponsored by the Confucius Institute at San Diego State. The Institute also sponsored Kamila’s first trip to China to experience the language and culture.
Her parents are deaf and use American Sign Language, Spanish and English when communicating with her. Kamila is fluent in all four languages and interprets for her parents in Sign Language.
Kamila is active in her school Associated Student Body (ASB) which does service work in her community. She is on the honor roll with a 4.0 GPA average and has earned many awards as an outstanding student.
Even though Kamila Carter doesn’t yet know what she will do professionally, she knows that whatever it is, it will impact the world in a positive way.
Confucius Institute at San Diego State University
Parent Teacher Association Officer and Proud Mother
San Diego, California
Love lives in San Diego with her husband and two children, Texas and India, who have been studying Chinese for five and two years respectively.
Love began her Chinese language adventure when her son was offered a trip to Beijing last summer, sponsored by the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University, to participate in the fifth annual ShenMo International Abacus Competition.
She took a parents’ introductory Chinese course for one year and is now able to introduce herself in Chinese, count to ten, and proficiently purchase high-end fashion in Beijing’s finer clothing stores.
Love is the newly-elected Vice President of her school’s Parent Teacher Association, to which she devotes an incalculable amount of time and energy.