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Career Outcomes

Your Success Story Is Waiting… Through its rigorous and engaging global curriculum, Asian studies prepares students for dynamic careers in a wide range of fields, including business, finance, law, medicine, policy, and academia.

Alumni Stories


“For my 2022-2023 Fulbright grant, I will be studying the effects of the Transgender Persons’ Protection Act (TPPA) on trans and third gender folks living in Bombay. The act requires anyone who wants to change their legal gender marker to undergo gender-affirming surgery and obtain documentation confirming the completion of this operation. The act does not include language regarding the specific type of surgery and who is authorized to verify that the surgery occurred. My goal is to answer several questions. I will conduct my research in Bombay with the support of Humsafar Trust, one of the oldest and largest non-governmental organizations focused on LGBTQ health.”


Abhi Nathan was recently selected as a finalist for a 22-23 Fulbright-Nehru research grant to India. She will be pursuing a research project which investigates the effectiveness of different types of local government bodies in Tamil Nadu. This will be accomplished through a series of case studies of various localities which represent the different types of local governments present in Tamil Nadu along a scale of urbanization (i.e. a gram panchayat, a town panchayat, a municipality, etc.). Through her study, she hopes to understand how differences in urbanization and location, among other factors, affect the administrative efficiency and civic engagement rates of these different localities. She will be working under guidance of The Peninsula Foundation, a Tamil Nadu-based non-profit think tank that works to reinforce India’s strength as an independent, sovereign nation-state through research on key policy issues.


Asian Studies and medicine, health, and society double major Xuanxuan Chen is one a select group of Class of 2021 students featured in the #VU2021 series spotlighting a diverse group of students from across the University commencing this spring. Read the wonderful profile on her here.



Born and raised in Missouri, Gabriel entered Vanderbilt undecided, and happened to take a Japanese class due to some scheduling conflicts, and was hooked. He ended up triple majoring in Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, and Asian Studies, and also lived in McTyeire. Gabriel studied abroad at Princeton in Ishikawa in 2017 – his freshman summer – before proceeding to spend his remaining summers interning at Vanguard and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is now a software engineer at Apple.


“I have taken four semesters of Hindi-Urdu in my Vanderbilt career, and the language skills I have acquired have assisted me with translations for my senior honors thesis, The Music of Omar Waqar: An Ethnomusicological Study and Analysis of Anarcho-Sufism in America, for which I was awarded highest honors. I will also be traveling to Lucknow, India in June to study Urdu through the Critical Language Scholarship program, and I will be returning to Lucknow in January of 2019 as a language fellow at the American Institute of Indian Studies.


Jami is majoring in Public Policy Studies and minoring in Chinese language and culture. She was selected as one of 142 Schwarzman Scholars out of more than 4,000 applicants. Read more about the Schwarzman Scholars Program and her plans to pursue a master’s degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing.


Adedeji Adeniyi (Deji), born in Lagos, Nigeria, is an Asian Studies and molecular and cellular biology double major with a minor in chemistry. Deji has been studying Mandarin throughout college, having previously been awarded the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship. As a recipient, he spent more than two months in Suzhou, China studying Mandarin at Soochow University. Before that, Deji had participated in a scholarship funded Maymester course in Beijing, China that expanded his knowledge of the political, cultural, and economic climate present in modern-day Asia. Recently, he has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship for a year of study in Taiwan. Long term, Deji plans to become a pediatric doctor and hopes to apply his Mandarin proficiency in the medical field by becoming certified to conduct physician care in Mandarin, especially for children whose English may be limited.


Vanderbilt senior Phillip McGloin, a double major in economics and political science and a double minor in Chinese and financial economics, has been named to the 2018-19 class of Luce Scholars. He was one of 18 students chosen from a competitive nationwide pool of applicants. While reflecting on his future as a Luce Scholar, Phillip comments, “I look forward to learning what it means to live, work and have unfettered exposure to Asia.” While at Vanderbilt, Phillip immersed himself in academics, international and professional experiences, and athletics. Learn more about Phillip McGloin and the Luce Scholar Program.


“As a student in the South Asian languages and cultures minor track of the Asian Studies department, I have been able to take advantage of Vanderbilt’s resources to further my interests in international affairs. Dr. McCarter’s Hindi/Urdu class prepared me well last year to take part in a summer-long intensive Hindi program in India through the American Institute of Indian Studies, which gave me indispensable experience living in a radically different environment. Moreover, my language experience and coursework focusing on South Asia have ultimately helped me pinpoint my career interests in the field of international development. Next year, I will pursue an master’s in philosophy in development studies at the University of Cambridge as my first step towards a career in development with a regional focus on South Asia. I could not have gotten to this point without the resources and guidance of the Asian Studies department, and I am grateful for all of their help along the way.”


A Chinese-American adoptee, May was raised in New York. While at Vanderbilt she majored in Asian Studies and lived in McTyeire international hall. After graduating in 2017, she continued her Mandarin studies in Taiwan on a Critical Language Scholarship, and spent two years as a Princeton in Asia Fellow in rural China. She earned a Master’s in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and is joining the U.S. Foreign Service through the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship program.


In the spring of 2017, I studied Urdu at AIIS-Lucknow with funding from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and Critical Need Language Award. After graduation, I spent the fall in Lahore, Pakistan, as part of a fully funded, intensive Urdu language program, jointly administered by the University of California-Berkeley and the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. Since returning to the United States, I have been working as a research and writing assistant for Deepa Iyer, a South Asian American activist, writer, and lawyer, whose work focuses on discrimination facing Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and Sikh communities in the United States. This summer, I will be working as an Urdu teaching assistant at the South Asia Summer Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2018, I’ll be applying to graduate programs at SOAS University of London, Columbia, and the University of Chicago.